For any IT leader new to an organization, gaining employee trust is paramount — especially when, like PepsiCo’s Athina Kanioura, you’ve been brought in to transform the way work gets done.

Kanioura, who was hired away from Accenture two years ago to serve as the food and beverage multinational’s first chief strategy and transformation officer, says earning employee trust was one of her greatest challenges in those early months. Tapped to guide the company’s digital journey, as she had for firms such as P&G and Adidas, Kanioura has roughly 1,000 data engineers, software engineers, and data scientists working on a “human-centered model” to transform PepsiCo into a next-generation company.

“People become embedded into the ways of working successfully,” she says. “Me coming in from the outside and proposing so much change —  the associates and midlevel management are the ones that must be empowered and that is the most difficult aspect of any kind of transformation.”

Now halfway into its five-year digital transformation, PepsiCo has checked off many important boxes — including employee buy-in, Kanioura says, “because one way or another every associate in every plant, data center, data warehouse, and store are using a derivative of this transformation.”

The $247 billion conglomerate, one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, is developing a modernized data and cloud infrastructure replete with automated processes and workflows. To date the company has moved 5,000 applications to Microsoft Azure as it applies predictive analytics, AI, robotics, and process automation in many of its business operations.

PepsiCo’s migration to the cloud has paid off in in many ways, Kanioura says — in speed, flexibility, and agility, reducing on-demand forecasting from weeks to days or hours, and in feeding its supply chain more accurately and frequently.

“We want to ensure that the monetary value realization is captured across the board, and so far, we are very happy with the financial KPIs, which translate to business implementations which gave us a positive ROI,” Kanioura says. “But there is more room to go. We expect within the next three years, the majority of our applications will be moved to the cloud.”

The company is also refining its data analytics operations, and it is deploying advanced manufacturing using IoT devices, as well as AI-enhanced robotics. PepsiCo also plans to evolve its network modeling to become more “prescriptive,” anticipating events and making planning adjustments rather than reacting to market conditions, she says.

Upskilling for the digital future

The digital overhaul of nearly all PepsiCo’s business processes and operations has no doubt contributed to the company’s expected 12% growth for the current fiscal year over FY2021’s reported $79.5 billion in revenue. But with automation comes questions about the long-term viability of a range of current roles.

Kanioura insists the transformation’s goal is not distributing pink slips. In fact, she says, PepsiCo, which employs about 300,000 workers across the globe, is transforming all its human capital for the digital era.

“We are upskilling every employee of PepsiCo, whether you know someone who sits in company headquarters or you’re sitting in a plant or out selling our products,” Kanioura says.

One core program developed to achieve this goal, PepsiCo Digital Academy, provides employees with a common foundational understanding of the value of data and analytics and how they can use that information in their own roles, the IT chief says.

Digital Academy was launched last year, and to date roughly 27,000 employees have participated in digital training, with almost 140,000 views on digital training content, according to the company.

One HR employee took some courses in data analytics and found a new job within the company helping to advance digital transformation.

“I was always passionate about advanced analytics and took courses where I augmented my digital skills and acquired new ones,” says Ashley McCown, senior data analyst in PepsiCo’s People Analytics division. “These new skills enabled me to take on a new role where I am able to leverage advanced analytics to solve HR problems.”

IDC analyst Craig Powers says increased automation inevitably leads to some job losses. But enterprises are sincerely trying to upskill their employees to retain institutional knowledge necessary to realize the growth a digital transformation is designed to generate, he says.

“Is it possible to upskill all employees in a large organization to be digital experts? Not likely,” Powers says. “However, for the sake of success and efficiency in digital transformations, companies should be looking to educate and upskill as many internal people as they can, because their knowledge of the organization’s business processes is hard to replace.”

Enterprises like PepsiCo are also battling for new digital recruits even as they develop digital talent from within.

To that end, PepsiCo has launched two Digital Hubs — one in Dallas and one in Barcelona — to create more than 500 new data and digital jobs over the next three years. The hubs are designed to accelerate how PepsiCo “develops, centralizes, and deploys critical digital capabilities” across its global operations, according to the company.

Blending analytics and AI

Since taking over, Kanioura has applied the expertise she developed as chief analytics and AI officer at Accenture to advance PepsiCo’s data infrastructure, a strategy that includes building out a data lake and AI capabilities with partners such as Microsoft and Databricks.

Analytics and AI are integral to Kanioura’s vision for PepsiCo’s future, one that centers on enhancing three key pillars: consumer experience, commercial excellence, and operational excellence. “Every data set, every data KPI, or every data field is as important as the app,” she says. “Yes, the data is key. But the big unlock is MLops. The importance of using AI for data ops is critical. What we are trying to do is operationalize all our analytics and algorithmic libraries.”

