Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Roger Strukhoff, Haim Koshchitzky, Dana Gardner, Gary Kaiser, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: .NET

.NET: 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 http://www.microsoft.com/citynext/.

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.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Cloud Computing is evolving into a Big Three of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. Cloud 360: Multi-Cloud Bootcamp, being held Nov 4–5, 2014, in conjunction with 15th Cloud Expo in Santa Clara, CA, delivers a real-world demonstration of how to deploy and configure a scalable and available web application on all three platforms. The Cloud 360 Bootcamp, led by Janakiram MSV, an analyst with Gigaom Research, is the first bootcamp that introduces the core concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based on the workings of the Big Three platforms – Amazon EC2, Google Compute Engine, and Azure VMs. Bootcamp attendees will get to see the big picture and also receive the knowledge needed to make the best cloud decisions for their business applications and entire enterprise IT organization.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is a natural complement to the cloud and related technologies such as Big Data, analytics, and mobility. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Joe Weinman will lay out four generic strategies – digital disciplines – to exploit emerging digital technologies for strategic advantage. Joe Weinman has held executive leadership positions at Bell Labs, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, and Telx, in areas such as corporate strategy, business development, product management, operations, and R&D.
SYS-CON Events announced today that DevOps.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's “DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo,” which will take place on June 10–12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. DevOps.com is where the world meets DevOps. It is the largest collection of original content relating to DevOps on the web today Featuring up-to-the-minute news, feature stories, blogs, bylined articles and more, DevOps.com is where the thought leaders of the DevOps movement make their ideas known.
There are 182 billion emails sent every day, generating a lot of data about how recipients and ISPs respond. Many marketers take a more-is-better approach to stats, preferring to have the ability to slice and dice their email lists based numerous arbitrary stats. However, fundamentally what really matters is whether or not sending an email to a particular recipient will generate value. Data Scientists can design high-level insights such as engagement prediction models and content clusters that allow marketers to cut through the noise and design their campaigns around strong, predictive signals, rather than arbitrary statistics. SendGrid sends up to half a billion emails a day for customers such as Pinterest and GitHub. All this email adds up to more text than produced in the entire twitterverse. We track events like clicks, opens and deliveries to help improve deliverability for our customers – adding up to over 50 billion useful events every month. While SendGrid data covers only abo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that the Web Host Industry Review has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 2000, The Web Host Industry Review has made a name for itself as the foremost authority of the Web hosting industry providing reliable, insightful and comprehensive news, reviews and resources to the hosting community. TheWHIR Blogs provides a community of expert industry perspectives. The Web Host Industry Review Magazine also offers a business-minded, issue-driven perspective of interest to executives and decision-makers. WHIR TV offers on demand web hosting video interviews and web hosting video features of the key persons and events of the web hosting industry. WHIR Events brings together like-minded hosting industry professionals and decision-makers in local communities. TheWHIR is an iNET Interactive property.
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption by amplifying "faint signals" from the alpha geeks who are creating the future. An active participant in the technology community, the company has a long history of advocacy, meme-making, and evangelism.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Verizon has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Verizon Enterprise Solutions creates global connections that generate growth, drive business innovation and move society forward. With industry-specific solutions and a full range of global wholesale offerings provided over the company's secure mobility, cloud, strategic networking and advanced communications platforms, Verizon Enterprise Solutions helps open new opportunities around the world for innovation, investment and business transformation. Visit verizonenterprise.com to learn more.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMCnet has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC) is the world's leading business to business and integrated marketing media company, servicing niche markets within the communications and technology industries.
"In my session I spoke about enterprise cloud analytics and how we can leverage analytics as a service," explained Ajay Budhraja, CTO at the Department of Justice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
“We are starting to see people move beyond the commodity cloud and enterprises need to start focusing on additional value added services in order to really drive their adoption," explained Jason Mondanaro, Director of Product Management at MetraTech, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
"We are automated capacity control software, which basically looks at all the supply and demand and running a virtual cloud environment and does a deep analysis of that and says where should things go," explained Andrew Hillier, Co-founder & CTO of CiRBA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 14th International Cloud Expo®, held June 10-12, 2014, at the Javits Center in New York City. Cloud Expo® 2014 Silicon Valley, November 4–6, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading Cloud industry players in the world.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
The Internet of Things promises to transform businesses (and lives), but navigating the business and technical path to success can be difficult to understand. In his session at 15th Internet of @ThingsExpo, Chad Jones, Vice President, Product Strategy of LogMeIn's Xively IoT Platform, will show you how to approach creating broadly successful connected customer solutions using real world business transformation studies including New England BioLabs and more.
All too many discussions about DevOps conclude that the solution is an all-purpose player: developer and operations guru, complete with pager for round-the-clock duty. For most organizations that is not the way forward. In his session at DevOps Summit, Bernard Golden, Vice President of Strategy at ActiveState, will discuss how to achieve the agility and speed of end-to-end automation without requiring an organization stocked with Supermen and Superwomen.