It sometimes seems that smart city alliances and consortia are even more common than smart city projects. The proliferation of these isn’t entirely surprising. Cities are complex entities, with lots of handles, systems, components and management layers. So there are lots of opportunities, but serving them is inevitably something that needs to involve more than one supplier – and these suppliers need to bring their specific kinds of expertise but work closely together.
This latest smart city strategic alliance, announced here, and involving Cisco and AGT, has a strong focus on video solutions for urban safety. Cisco has been involved in urban video monitoring projects with a safety and security focus before (notably in the French city of Drancy) but these have been on something of a piecemeal basis. And yet the ability to handle the huge volumes of data required by multiple video endpoints is something of a USP for Cisco.
Surveillance is a sensitive subject, especially at the moment. There are questions about whether it really does make citizens safer, and even whether it makes them feel safer – or has the opposite effect. But there can be little doubt that the technology offers capabilities that will be used, often. So the tie-up between Cisco and AGT looks like it could be really significant.