Putting people first

I would like to highlight a few headlines on CityNext from this falls Touch magazines.

Microsoft’s CityNext initiative adopts a people-first approach to transform cities for the better. Grounded in a partnership approach, the initiative aims to help cities effectively leverage Microsoft’s devices and services platform and city- specific solutions from Microsoft’s vast partner network to transform their future. Microsoft’s CityNext initiative puts people first and builds on the new era of collaborative technologies to engage citizens, business and government leaders in new ways.

While technology can create and even accelerate opportunities, we also know that citizens and businesses need to be engaged for the innovation necessary to keeping cities competitive. There are no easy answers to the complex challenges cities face, which is why CityNext goes beyond ‘technology capacity’ to ‘human capacity’ by having a people-first approach to innovation.

Microsoft have a strong platform and the power of more than 600,000 technology experts from the vast and diverse Microsoft Partner Network. Not only is this a collaboration between cities and their citizens, it’s also a collaboration between Microsoft and our partners to accelerate their innovative solutions through our platform, cloud and devices, scaling them to meet the needs of any sized city and then replicating them globally.

Visionary cities

Already, several visionary cities have stepped forward to embark with Microsoft and its CityNext partners on this journey to address their most pressing issues in a modern and innovative manner. The city of Barcelona, which has a long- established global reputation for innovation, has been working with Microsoft and its partners to successfully harness cloud, data and apps to enhance administrative operations, improve interactions with citizens and make information transparent.

The UK public body Transport for Greater Manchester is another shining example of city innovation. It worked with Microsoft partner Black Marble to come up with a cost-effective way of making city transport data publicly available. Using Windows Azure to store and access all of the city region’s transport data as well as the Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 development system to create a single data model across all TfGM data sources, Black Marble completed TfGM’s real-time open data information system in just six weeks.

I believe that as awareness spreads of the benefits of working with Microsoft and its partners on CityNext projects, more and more cities will jump on board the initiative to enable self-sustaining cycles of innovation, opportunity and progress for years to come.

Read more on CityNext in this fall edition of Touch.

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