Cisco splashes cash with new $1 billion smart cities fund

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Cisco is vowing to back smart city deployments to the tune of $1 billion, after announcing a new fund in addition to updating its smart cities platform.

The software company's Cisco Capital arm will provide funding in partnership with private equity player Digital Alpha Advisors and pension fund investors APS Asset Management and Whitehelm Capital.

The investors said they wanted to make it "easier, faster and more affordable" for cities to adopt new kinds of technologies, whether it is smart energy, traffic management and parking.

Among the suggested solutions were revenue sharing, where the investors would be able to tap into the future success of smart city deployments.

Cisco did not say which countries will be targeted with the funding.

Anil Menon, Global President of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities, said: “Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation.

"With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes to make smart city projects a reality. Digital Alpha, APG, and Whitehelm Capital bring a fresh perspective on investment in an area that has previously been perceived as too new and, therefore, too difficult to finance.”

Meanwhile, the software company said it was bringing automation services and an integrated dashboard to its Cisco Kinetic IoT data platform.

New solutions include waste management by fitting sensors into bins and notifying public agencies when they need to be emptied. The service has recently been deployed in Granada, Spain.

A safety and security solution aggregates data from cameras, sensors and other sources to help first responders react to emergencies.

The town of Cary, in the United States, has been using the Kinetic for Cities platform for some time, to monitor how many of its parking spots are currently free.

Deutsche Telekom announced yesterday that it was setting up a smart cities research centre in Hungary to help stimulate the area.