According to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI), more of the global population will be using mobile phones than bank accounts or running water by 2021, with numbers estimated at 5.5 billion. In this regard, countries need to start looking seriously at mobile applications and data traffic. Cisco estimates that in the next five years alone, mobile data traffic will more than double from 5 to 12 percent in Western Europe. It’s no surprise then that the worldwide leader in IT and networking is looking at the application of IoT to boost economies from Manchester to Barcelona, with digitally innovate plans in place for the next five years. Here’s how these cities are acting as living labs for IoT and the business models that other cities can adopt to create a connected world.
At the moment, there are 137 million mobile-connected machine-to-machine modules in Western Europe, and the number is expected to rise to 569 million by 2021. Everything from bus stops to streetlights will be an element of this connected network, part of the EU’s plan to become fully digital and offer a market value of over one trillion euros by 2020.
Smart lab Europe
Let’s take a look at one of these cities in particular: Manchester. Cisco has partnered with the English city to “build a blueprint for smart cities” through the CityVerve project. With the collaboration of Manchester City Council and 19 other public, corporate, SME and academic organisations, Cisco aims to transform Manchester into a smart city over the next two years. Some of the initial benefits will include new jobs and businesses, as well as safer streets, improved transportation, and a better healthcare system.
Think of the project as an open platform, where Manchester acts as a “living breathing organism” with technology playing the role of the central nervous system, connecting the city and its citizens in a way that is quick and efficient in responding to daily needs from healthcare to energy and environment.
In Hamburg, meanwhile, the city is looking to smart technology and IT to not only benefit citizens but also make trade more prosperous while protecting national resources. By connecting elements like traffic and port logistics to the citizens running these services, the city is able to engage in real-time logistics and gather data that in essence boosts productivity, as well as the country’s economy.