PepsiCo will use a combination of customized Microsoft Azure and Databricks AI frameworks and machine learning models to redefine its operations even as it develops its own homegrown framework, “which is very specific to the needs of PepsiCo,” says Kanioura. “AI in this company is something that we absolutely debated down and it’s evident in many of our transformations across the globe.”

Gartner analyst Sid Nag says PepsiCo has adopted many of the technologies that are driving the next phase of enterprise digital transformation.

“The next frontier in IT services will be driven by the nexus of cloud, edge, 5G, AI, IoT, and data and analytics,” Nag says, adding that digital business initiatives built on these technologies can help enterprises interact more closely with their customers, thereby improving customer experience and engagement. “Digital touchpoints supported by cloud environments are the mechanism to connect the digital and physical worlds and are essential for the digital economy to execute on and accelerate digital business initiatives.”

Kanioura says PepsiCo’s success over the past two-plus years has laid the groundwork for an evolved, insight-driven enterprise. But for her, the most impactful achievement has been fostering employee trust across all layers of the organization.

“I expected more resistance,” she says. “I didn’t get too much resistance and that’s the toughest thing — to grow with what we were proposing. If you’re going to bet parts of your business and part of your critical business to a transformation like this, you need to be convinced that it will not cannibalize or disturb your growth trajectory.”

Analytics, Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation

Businesses are always in need of the most robust security possible. As the remote workforce expanded during and post-COVID, so did the attack surface for cybercriminals—forcing security teams to pivot their strategy to effectively protect company resources. Furthermore, the rise of organisations moving to the cloud, increasing complexity of IT environments, and legacy technical debts means tighter security mechanisms are vital.

During this time of change, the hype around Zero Trust increased, but with several different interpretations of what it was and how it helps. Zero Trust means — as the name suggests — to trust nothing by default.

Zero Trust isn’t a software in itself, but a strategy. Meeting the mandate will mean using a number of approaches, techniques and software types. The challenge only grows for those working piecemeal, without an overarching plan for using software and platforms that work together.  In this article, I’ll discuss whether Zero Trust is a strategy to which all businesses should strive towards, the growing shift towards a holistic security approach and how XDR aligns with Zero Trust.

Is Zero Trust an achievable goal for all businesses?

Zero Trust is an approach, not something that can be purchased. Just like a company will never be “100% secure”, it will never likely have “achieved Zero Trust.” That doesn’t mean security and Zero Trust are abandoned, but instead they are goals that are continuously strived for.

At Trend Micro, we leverage the terminology and concept of “Zero Trust” to help our own employees gain awareness of cybersecurity, while focusing on enhancements of foundational cybersecurity maturity through people, process and technology:

People –  Enhancing awareness; turning the weakest link to the strongest link in defending against cyber threats.Process – Developing, communicating and enforcing cybersecurity policy with alignments to enterprise risk management prioritisation and remediation.Technology – Leveraging telemetry data integration and machine learning to gain full cyber risk visibility for action.

It is extremely costly to achieve the highest maturity of Zero Trust in an IT environment and in most cases, it is not economically feasible nor practical to do so. The maturity level should depend on the enterprise’s risk management framework and approaches as well as its data classification.

Shifting towards a holistic approach

Organisations often begin their Zero Trust journey when faced with new security considerations as they move to the cloud. Migrating on-premises resources to the cloud entails monitoring a growing digital attack surface, which equals all possible entry points for unauthorised access into any system that is typically complex, massive, and constantly evolving.

Since the cloud doesn’t have a perimeter like on-premises environments, IT teams are struggling to keep up. A recent global study by Trend Micro found that SecOps lack confidence in their ability to prioritise or respond to alerts, with 54% of respondents saying they were “drowning in alerts”. With many enterprises using a hybrid cloud environment, operating several siloed point products to catch cyberthreats can be extremely challenging.

Organisations should look towards a holistic approach, adopting defensive in-depth security with multiple layers of protection. A unified cybersecurity platform, like Trend Micro One, provides enterprise-wide visibility, detection, and response combined with the security capabilities you need throughout the attack surface risk lifecycle. Our platform enables SecOps teams by providing a single point of truth across the entire infrastructure, gathering telemetry from all environments and correlating threat data to deliver fewer, but highly relevant, alerts to manage.

How XDR creates a solid foundation for Zero Trust

To properly assess the trustworthiness of any devices or applications, you need comprehensive visibility across your environment. A well implemented XDR solution provides full cyber risk visibility into an IT environment and when used in tandem with the Zero Trust approach, organisations can further enhance their security.

Monitoring and managing behaviour patterns of user access and data access are critical parts of Zero Trust. Trend Micro’s XDR solution offers automated detection and responses through machine learning and big data analysis. XDR automated response enforces consistent security policy while aligning to enterprise risk management.

