Microsoft Announces Global 'Smart Cities' Initiative

The company wants to help cities tap into the cloud and big data.


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At its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft launched a "smart city" initiative it calls CityNext. The goal is to make cities more efficient and responsive through big data and cloud computing technology provided by Microsoft.

InformationWeek's Michael Endler reported, "Microsoft on Wednesday announced CityNext, a global initiative intended to develop 'smart cities' around the world. Unveiled at the company's Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, the plan leverages Microsoft's Partner Network to help cities become more efficient even as they struggle with austere budgets and decaying urban infrastructure. If CityNext succeeds, cities will improve efficiency by installing Microsoft products that harness the cloud and big data."

According to the press release, "CityNext customer Barcelona, Spain -- long recognized as a digital innovator -- has successfully harnessed cloud, data and apps to enhance administrative operations, interact with citizens and make information transparent. For example, Microsoft and CityNext partner BISmart worked with the Barcelona City Council to launch OpenData BCN, an initiative to make data accessible to the public. Using the Windows Azure cloud, the OpenData BCN platform aggregates myriad facts about the city -- such as population density and total unemployment -- into a central hub with enhanced security."

Xinhua added, "Through CityNext, Microsoft will work with city leaders and focus on eight core functions: energy and water; buildings, planning and infrastructure; transportation; public safety and justice; tourism, recreation and culture; education; health and social services; government administration. Nine places have already embarked on the initiative including China's Hainan Province and Zhengzhou city, according to Sandy Gupta, national technology officer with Microsoft China."

Geekwire's Taylor Soper noted, "And right here in Seattle, Microsoft is teaming up with Accenture and the city to launch an energy management pilot designed to take advantage of the Azure cloud platforms and big data to help buildings around Seattle with energy efficiency. The partnership was inspired by Microsoft’s energy work done on its own campus, as highlighted in the company’s 88 Acres story that provides an inside look at Microsoft’s effort to develop a 'city of the future.'"

Tags: cloud computing, Microsoft, big data, CityNext

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