Cisco Reveals $1 Billion Program for Smart Cities Infrastructure

This certainly doesn’t hurt Cisco's own business prospects, because participants will be shown Cisco products at all times during the process. That’s business in the real world.

Smart.city

Cisco Systems' investment arm, Cisco Capital, is putting its considerable bank account where its mouth is. The world’s largest internet networking infrastructure provider is committing a cool $1 billion to the “smart cities” initiative it’s been talking about for a couple of years.

Cisco on Nov. 14 introduced what it calls the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program, a $1 billion program aimed to make it easier, faster, and more affordable for cities around the world to fund and adopt technologies that will transform their communities.

This certainly doesn’t hurt its own business prospects, either, because participants will be shown Cisco products at all times during the process. That’s business in the real world.

The funding will be provided through Cisco Capital in partnership with private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors and pension fund investors APG Asset Management (APG) and Whitehelm Capital. 

Stumbling Block is Always Funding

“Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation,” said Anil Menon, Global President of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities. “With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes to make smart city projects a reality. Digital Alpha, APG and Whitehelm Capital bring a fresh perspective on investment in an area that has previously been perceived as too new and, therefore, too difficult to finance.”

The program helps cities assemble the right type or suite of finance instruments to fund and deploy innovative technology with minimal initial investment. Whether a city is trying to reduce energy usage, ease traffic and parking, or boost public transportation ridership and revenues, the program will help cities with solutions.

Revenue-share financing, for example,  allows a city to tie financing to desired outcomes and extend future operating budgets through revenue streams from the new services that a digitized infrastructure makes possible, Cisco said.

Additionally, at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona, Cisco announced added functionality for its newly renamed connected digital platform, Cisco Kinetic for Cities, which integrated with the Cisco Kinetic IoT data platform. The new suite of tools features provide enhanced support for public safety, the company said.

Citizen Safety is First Consideration

From the new full-policy automation options to an improved dashboard with integrated video, updates to the platform put citizen safety first. Real-time notification of emergency information now draws on additional IoT data sources and Cisco Spark Collaboration, enabling faster emergency response. For more information about the latest additions to Cisco Kinetic for Cities, see this blog.

As discussed earlier in this article, Cisco has also announced new purchasing options for Cisco Kinetic for Cities. These include prepackaged starter solutions, which combine the Cisco IoT data platform, solution and services with those from the company's ecosystem partners into ready-to-roll-out, end-to-end solution suites.

Cisco has added a number of new Cisco Kinetic for Cities customers. The town of Cary, N.C., for instance, has created a so-called “Living Lab” that provides smart city technologies to improve the lives of citizens. Using the Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform, town officials can actively monitor the number of available parking spots—particularly spots for the handicapped—to gauge use and help with planning.

Go here to learn more about this use case: Town of Cary, NC: Using Insights for Parking Improvements.

Cisco Capital delivers customer-centric, partner-enabled payment options for Cisco led solutions in more than 150 countries. For more information, visit www.ciscocapital.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...