Since XDR is constantly collecting and correlating data, it establishes a continuous assessment pillar of the Zero Trust strategy. This means that even after you’ve approved initial access for an endpoint, that asset will continually be reviewed and reassessed to ensure it remains uncompromised.

All businesses should strive for a foundational level of Zero Trust. To address the complexity of risk, the process needs to be treated like a lifecycle, in which continuous visibility and assessment are used to discover an organisation’s attack surface, assess the risk, and then mitigate the risk. At Trend Micro, we advise our customers to take Zero Trust implementation one step at a time.

Zero Trust

By Milan Shetti, CEO Rocket Software

In today’s digitalized world, customers value transparency and accessibility above all else. As a result, organizations are taking a proactive approach to provide critical content to end users at the click of a button.

For over 130 years, Hastings Mutual Insurance Company has served and protected its clients throughout the Midwest. The regional insurance agency, with nearly 600 offices and 500 employees, has provided security and peace of mind to customers of all shapes and sizes, from small personal family policies to larger insurance packages that have helped to protect farmers and businesses from the unexpected. With over $1 billion in total assets, the company has grown significantly since its humble beginnings in 1885. Still, Hastings continues to pride itself on its relationships and the care it provides its customers. That is why Hastings Mutual decided to look closely at how it managed and distributed its content to its clients.

Since the early 1980s, the company has used an in-house Policy Administration System (PAS) with what is today Rocket Software’s Mobius Content Services Platform to classify, manage, and grant access along its mainframe to more than 4,000 unique document types. Although current operations were running optimally, Hastings understood that its PAS’s lack of integration with modern technologies would eventually create issues. Hastings management decided on a proactive approach, taking on the challenge of modernizing its existing mainframe operations to an open-source environment to remain competitive in future markets. In its push to modernize, the regional insurance provider also believed updating its client viewing system to provide a more intuitive, user-friendly experience would benefit its customers and employees alike.

The challenges of preserving historical data

While migrating information from the mainframe to open source comes with its own obstacles, Hastings Mutual faced even greater challenges. The company had been developing and storing mission-critical documents and information on its old infrastructure for over three decades — including regulatory, accounting, and workflow documents. Not only would Hastings need to find a way to continue generating these documents throughout the migration process, but it was also essential to maintain the integrity of its historical documents and information during its transfer onto open-source systems. Failure to do so could lead to regulatory sanctions and even legal implications.

With limited resources and a lack of experience with mainframe migration, Hastings realized it needed help to clean up its Logical Partition (LPAR), preserve the integrity of its historical documents, and successfully downsize its mainframe operations — all while maintaining fluid operations.

Finding the right support for mainframe migration

Hastings turned to Rocket Software, whose Professional Services team got to work immediately to assist Hastings’ operational team in the clean-up of its existing LPAR environment. Together, the teams went through each historical document within the LPAR to rename and properly segment it for migration to the correct open-source system. 

Once documents were properly classified and stored within the LPAR ecosystem, Hastings turned its attention to mainframe migration. Hastings was able to modernize its mainframe operations while still utilizing its PAS in conjunction with Mobius Content Services to generate critical documents on its mainframe. After generation, the documents were automatically duplicated and safely transferred to the proper open-source environment. And Hastings was able to begin the migration of its historical documents safely and securely from the mainframe to its open-source systems. 

Improving customer experience

Hastings’ pivot to a more innovative web client has also been essential to the migration’s success and the company’s growing customer satisfaction. Now, end users can access Hastings’ digitized documents with the click of a button — reducing document latency and making high-priority documents available within seconds rather than minutes. And having an intuitive open-source viewing system has empowered Hastings’ end users to find critical information faster and without the hassle of asking for assistance.

The benefits of great partnership

As a result of the project, Hastings Mutual continues to successfully move toward a hybrid open-source infrastructure. The company was able to modernize its operations to produce, store, and distribute documents to its clients faster, more securely, and at a lower cost.

Throughout the migration process, Hastings has not missed a beat. As a regional insurance provider, the ability to continue to provide outstanding service to clients when they need it the most has been pivotal.

As Mainframe experts, Rocket Software helps businesses avoid complications and enhance the management and security of their most critical information. To learn more about our suite of Mobius products, click here.

Digital Transformation

“Our sustainability goals and key performance indicators are important to us. We’re committed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in areas we can influence by 2030 with a three-pronged approach that includes avoidance, reduction and compensation.” — Arthur Schneider, Head of Sustainability Management

One of Europe’s largest IT services providers, Bechtle offers a full IT portfolio to more than 70,000 enterprises and public sector customers in 14 countries throughout Europe. Providing hardware, software, and IT solutions and services, the company also delivers an extensive array of cloud offerings from dedicated private clouds to deployments with the world’s largest hyperscalers, including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Bechtle also offers the Google Cloud VMware Engine, an offering that empowers enterprises to quickly realize the power of Google Cloud while using the VMware technologies they know and trust. Notably, Bechtle also achieved the VMware Cloud Verified distinction.

