A+L: How has Cisco delivered its vision for a Smart+Connected Life in China?
AE: China is becoming more Smart+Connected every day. In Shanghai, we just made the world’s tallest building into the world’s tallest, most intelligent building—all 101 stories of it. Cisco is also working with the governments in Chengdu and Chongqing to create Smart+Connected Communities. For example, as a part of the Connecting Sichuan initiative, the new Wenchuan hospital is fully Wi-Fi enabled, with IP phones and digital signage in every room. Cisco is also helping to design the Tianfu High Tech Zone in Chengdu, which will use cloud computing and virtualization to attract investment. In Chongqing, Cisco is involved in a series of initiatives focusing on improving livability.
A+L: What benefits has implementing a Smart+Connected Life brought to these cities and projects?
AE: Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities projects are still in the early stages of implementation. This is the beginning of a new and exciting industry and Cisco is right at the forefront. Let me give you an example here. After the Wenchuan Massive Earthquake in 2008, Cisco immediately provided an intelligent medical solution based on the Smart+Connected Communities platform. One of the applications is that we dispatched a mobile TelePresence vehicle so that patients could achieve real-time video consultations with local hospitals and even hospitals in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai. Medical experts far away were able to look after the conditions of their patients and they could obtain all medical data efficiently. Because of this system, many injured people received prompt treatment.
The broader economic impact we feel for cities that adopt the Smart+Connected Communities blueprint is significant. In Incheon, for example, Cisco is working closely with Gale International to build a completely new community in Songdo IBD, and they have already seen immediate benefits with new investments and people moving to the area. The Incheon government views Songdo IBD as a model for the way all cities in Korea will be developed that are environmentally friendly and provide a high quality of life for citizens.
A+L: Urban development is obviously one of your passions. Tell us about how you see cityscapes and city living changing over the next half of the 21st century, based on the technology currently at hand, and that which is being developed.
AE: We don’t have to look fifty years into the future. The technologies that we are showcasing in the Cisco Pavilion are available today and are being implemented in some parts of the world as we speak. Technology keeps surprising us with new innovations every day, but we fully expect that everything and everyone will be connected, certainly by the end of the 21st century.
This premise allows us to visualize what the cities of the future will look like with all the basic necessities we expect in a modern city—such as transportation, public utilities, healthcare and education—to be connected on one high-speed networking platform, enabling governments to greatly improve the delivery of these services in an environmentally friendly way. The network is truly changing the way we work, live, play and learn.
A+L: Do you consider yourself something of a futurist, and if so, how will that vision hopefully manifest with your work at Cisco?
AE: This vision that we are showcasing in the Cisco Pavilion is our company’s collective vision for what cities in the future will look like. It’s an honor to be part of this collective brain trust.