Cisco has created a $1 billion global City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program so that cities can more easily fund and adopt smart city technologies.
The funding is being provided through Cisco Capital, which has partnered with the private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors and pension fund investors APG Asset Management (APG) and Whitehelm Capital.
"Funding is a major stumbling block for municipalities beginning their smart city transformation," said Anil Menon, global president of smart cities for Cisco. "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."
The funding is necessary because there's a significant lack in smart city funding, according to McKinsey reports, with more than an extra $5.5 billion needed every year for cities, versus what is available for funding, said Munish Khetrapal, managing director of smart cities for Cisco.
SEE: Smart cities: 6 essential technologies (TechRepublic)
"Essentially over the next 15-20 years, what we see is there's a huge gap in what the infrastructure needs are versus the growth of urban population," Khetrapal said.
"Because we can't solve all the problems, what this fund is focused on is to say, 'well where are the cities where there is a clear financial benefit?' For example, this might be a city updating its lighting infrastructure, managing its waste disposal, looking at upgrading the city's security, or looking at traffic coordination and intersections that need to be getting connected. These are technology areas where the city can dramatically improve the way it turns out and connects the city assets so that it improves the overall response to its citizens," Khetrapal said.
The program can be used to help cities develop smart city projects with a low initial investment through revenue-share financing. Public-private partnerships are a key component for many cities seeking to add technology without significant upfront costs.
SEE: How to finance a smart city project (ZDNet)
Updates about the Cisco Kinetic for Cities platform
In addition, Cisco has added features to its digital platform, Cisco Kinetic for Cities, which is integrated with the Cisco Kinetic IoT data platform. The platform will now provide enhanced support for public safety, including new automation options, and a dashboard with integrated video. Cities can get real-time notification of emergency information by drawing on IoT data sources and Cisco Spark Collaboration.
There are several new Cisco Kinetic for Cities customers, including the Town of Cary, NC, which has a living lab with smart city technologies. Town officials will now be able to actively monitor the number of available parking spots—particularly parking spots for people with disabilities—to gauge use and help with planning.
SEE: Smart city technology market set to reach $775 billion by 2021 (TechRepublic)
Teena Maddox is a Senior Writer at TechRepublic, covering hardware devices, IoT, smart cities and wearables. She ties together the style and substance of tech. Teena has spent 20-plus years writing business and features for publications including People, W and Women's Wear Daily.