We recently connected with Arthur Schneider, Head of Sustainability Management at Bechtle to learn more about the company’s sustainability initiatives, what it means to be part of the VMware Zero Committed Initiative and what he sees in his work with customers. We also took the opportunity to learn where he sees the greatest opportunities to make a difference.

“Bechtle is unique for a number of reasons, among them the fact that we offer a unique blend of IT services, from systems integration to running our customers’ full IT infrastructure if desired,” says Schneider. “We offer this through more than 80 facilities we refer to as IT system houses, and also provide IT leaders with IT E-commerce throughout Europe, a one-stop source of the supplies they need, from printer cartridges and laptops to full infrastructure-as-a-service or a custom-designed server farm.”

Schneider notes that because Bechtle business extends far beyond the company’s data center operations its sustainability efforts also encompass a much wider array of business functions. This includes a large effort not only to achieve a core tenet of the VMware Zero Carbon Committed initiative – to power the VMware operations and datacenters with 100% renewable energy by 2030 – but also to radically reduce the carbon footprint of Bechtle’s logistics and fulfillment operations.

“On the most basic level, in our Sustainable Strategy 2030 effort we’ve defined four main areas of action we will focus on, including Ethical Business, Environment, People, and Digital Future,” adds Schneider. “Some of our goals include achieving net-zero status by 2030, extending our portfolio of sustainable products, increasing diversity across management levels, and achieving sustainability goals in our procurement and supply chain operations.”

This multi-faceted approach can be seen in the scale and scope of Bechtle’s sustainability efforts. For example, the company’s headquarters at Neckarsulm achieved the noteworthy achievement of being powered by 100% green energy since 2021. Furthermore, the facility that serves more than 2,000 people, uses geothermal, photovoltaic, and solar thermal systems. Datacenters are also built with sustainability in mind. The company’s Pfalzkom datacenter in Mutterstadt, for example, is entirely powered by green electricity.

Additional investments extend Bechtle’s efforts further. Examples include the purchase of 50 Volkswagen ID.3 all-electric cars and the installation of numerous electric vehicle charging stations across the company’s operations. Bechtle even unveiled the Bechtle box, a special shipping container made out of 80% recyclable materials that can be reused many times and folded for return to Bechtle during subsequent deliveries.

“We are consistently looking at sustainability efforts from a three-pronged approach that includes avoidance, reduction, and compensation and that means looking at our entire operation,” says Schneider. “We’ve defined a sustainable portfolio: sustainable product consulting, green logistics and packaging services, repair services, product end-of-life services, and perhaps most importantly energy efficient cloud hosting.”

Schneider stresses that the cloud by its very nature offers perhaps the greatest potential, both because it consolidates power consumption into far more efficient facilities, and because it empowers others to likewise reduce their carbon footprint, whether it’s enabling remote work or replacing inefficient legacy hardware.

“Enabling enterprises to move from on premises locations to the co-locations that are powered by sustainable sources of course offers the opportunity to dramatically reduce emissions,” he says. “Sustainability has become a responsibility for all of society. Our customers have their own goals and they want to see similar actions on behalf of their vendors. VMware’s Zero Carbon Committed initiative is a great way to help demonstrate and act on that shared vision.”

Learn more about Bechtle and its partnership with VMware here.  

Cloud Management, Green IT

In the age of disruptive business models and constant competition, the travel and hospitality industry, like most industries, needs to deliver services in real-time. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a significant shift in the industry with a greater demand for competitive pricing to prevent loss of market share, targeted marketing to build loyalty, optimizing company staff, real-time inventory tracking, all of which require real-time data analysis. Companies must reinvent themselves into agile, connected travel platforms that go beyond the realms of smart phones and other wearable devices. 

Technology advances can enable highly personalized user experiences across a host of devices. For instance, form factors would not be limited to AR/VR glasses alone but extend to other wearables like contact lenses as well. Hearing devices could cater to selective hearing or provide real-time translation. However, these personalized experiences will further increase the need for heavy data management and processing as well as requirements for improved data privacy and security.

Meanwhile, customer preferences for better sanitary facilities, improved travel insurance coverage on trip cancellations, medical coverage, health checks and screening, touchless payments, etc. have also increased pressure on the industry.

Driving change to anticipate your needs

The travel and hospitality industry has risen to these concerns and opportunities in a revolutionary way, with cloud at the center. Here are a few purpose-built solutions targeted to anticipate customer needs.

