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IBM and Cisco to Help Amsterdam Become a 'Smart City'

IBM and Cisco will help the City of Amsterdam in its quest to become the European Union’s first “smart city.”

The Smart City pilot project will serve as a testing ground to prove that smart grid technologies can better manage energy use and transmission while also reducing electricity outages and congestion. A slew of small-scale projects target four areas: working, living, mobility and public space.

Amsterdam's pilot program is one of a string of announcements from technology companies jumping into the smart grid fray. Google, for instance, has partnered with GE to lobby the government to push for smart grid support, while also teaming with utilities to bring energy monitoring to businesses and residences.

Cisco has also staked its claim in the smart grid development arena on the assumption that the smart grid will dwarf the Internet. The company has unveiled a new line of smart grid technologies and is working with Duke Energy to speed smart grid development for the utility’s 11 million customers while also helping GE and the City of Miami tackle a $200 million smart grid initiative.

Amsterdam, the largest city in The Netherlands, has set a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2025. It hopes through the pilot project with Cisco and IBM will help residents reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent or more.  

Cisco and IBM will help develop an energy management system using 500 smart meters installed in participating households, giving each a glimpse of their individual energy consumption. IBM will establish the smart energy network, while Cisco will oversee the IP-based communications infrastructure that will enable the energy system to securely communicate with household appliances in real-time. Nuon, an Amsterdam-based energy company, will also take part by creating applications for the system.

Consulting firm Accenture joined the project last month, and will transform its Amsterdam office into a smart building by using technology that will collect, monitor and analyze utility data. Other projects underway include connecting docked river cruisers and commercial sea vessels to the electric grid and the creation of a “climate street” that connects tram stops and street and store lighting with smart meters to help store owners and municipal workers manage energy use along a busy shopping route.

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