Hamburg is getting an upgrade. On April 30, 2014, Cisco and leaders of the City of Hamburg signed a Memorandum of Understanding that marked the beginning of a Smart City pilot program. This agreement follows the December 2013 Smart City Summit, where representatives of Hamburg’s public sector, research and educational institutions, and local and international companies came together to outline a Smart City framework.

The city of Hamburg, like many other cities, is facing challenges such as overcrowding, pollution, and resource constraints. To help address this, Cisco has partnered with AGT International to implement Hamburg’s first Smart City pilot project.

AGT International is a Switzerland-based company that uses the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics, and Cloud computing to connect cities in a seemingly futuristic way. Working toward the integration of all technologies, AGT pieces together a city’s existing systems and incorporates new technology and software solutions to make cities more efficient. For Hamburg, the planned pilot project includes Smart Traffic and Remote Services, a Smart Port, and HafenCity.

The Port of Hamburg will be converted into a smartPORT, where an intelligent parking space control system will manage traffic for cars and trucks. The smartPORT also helps to optimize energy consumption by using smart streetlights and analyzing emissions data. This data provides forecasts on noise, temperatures, humidity, and pollution. Additionally, HafenCity, Europe’s largest inner-city development project, will reduce traffic in Hamburg by offering alternative modes of transportation, including cars, electric cars, bicycles, and electric bicycles.

Cisco projects like Hamburg are driven by the idea that cities will have to compete more than ever before to attract investment, business and skilled labor to create employment opportunities and generate wealth. AGT’s Connected City solution, based on the UrbanShield Platform, uses IoT to create a central public safety system.

UrbanShield collects data from a constant stream of sources such as sensors (video and face recognition cameras), databases, and social media inputs. Then, UrbanShield’s advanced analytics process and convert all collected data into a constantly updating picture of the urban environment, called a Unified Situational Awareness Picture (USAP). In other words, video feed from any camera or sensor can be viewed from a single console, providing decision makers with a holistic view of the current situation across the entire city or in various sections. These analytics also identify behaviors, events, and patterns that are out of the ordinary, as defined by system users. This notifies operators of potential threats and incidents in real time and even guides them through pre-determined response procedures.

This advanced technology will help officials sort out relevant information among the wealth of data for more effective management. UrbanShield can be used for law enforcement, traffic management, environmental monitoring, transportation, citizen services, and healthcare management. But the advantages do not stop there. The technology provided by AGT is supported by a full suite of professional services, including training, support staff, and upgrades.

Cisco and AGT—having just concluded workshops and designated pilot programs at the end of May 2014—are now beginning their recruitment for additional partners for the project. Final selections on pilot projects began at the end of June 2014.

This article was originally published in the Diplomatic Courier's July/August 2014 print edition.


The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.