Personalizing experiences  

Processing data at scale and generating predictive insights can help deliver highly personalized experiences to surprise and delight customers. Towards this, cloud partners like AWS use a comprehensive range of AI/ML services coupled with targeted communications, marketing campaigns, and tailored recommendations across a variety of channels, to deepen brand loyalty.

For instance, McDonald’s says it has enabled a faster, easier, and more rewarding drive-through experience using AWS technology. 

Staying connected 

An IOT suite of products can help achieve seamless connected experiences across a host of devices. Computer-vision technology that analyzes images and videos, aids in identity verification and surveillance during travel. AI-enabled chatbots with natural-sounding human speech capabilities, engage with customers to manage bookings, field inquiries, collect feedback, and deliver 24×7 automated assistance. AWS provides customers omnichannel engagement, over scalable cloud solutions with reliable and personalized customer service.

For instance, Priceline, a leading online travel company, states that it has optimized customer service during 3x call volume increase.

Optimizing operations and IT 

The airline industry uses forecasting for crew scheduling, fleet, and equipment management. Similarly, hotels predict guest inflow, make inventory adjustments, and release dynamic pricing offers. With real-time streaming and data processing capabilities, apps can be built to analyze video streams and live feeds from IOT devices. These detect fraud, which improves security and operational efficiency. AWS’ forecasting capabilities also provide actionable intelligence, based on ML, to help companies meet upcoming demands. It reduces IT costs by offering access to unused compute capacity at discounted prices and providing serverless technologies with pay-for-use billing model. 

For instance, Domino’s Pizza says it has increased the speed of its service delivery by using AWS for predictive ordering.

Reducing carbon footprint

Hotels use smart IOT sensors and automated systems for facility management, energy management, predictive equipment maintenance, and water metering. AWS brings together AI, ML, and IOT devices to make travel more sustainable. By monitoring fuel consumption, AWS provides recommendations that can be used to reduce emissions. Route optimization using AI/ML models reduces flight lengths and therefore fuel use.

For instance, Qantas Airlines cloud-based flight simulator helps to save millions of dollars in fuel costs each year.

The travel and hospitality industry has witnessed a massive slowdown due to the Covid-19 crisis. However, the cloud has presented effective ways to swiftly innovate, deliver personalized connected experiences, improve security, and contribute to a greener environment.

Author Bio

tcs

E-mail:  u.sircar@tcs.com

Ujjal Sircar is a technology leader within the Travel Transportation & Hospitality unit at TCS. Ujjal and his team helps enterprises build their digital transformation roadmap to enhance customer experience, increase operational efficiency, and enable digital growth. He along with his team have built solutions primarily for the Travel & Hospitality industry that enable enterprises to remain viable through agility and innovation. In his 20+ years of progressive IT career, Ujjal has assumed various responsibilities which include technology consulting, delivery direction, program management, and agile coaching. He is a distinguished Contextual Master in TCS and has a successful track record of working with leading enterprises spanning domains like Travel, Manufacturing, Life Sciences, and Human Resources.

To learn more, visit us here

Cloud Computing

Salesforce’s third-quarter financial report Wednesday showed a solid 14% year-over-year increase in revenue, beating analysts’ expectations, but was overshadowed by the announcement that company co-CEO Bret Taylor will be stepping down. The move will leave company  founder Marc Benioff once again running the company as lone CEO.

Salesforce’s revenue growth, totalling $7.8 billion for the quarter ending October 31, was largely driven by subscription and support revenue, which increased by 13% year-on-year to $7.2 billion, while professional services and other revenues saw a 25% increase over the same period, to $604 million.

Earlier in November, the cloud-based CRM software maker announced it would cut about 950 jobs from its global workforce, facing pressure to cut costs since activist hedge fund Starboard Value took a stake in the company and immediately called for the company to increase its margins.

However, despite the strong third quarter performance, Salesforce’s share price fell more than 9% in Thursday morning trading, as much of the commentary from industry observers centered around Taylor’s resignation.

Speaking to analysts on a conference call after the results had been published, Benioff said “this quarter has been further proof of our commitment to profitable growth, continuing our operating margin growth, continued focus on our revenue growth, continued focus on our market share growth.”

It was on this same call that Benioff announced the news that Taylor had made the decision to step down from his role as co-CEO of Salesforce.

“While there is absolutely no easy time for a transition like this, I really do feel that now is the right time for me to return to my entrepreneurial roots, particularly given the technology landscape and the economy going through such tectonic shifts,” Taylor said.

He added that he would remain as co-CEO through the end of the fiscal year to ensure a smooth transition and a “a strong close to the quarter.”

