US software giant Microsoft launched a new initiative called CityNext to spur innovation and encourage leaders to create sustainable cities at its annual Worldwide Partner Conference in the US city of Houston on Wednesday.
Laura Ipsen, vice president of Microsoft’s Worldwide Public Sector, announced the initiative in her keynote at the Toyota Center in downtown Houston. The initiative leverages Microsoft’s vast Partner Network and the company’s technology solutions like Windows Azure and other devices and apps.
“Working with our vast Microsoft Partner Network, we can scale solutions and services to do ‘new with less,’ enabling cities to better compete in the global marketplace, drive citizen engagement, and foster economic, social and environmental sustainability,” Ipsen said.
Through CityNext, Microsoft will work with city leaders and focus on eight core functions: energy and water; buildings, planning and infrastructure; transportation; public safety and justice; tourism, recreation and culture; education; health and social services; government administration.
Nine places have already embarked on the initiative including southern China’s Hainan province and Zhengzhou in the central province of Henan, according to Sandy Gupta, national technology officer with Microsoft China.
CityNext empowers cities to make the most of existing investments and find the right combination of solutions, applications and programs to transform their cities.
Navigant Research forecasts that the smart city technology market will grow from the reported US$6.1 billion last year to US$20.2 billion in 2020, generating a total revenue of US$117.3 billion over the next seven years.