Tech Overlook

Microsoft driving intelligent, connected smart cities


Barcelona may be one of the world’s major global centers for tourism, the economy, trade and culture but, starting today, it’s the apex for smart cities. Our Microsoft CityNext team and partners are excited to join government and civic leaders as well as experts at the Smart City Expo World Congress (SCEWC2018) to address key issues facing cities, including:

  • Enhancing urban mobility
  • Building smarter infrastructure
  • Improving citizen and social care
  • Strengthening public safety.

Innovations for smart cities

While the Internet of Things (IoT) has been part of smart cities strategy from the early days, we are now reaching a tipping point where these solutions can be created at scale and securely, using sophisticated models and artificial intelligence capabilities to improve our work and personal lives across these scenarios. Microsoft is bringing its leading capabilities from the intelligent cloud to the intelligent edge into these solutions.

This approach for creating intelligent, connected smart cities results in digital transformations and services that address priorities, better serve citizens, and enable more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive communities. For example, the convergence of the cloud, AI and IoT is behind our new Azure Digital Twins service, which allows cities and other customers to model the relationships and interactions among people, places and devices before connecting devices to that model. Learn more about Digital Twins here.

During the recent IoT Solutions World Congress, we announced that IoT has the potential to create more efficient and vibrant cities by providing new insights and approaches to transportation and traffic, energy reduction, construction, utilities, parking and much more. Learn how our IoT solutions are enabling transformations here.

In another indication that the Azure cloud continues gaining momentum, Moovit, the world’s largest urban mobility data and analytics company and No. 1 transit app, announced last week that it will integrate its sophisticated API data into Azure Maps. This partnership provides a comprehensive mapping solution that brings together location awareness with public transit data, enabling developers to build richer apps requiring public transportation routing services—such as city planning around public transit, multi-modal routing and HOV or toll-road avoidance route optimization—helping cities harness intelligence to minimize urban congestion and reduce their carbon footprint.

Cities transforming with the cloud, AI and IoT

During SCEWC2018, Microsoft will join city leaders, solution experts and partners to showcase modern solutions built on our cloud, AI and IoT. These powerful technologies are enabling “intelligent cities” across the U.S. and around the world, for example:

  • Antwerp, Belgium, chose Microsoft Azure-based Be-Mobile technology to build its SlimNaarAntwerp platform, which is providing citizens with a mobility-as-a-service solution to identify an optimum trip, combining different means of transportation—car, train, shared bikes and on foot. The plan is to avoid 20,000 car movements to Antwerp’s city center during rush hours while improving satisfaction.
  • Denver is aggressively embracing and testing new and better ways to deploy technology and using data to improve services for residents, businesses and visitors. Building on Azure and other Microsoft technologies, the Mile-High City is in the middle of a four-year, $12 million smart city program to reduce traffic congestion, improve pedestrian safety and enhance quality of life, particularly in underserved communities.
  • Espoo, Finland, is a hub of technology and business innovation, and the city wants to deliver public services that are just as innovative. To better understand the service needs of its 282,000 citizens, Espoo together with software and services company Tieto built an experimental City-as-a-Service platform that combines Tieto’s AI and advanced analytics know-how with cloud services from Microsoft Azure. A challenge is how to offer the right services in the right time for the right customers in predictive ways. To do that, Espoo needed a platform that could process more than 500 million rows of data—from social and healthcare, daycare services and other agency records—at any one time. The successful experiment demonstrated that the city can use the platform to predict which citizens may need social welfare services, provide services proactively—and deliver far better outcomes.
  • Houston is partnering with Microsoft to drive the city forward with technology innovations that address key priorities, including disaster recovery and response, building and school safety, and more efficient, capable transportation, as shown in this video. For example, using our cloud-powered IoT hub, AI and Cognitive Services, Houston is deploying a connected buses solution to provide internet access to riders and increase safety by: installing a driver panic button to get help with onboard medical emergencies or altercations, a fleet management system to confirm buses are being driven safely and an alert to identify near-term maintenance requirements that help prevent breakdowns.

Partners joining us at SCEWC2018

These 12 CityNext partners are joining us in Barcelona to showcase solutions built on our platform to support smart city initiatives and modernization projects around the world:

Connect with us—at SCEWC2018 or your city

Microsoft CityNext looks forward to connecting with city leaders attending SCEWC2018 this week. We invite you to join us at the Intelligent Cities Forum at Smart City Expo, hosted in the East Agora from 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 13. During this fast-paced agenda, city leaders, solution experts and Microsoft executives will showcase​ industry-leading, modern technology to enable intelligent cities. We’ll highlight areas such as smart infrastructure, urban mobility, social care and public safety in the context of two critical scenarios. This forum will focus on the “how” of building an intelligent city and provide you with real examples to ​implement today. Tapas and refreshments provided.

We also welcome the opportunity to help your city find its path to digital transformation with our cloud, AI and IoT solutions. To get started, please utilize these additional resources:

Learn how AI is transforming industries around the world by reading the Intelligent Economies: AI’s Transformation of Industries and Societies Report by the Economist Intelligence Unit.



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