Taylor first joined Salesforce in 2016 when the CRM software provider acquired his previous company, Quip, and has since held the position of president and chief operating officer at Salesforce prior to his promotion to co-CEO last year. He also played a key role in Salesforce’s $27 billion acquisition of Slack in 2020.

In addition to his role at Salesforce, Taylor was also chairman of the board at Twitter when Elon Musk tried to terminate his agreement to buy the social media platform for $44 billion. After publicly announcing Twitter would pursue legal action to enforce the purchase, Taylor lost his role as chairman when Musk eventually took over and immediately dissolved Twitter’s board.

This is not the first time that Salesforce a co-CEO has chosen to leave the company. In 2018, Benioff named Keith Block co-CEO and he remained in the position until he stepped down in 2020.

“Co-CEO arrangements are historically challenging long-term relationships, but it seems to be one which Marc seems to favor for succession planning as well as allowing him to pursue broader philanthropic interests,” said Jason Wong, VP analyst at Gartner.

He added that the co-CEO situation, which started with Keith Block, also allows Benioff to scale executive responsibilities, given the size and growth of Salesforce which now has several business units in MuleSoft, Tableau and Slack, all of which have their own CEOs.

“Marc is still very much committed to running Salesforce and has set several milestones, such as surpassing SAP as the largest enterprise applications vendor by revenue this past year and a target of $50B in annual revenue by 2026,” Wong said. “I believe he would want to be at the helm as these milestones are achieved.” While it’s unlikely Benioff will announce Taylor’s successor in the immediate future, Wong said he would not be surprised to see another co-CEO appointment from within.

CRM Systems, Technology Industry

The world has become increasingly urbanised. The UN reports that since 2007 more than half the world’s population has been living in cities. That number is projected to rise to 60% by 2030. 

Increased urbanisation brings with it increased responsibility for cities, especially regarding the environment. Cities account for roughly 70% of global carbon emissions and over 60% of resource use.

Put simply, the world is on a collision course with an ecological reckoning and cities are the leading contributors. Therefore, it follows they must also be the leading drivers of change if we are to make good on our currently faltering climate pledges. If cities are to successfully take climate action, artificial intelligence (AI) has a vital role to play.

What is AI?

AI is hard to define, both because it covers a wide range of offerings and because it is essentially a moving target — constantly learning and evolving is intrinsic to its purpose. At the most basic level, AI leverages computers and machines to mimic the problem-solving and decision-making capabilities of the human mind. Essentially, it turns human-defined goals into mathematical ones.

AI has long been touted as the technological tool that possesses both the greatest potential for advancement and the greatest level of risk. The leading risk regards data privacy. Smart cities rely on data provided by citizens to function, but if that data were to be accessed by a party with sinister intentions, problems would arise. The state, too, can potentially misuse AI, harvesting and exploiting data in ways that infringe on citizens’ privacy. More overtly, if a hacker were to gain access to smart traffic control systems, they could cause mayhem.

So how can smart cities be sure they’re using AI correctly, advancing the sustainability agenda in a responsible and equitable way?

AI in cities

AI has the potential to impact nearly every aspect of the smart city. It bolsters security with incident detection and intelligent CCTV. It increases efficiency with traffic and parking management on roads, as well as automated updates and tracking options on public transportation. It monitors air quality, manages waste, analyses energy usage — and that barely scratches the surface.

To do all this, AI relies on data. Processing data, recognizing patterns, and devising solutions based on those patterns — even predicting potential future difficulties that can be mitigated — are AI’s fundamental pillars. As such, any city that recognises and wants to capitalise on AI’s potential must ensure that its urban services are collecting data as effectively as possible. That’s where connected lighting can play an important part.

Sustainable partners: AI and connected lighting

Connected city street lighting can serve as a valuable platform for a secure, distributed sensor network that can collect the necessary data AI requires, even on a citywide scale. Systems like Interact provide the best lighting experiences while also acting as the framework for enabling a whole host of smart city applications.

Sensors in streetlights can monitor air quality and temperature. They can also detect sounds — such as gunshots or smashed windows — and then alert first responders in real time, reducing crime and helping citizens feel more secure. Additionally, they can be used to streamline traffic management by offering real-time traffic information and smart parking. This information can be shared with city traffic managers or directly with drivers via an app.

Connected lighting is pivotal from a sustainability standpoint too. If every business and city around the world converted all their conventional light points to connected LED, it would reduce annual carbon emissions by more than 553 million tons of CO2. That’s equivalent to the amount of carbon that 25 billion trees could sequester in a year.

Smart cities that are serious about sustainability need to consider the benefits of connected lighting both as an enabler of AI capabilities and a sustainable solution in its own right.

Potential pitfalls

AI will be key to addressing social, economic, and ecological challenges at a global scale. However, its limitations must also be acknowledged.

