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Palo Alto CIO: shaping digital cities of the future

Palo Alto CIO: shaping digital cities of the future

A city is a “hybrid form: half thing, half idea. It is both a material and social fact. We tend to see the city as a container for human activity, but it is also the result of human activity.” – Benjamin Fraser writing in Digital Cities.

The last sentence here is particularly pertinent, and cities are about to undergo immense change due to an unprecedented demographic shift that has been occurring, one seeing rural inhabitants headed for the cities in their droves.

According to the UN, as it stands, half of the world’s population currently live in cities, with this number likely to reach 70% by 2050, action needs to be taken to ensure the demands of stretched infrastructure, services and resources can be met effectively.

Digital cities of the future could be the answer, and over the last couple of decades, an increasing number of us have incorporated digital into our everyday lives, without particular care or consideration, as individuals or societies; we’ve installed devices into our clothing, buildings and vehicles.

And with IoT on the horizon, devices are set to further become a part of our world.  

The 75 billion connected devices Cisco predicts to be in use by 2020 will all share something in common; they will collect and transmit of a lot of data.

Given that all of this data will be shared with a global network in real time, it seems only natural that these systems will be used in the planning and management of cities.

Providing guidance on managing traffic, and purportedly, enhancing public safety, laying the grounds for us to traverse cities in networked cars that will be as simple to use as tapping in and out with an Oyster card for London Tube network.

This pipedream is not without its challenges however. And CIOs like Jonathan Reichental of the City of Palo Alto are set to oversee the changes.

In this weeks edition of the Hot Topics podcast, we sat down to discuss digital cities of the future and issues pertaining to privacy that may be encountered.

Reichental is a Chief Information Officer by trade, but perhaps not as you have seen before.

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