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Empowering smart, inclusive cities—today and everyday

By Kathryn Willson, Director, Microsoft CityNext, Worldwide Industry, Microsoft Corporation on October 31, 2017

Filed under Microsoft CityNext

Today is World Cities Day, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly. The theme this year is: innovative governance, open cities—highlighting the role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.

It’s a theme we at Microsoft are passionate about.

We’ve been working with cities for decades to help them address their most pressing needs and better serve their citizens with innovative technology—in a way that empowers everyone. We’re committed to helping city and government leaders achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

It’s all part of our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

In our work with cities, we help them embrace underlying philosophical principles to guide their digital transformation and smart city journey. Together with our vast ecosystem of partners, we empower them to digitally transform in a way that leaves no one behind, instills trust in their technology solutions, and sets them up for success not just today but into the future. That means prioritizing things like inclusivity, security, privacy, and open and flexible technology.

For example, as part of our efforts to promote inclusivity, we’re proud to be a sponsor of the Smart Cities for All initiative (SC4A).

Last May, Microsoft helped G3ict and World Enabled launch the SC4A’s toolkit to help cities around the world learn to be more inclusive and use innovative technologies to benefit persons with disabilities and older persons. Since then, we’ve supported the award-winning initiative in smart city dialogues and events in Quito, New York City, Barcelona, San Francisco, London, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Buenos Aires.

Today the SC4A initiative announced that it’s developing a new tool for the toolkit – a maturity model, which you can learn about here. We’re excited about the maturity model and will continue to do our part by developing innovative accessible technologies that cities can use to help them meet their inclusion goals.

And through our CityNext initiative, we bring our vast technology portfolio, safe and secure cloud computing, and the Microsoft partner network to bear to empower cities to be more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive. With CityNext solutions, cities can connect people and information across entities and infuse intelligence throughout their urban planning. So they can improve outcomes for the citizens they serve.

Together with our partners, we help them do all that while making sure they have the right security, privacy, and data resiliency technologies and polices in place. (Data sharing in a smart city ecosystem is something Mike Geertsen will be talking about in a panel at ITS World that Microsoft is leading, which you can read about in his recent blog.)

Cities across the globe are tackling their challenges and moving their city forward in ways that are more economically viable, efficient, and scalable than ever before with digital, cloud-connected CityNext solutions.

Tel Aviv in Israel is offering innovative electronic services to the public and finding ways to empower citizens to be stakeholders in the running of the city.

Hollands Kroon in the Netherlands has enabled its employees to do their best work whenever, wherever, and however they want. Citizen satisfaction has improved 34 percent and employee morale is up.

Auckland Transport in Auckland, New Zealand is helping residents find the shortest and least congested routes by car and public transportation with online services and apps—which is crucial as the city’s population is expected to double in the next 25 years.

We’re honored to work with cities like these and be part of collaborative efforts like SC4A so that technology can be used as a force for global good—today and every day.

Learn more about CityNext.

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