AI & Cities: Risks, Applications and Governance, a report published by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) in collaboration with the Mila-Quebec Artificial Intelligence Institute, points to some of these risks. “In order for an algorithm to reason, it must gain an understanding of its environment,” the authors write. “This understanding is provided by the data. Whatever assumptions and biases are represented in the dataset will be reproduced in how the algorithm reasons and what output it produces.”

As noted earlier, AI turns human-defined goals into mathematical ones. But if the human-defined goals are based on existing preconceptions, then the data will end up reinforcing those assumptions.

AI also falls short in evaluating its own performance. As the UN-Habitat report notes, “While it may be tempting to see algorithms as neutral ’thinkers,’ they are neither neutral nor thinkers.” AI has no grasp of wider context, and so can only produce results based on its pre-defined optimisation goals, which may be at odds with wider considerations — or worse, serve a misleading agenda.

AI systems are mathematical and cannot integrate nuance. This means AI can sometimes end up excluding or underrepresenting subjective, qualitative information from its findings.

Minimise risk with governance and accountability

There are ways to mitigate the risks associated with artificial intelligence’s shortcomings. Key among them are governance and accountability.

Accountability ensures that some entity is always held responsible — and more importantly, always feels responsible — for AI’s impact. Algorithmic systems evolve, often unpredictably. A change in purpose will change their effects. Proper accountability can help negate mission creep, where technologies are intentionally repurposed for surveillance and other extraneous purposes. It can also help ensure that bad faith actors aren’t able to willfully mishandle AI’s goals, or to repurpose them over time.

AI governance refers to the sum of AI regulations, ethics, norms, administrative procedures, and social processes. Governance helps ensure AI is used in an inclusive and equitable way, and that preconceptions or lack of awareness in the early stages don’t allow AI findings to widen the digital divide or exacerbate existing inequalities. Governance lets local authorities evaluate the opportunities and risks afforded by AI, so they can then apply it in accordance with local context.

Consulting citizens and communities is vital, too. The public is every city’s primary stakeholder; they need to have a voice in how a tool as powerful as AI is being used in their community. This helps ensure AI is fixing local problems, not aggravating them.

Responsible AI

AI’s capacity for generating and expanding the possibilities of smart cities is considerable, especially in advancing sustainable causes. There are risks, but also ways around them. Conscientious decision-making that factors in local communities and consults local authorities will help ensure cities get the best from AI.

To find out more about Interact click here.

Artificial Intelligence, Banking, Education Industry, Financial Services Industry

CIO is proud to unveil the expanded CIO100 awards in 2022, recognising the top 100 senior technology executives and teams driving innovation, strengthening resiliency, and influencing rapid change.

Winners were unveiled during an in-person awards ceremony at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, housing more than 200 executives from all key markets across ASEAN, Hong Kong and the wider region.

Aligned to Foundry’s global awards program, CIO100 is viewed as a mark of excellence within the enterprise.

First launched as the CIO50 in ASEAN during 2019, the decision to expand the initiative to CIO75 and now CIO100 is in recognition of a wealth of standout submissions, increased interest levels, and a desire to showcase examples of transformation best practice across all markets and sectors.

In addition to individual recognition, new Team of the Year awards were launched spanning the key categories of Innovation, Customer Value, Strategy, Talent, Resiliency, and Culture.

Collectively, CIO100 registered a record year in 2022 with more than 280 nominations submitted, over 20 industry sectors on show and more than eight markets represented — including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Myanmar among others.

CIO100 is not only a true representation of the regional market but a true illustration of the outstanding achievements delivered by individuals, wider teams and entire organisations.

“This is a stunning statement from the market,” said James Henderson, Editorial Director of CIO. “Irrespective of ongoing societal challenges and worsening economic conditions, this region continues to power forward unperturbed – the market has once again raised the bar to set new levels of innovation.

“To house another record-breaking year of CIO100 is testament to the transformative nature of CIOs and their respective teams – all are playing a crucial role in delivering on the promise of technology to customers across the region. Congratulations to our standout winners.”

In 2022, CIO100 was judged on the core pillars of Innovation and Leadership, honouring transformational, inspiring, and enduring CIOs at both in-country and regional levels.

Under the Innovation pillar, the nomination described the technology innovations introduced over the past 18-24 months that changed the way the business operates. Under the Leadership pillar, the nomination outlined the ways in which the technology leaders collaborated and influenced the wider organisation and its leadership team.

All entries were reviewed by a select and independent CIO100 judging panel, who rated each section of the questionnaire to determine the final list. The most powerful nominations provided real-world examples of where technology and digital chiefs are successfully providing value to organisations, driving innovation and leading teams.

As evidenced in 2022, this is a market which continually raises the bar for industry excellence through the deployment of bleeding-edge technologies and enhanced business models.

