Technology for a sustainable future of our communities

Cisco shares the passion for a greener and more sustainable future, and we have been the proud event sponsor for Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Sustainable Communities Conference for several years now. Canada is poised to be a nation of innovation by capitalizing on the many positive opportunities around us, and we see cities playing an instrumental role in this transformation.

Event: Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Cities are the foundation—and are at the intersection of: urban innovation, economic prosperity, social and cultural qualities, and environmental sustainability.

We appreciate that municipalities have a daunting task in a rapidly changing world full of new expectations and political pressures while budgets are shrinking. Despite the challenges and obstacles Canada’s municipalities have to overcome on a daily basis, it is good to see there is plenty optimism about the future.

In a world blessed with technology innovation and opportunities we see a bright future for everyone; a future that stimulates innovation and economic opportunities, and one that vastly improves our environmental footprint.

In addition to political tools like policy and regulation, we see information and communication technology, providing the biggest and most attainable opportunities for a smarter and greener world.

Millions of new devices continue to be connected to the Internet, and  networks are built to support billions – and soon trillions – of connections creating unprecedented social and economic opportunities for citizens, businesses, communities, and countries.

This is what we at Cisco call the “Internet of Everything” (IoE): connecting the previously unconnected and bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.

Since our partnership with the FCM began in 2011, we have seen the number of smart objects that connect via the Internet grow from 9 billion to more than 13 billion. This growth is accelerating, and by 2020 we expect more than 50 billion smart objects to communicate openly and freely over the Internet.

Most of these objects will be embedded in communities that FCM and its members represent:

  1. Cars will communicate amongst eachother; to our streetlights, to our traffic signals; and to their mechanics.
  2. Advancements in public transit will offer a more attractive approach to urban mobility, which will reduce congestion and minimize carbon emissions. Analytics will suggest how to get from point A to B the most affordable, the quickest, or the most sustainable.
  3. The environmental systems in our buildings will talk with each other, and the users of our built environment in a constant effort to improve the performance of our infrastructure.
  4. Government services will be distributed to citizens where they reside and when they are needed, resulting in tremendous productivity and cost saving opportunities for all our governments.
  5. And all systems that generate, transmit, or consume energy will be in constant dialogue with each other, which will lead to drastic energy conservation and savings.

For communities to reap the benefits of all this, we need to break the barriers of communications with all constituents, and start to collaborate in new ways across all the stakeholders who stand to gain by smarter and greener communities. Organizations like FCM, this event, and you as progressive municipal leader, will be the catalysts for the change we so desperately need.

Nothing is unthinkable, and nothing is impossible. Let’s just get it done.

It’s time to open our eyes and let down our guards as together we envision our new future and build the road towards it.

Cisco was again proud to partner with this latest FCM event, with wonderful speakers such as Alex Steffen (@AlexSteffen).  Mr Steffen’s optimism and vision will hopefully contribute to the dialogue and the embracing of new business models, technologies, and partners that will be the foundation of a smarter and greener future.

Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

About Rick Huijbregts

Rick Huijbregts is Vice President of Industry Transformation where he is responsible for Cisco Canada’s IoE strategy and industry business development. The members of his team are industry subject matter experts and each engage in the transformation of their respective industries (healthcare, oil and gas, financial services, education, real estate, and industrial sector). Huijbregts is also General Manager for Cisco Canada’s Smart + Connected Communities practice, including Smart + Connected Real Estate. Huijbregts holds construction and architecture degrees from Tilburg Polytechnic University and Delft University in the Netherlands, and a doctorate from Harvard University. Huijbregts is currently a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education where he teaches classes on Smart Buildings and Smart Cities. He also serves on several boards of Canadian academic institutions and not-for-profits. Rick Huijbregts est vice-président de la transformation sectorielle dont les responsabilités comptent la stratégie de l’internet multidimensionnel et le développement commercial du secteur industriel de Cisco Canada. Les membres de son équipe sont tous des experts dans différents domaines et œuvrent à la transformation de leurs secteurs d’activité respectifs (santé, énergie, services financiers, enseignement, immobilier et industrie). Huijbregts est également directeur général du segment des communautés intelligentes et connectées, dont le volet immotique des immeubles intelligents et connectés de Cisco Canada. M. Huijbregts est titulaire de diplômes en construction et architecture de l’université Tilburg Polytechnic et de l’université Delft aux Pays-Bas ainsi que d’un doctorat de l’université Harvard. Il est actuellement professeur de Harvard à la faculté d’études supérieures pour les cadres en aménagement urbain où il donne des cours sur la gestion intelligente des immeubles et des villes. Il siège également à plusieurs conseils d’administration d’universités et d’organismes à but non lucratif.
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