Click here to close now.


@CloudExpo Authors: Mav Turner, Ian Khan, Jason Bloomberg, AppDynamics Blog, Brad Thies

Related Topics: Microsoft Cloud

Microsoft Cloud: Article

Coming to a City Near You: Microsoft CityNext

A global initiative empowering cities, businesses and citizens "to re-imagine their futures and cultivate vibrant communities"

"Cities play a vital role in our lives - both now and in the future. Microsoft's CityNext initiative puts people first and builds on this new era of collaborative technology to engage citizens, business and government leaders in new ways," said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president of Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, as Microsoft today announced CityNext, a global initiative empowering cities, businesses and citizens to re-imagine their futures and cultivate vibrant communities.

"Working with our vast Microsoft Partner Network," added Ipsen, "we can scale solutions and services to do 'New with Less,' enabling cities to better compete in the global marketplace, drive citizen engagement, and foster economic, social and environmental sustainability."

She was speaking at the Worldwide Partner Conference. She continued:

"Cities are centers of industrial, economic and entrepreneurial activity that fuel the rest of the world's success. But cities increasingly encounter compelling forces, such as rapid urbanization, modernization mandates, and economic austerity pressures. Microsoft CityNext offers cities a vast and diverse Microsoft Partner Network of more than 430,000 technology experts across the globe to innovate today and create a better tomorrow. Leveraging a broad portfolio of familiar and security-enhanced consumer to business software, devices and services and Microsoft's history of successful education and social programs, CityNext is a collective effort that enables cities and their people to accomplish what's next."

"Today's cities know they must tackle urban challenges through coordinated and focused investments that enable collaboration across departments and agencies, leverage existing assets, engage citizens and stakeholders, and tackle long-standing problems," said Ruthbea Yesner Clarke, director of the Smart Cities Strategies program at IDC. "According to IDC's Smart City Maturity Model, many cities are now in the first stages of implementing smart technology solutions as part of a 10- to 15-year path to realizing full transformation potential. The result of 'smart city' initiatives will ultimately enable cities to attract businesses and citizens to build more vibrant city landscapes and competitive economies."

According to Microsoft, CityNext "brings together an ecosystem of partner solutions, devices and services that can connect and transform a variety of city functions." They include the following:

  • Energy and water
  • Buildings, planning and infrastructure
  • Transportation
  • Public safety and justice
  • Tourism, recreation and culture
  • Education
  • Health and social services
  • Government administration

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. Citizens then can download the bigov Better City Indicators app from the Windows Store and monitor fluctuations in real time. Barcelonans now have access to information to make decisions on topics such as where to start a business and where to settle down with their families.

"We've been working with Microsoft for many years and have witnessed tremendous innovation across government, enterprise and citizen services through cloud technology and devices," said Xavier Trias, mayor of Barcelona. "Yet, even more can be done to engage Barcelonans and enhance citizens' experiences. We will continue to collaborate closely with Microsoft and leverage cutting-edge technology, services and programs that will make Barcelona a better place to live, work, visit and thrive."

Engaging citizens and businesses using the Windows Azure cloud platform
Citizens and businesses expect access to and interaction with city governments through apps and the devices of their choice - anytime, anywhere. With its software, device and services platform, Microsoft believes that cities "can deliver personalized services and apps with a people-centric approach, enable real-time dialogue via social media, and spur app development and economic growth with open data initiatives, resulting in better-served and engaged constituents."

Microsoft CityNext partner Socrata Inc., for example, a cloud software company leading the shift to data-driven government, is working with Microsoft to bring open data technologies to cities worldwide on the Windows Azure cloud platform. For example, Socrata offers governments customizable dashboards. Citizens can access their cities' dashboards through mobile devices or the Internet and monitor how their leaders are performing in areas such as education, healthcare and job creation. City leaders can engage with citizens in real time, incorporate public demands into their decision-making processes and ensure that they respond to their communities' most pressing needs. In turn, governments can bring data and citizen feedback into every decision, fostering greater transparency and community participation.

"The forward-looking CityNext initiative addresses a once-in-a-generation global shift currently taking place in government: opening up government data and using it to enhance citizen services," said Kevin Merritt, CEO and founder at Socrata. "Through simple, familiar apps and devices, governments can now engage everyone, everywhere. We are already seeing incredible progress and, in partnership with Microsoft, will enable global leaders to make sound decisions, drive efficiencies and help them meet citizen demands for ubiquitous access to information."

Microsoft is helping to accelerate innovation and opportunity
Cities will not only realize full transformation through technology, Microsoft realizes. It will also require nurturing the creativity of their most important resource - human capital. Microsoft and its partners already offer a variety of skills-based programs that educate students and teachers, foster business development, and empower citizens to join a competitive workforce. Around the world, these programs have helped millions of city residents cultivate a brighter future for themselves and their cities. As examples, Microsoft drew attention today to its programs like YouthSpark, BizSpark and IT Academy - which "encourage youth to join a growing workforce, support entrepreneurs' bold ideas and create skilled workers that help cities compete in the global marketplace."

Which are the world's most visionary cities?
Cities are already on their journey toward modernizing today. In fact, several visionary cities have stepped forward to embark with Microsoft and CityNext partners on this journey to identify and create what is next for their communities. Led by motivated, forward-looking leaders, these cities are taking an important step to better serve citizens and realize the potential of tomorrow through cross-functional collaboration that increases efficiencies, reduces costs and fosters a more sustainable environment. Cities cited by Microsoft include:

  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Hainan Province, People's Republic of China
  • Hamburg, Germany
  • Manchester, England
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Philadelphia, United States of America
  • Zhengzhou, People's Republic of China

For more information about CityNext, see

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@CloudExpo Stories
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
In his General Session at DevOps Summit, Asaf Yigal, Co-Founder & VP of Product at, explored the value of Kibana 4 for log analysis and provided a hands-on tutorial on how to set up Kibana 4 and get the most out of Apache log files. He examined three use cases: IT operations, business intelligence, and security and compliance. Asaf Yigal is co-founder and VP of Product at log analytics software company In the past, he was co-founder of social-trading platform Currensee, which...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
There are over 120 breakout sessions in all, with Keynotes, General Sessions, and Power Panels adding to three days of incredibly rich presentations and content. Join @ThingsExpo conference chair Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040), June 7-9, 2016 in New York City, for three days of intense 'Internet of Things' discussion and focus, including Big Data's indespensable role in IoT, Smart Grids and Industrial Internet of Things, Wearables and Consumer IoT, as well as (new) IoT's use in Vertical Markets.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 7-9, 2016 at Javits Center, New York City and Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 18th International @CloudExpo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.