Cisco launches cloud service for smart cities as game about hacking smart cities debuts

Here’s a weird intersection of fiction and real life. Cisco is announcing today a new cloud service to enable smart cities, just a day before Ubisoft launches its Watch Dogs 2 video game about hacking smart cities.

Cisco, of course, is perfectly serious, as it is launching its pay-as-you-go cloud service to enable cities to take action more effectively with data collected from sensors, cameras, and devices. It unveiled the initiative at the Smart City Expo World Congress 2016.

Cisco will showcase a cloud service that helps city leaders take action with their data in real time. The Cisco Smart+Connected Digital Platform helps cities benefit from the Internet of Things. Through the cloud service, data is securely collected from third-party sensors, street cameras, devices, and other connected systems and objects.

he San Jose, Calif.-based company said insights from collected real-time data help city departments and agencies make decisions to improve operational efficiencies, increase revenue, and reduce costs in areas that include street lighting, parking, traffic flow, environmental sensing, waste management, safety and security, and other city services.

City departments and agencies can benefit from the securely shared data, breaking down government silos, which have previously prevented city leaders from making fully informed decisions. The platform integrates data in a secure manner, so it can be shared, and workers can make decisions faster and more efficiently. For instance, traffic-agency staff can use third-party applications and an open API from the Smart+Connected Digital Platform that provide information to see data collected both in and outside their agency.

Cities using the platform include Kansas City, Mo.; Jaipur in India; greater Copenhagen in Denmark; and Adelaide, Australia. This will surely generate some laughs at Ubisoft, which has spent a few years developing Watch Dogs 2, debuting on Tuesday on the Xbox One, PC, and PlayStation 4. The game is about hacktivists in San Francisco who run a collective called DedSec, modeled on the real life Anonymous hacktivist group. The hacktivists pull pranks for the “lulz” (laughs). But they find that a nefarious corporation is using the smart city for its own illicit purposes and to invade privacy. The hacktivists fight back to stop the firm, Blume Corp., and heap derision on many companies in the game that resemble Silicon Valley giants.