Such work also cements CIO100 – held in association with Slack, Workday, Korn Ferry and SoftServe – as the leading awards program for technology leaders in the region, forming part of a broader Asia Pacific initiative alongside the CIO50 Australia, CIO50 New Zealand, and CIO100 India awards. These are in addition to CIO100 awards in the US and UK, plus CIO50 Middle East awards.

CIO100 Awards – Sponsors 2022

Honouring the top tech leaders and teams in 2022

Top ranked CIO is Charassri Phaholyotin – Chief Information Operations Officer (CIOO), Kasikorn Business Technology Group (KBTG) – of Thailand. This was followed by Suhail Suresh (Group CTO, Maybank – Malaysia); Rowena Yeo (CTO, Johnson & Johnson –Singapore); Jimmy Ng (Group CIO, DBS Bank – Singapore) and Bryan Leo Asis (CIO, Alaska Milk [FrieslandCampina] – Philippines).

The remaining top 10 included Yan Mung Hou (Head of Group Technology, CapitaLand –Singapore); Aaron Lee (CIO, Blue Insurance – Hong Kong); Stuart Gurr (Group CIO / CTO, Deutsche Bank – Singapore); Rama Sridhar (EVP of Strategic Customer Solutions, Mastercard – Singapore) and Alvin Ong (CIO, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) – Singapore).

Team of the Year honours spanned Singapore Airlines (Resiliency); NTU (Strategy) and DBS Bank (Talent) alongside joint winners J.P. Morgan and Ministry of Social & Family Development (Customer Value); DHL and Standard Chartered (Innovation) and Maybank and Tokopedia (Culture).

CIO congratulates all honourees in 2022. The top 10 CIOs are ranked – the remaining 90 honourees recognised are listed alphabetically by name.

CIO100 ASEAN 2022:

Charassri Phaholyotin – CIOO, KBTGSuhail Suresh – Group CTO, MaybankRowena Yeo – CTO, Johnson & JohnsonJimmy Ng – Group CIO, DBS BankBryan Leo Asis – CIO, Alaska Milk (FrieslandCampina)Yan Mung Hou – Head of Group Technology, CapitaLandAaron Lee – CIO, Blue InsuranceStuart Gurr – Group CIO / CTO, Deutsche BankRama Sridhar – EVP of Strategic Customer Solutions, MastercardAlvin Ong – CIO, NTUAlan Chiu – CTO, MoneyOwlAllan Wong – Director of IT, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU)Andri Hidayat – IT Director, Prodia WidyahusadaAnthony Buchanan – CIO, ManulifeAries Suswendi – SVP of Digital Services, TripatraArmik Ayoubdel – CIO (Asia Pacific), BGC PartnersAswin Utomo – CIO, TokopediaAthikom Kanchanavibhu – EVP of Digital & Technology Transformation, Mitr Phol GroupAugustine Wong – CIO, Vietnam Prosperity BankAxel Winter – Chief Digital Officer, Siam PiwatBhuvanesh Shukla – CTO, AGD BankBiren Kundalia Regional – CIO, Tokio Marine AsiaBrian Chan – IT Director, Jebsen GroupBudi Tedjaprawira – Head of IT, Starbucks IndonesiaCarlos Santos – Chief Technology and Transformation Officer, AXA PhilippinesChee Yuen Yap – Group CIO, Surbana JurongChew Han Wei – IT Director, Ritz-CarltonChi Chong Lim – Director of Group ICT, S.P. SetiaChoo Hoo Neoh – Head of IT, Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing (SAM)Dickie Widjaja – CIO, InvestreeDodi Soewandi – CIO, Adira FinanceDonseok Ahn – Global IT Director, ReckittDr. Andy Luk – Head of Digital Transformation & Insights, HK Express AirwaysEd Bizaoui – CIO (Asia Pacific), J.P. MorganEdmund Situmorang – Group CTO, Asian Bulk LogisticsEe Kiam Keong – CIO, Gambling Regulatory Authority of SingaporeFilipus Suwarno – Head of Technology Group, OCBCFrankie Shuai – Director of Cyber & Technology Risk, UBSGeorge Wang – SVP of IT, Singapore AirlinesHamid bin Hussain – President, Sepang Municipal CouncilHandi Tjandra – Head of DevSecOps, UOBHenk Van Rossum – Director of Group Cloud International, SOSHerman Widjaja – CTO, TokopediaIchwan Peryana – CTO, Finansial Integrasi TeknologiIshan Agrawal – Group CTO, Funding Societies | ModalkuIvan Ng – Group CTO, City Developments LimitedJeffrey Sheng – Head of IT (Asia Pacific), Sompo HoldingsJim Man – CIO, United Asia FinanceJim Sarka – Regional CIO, Johnson & JohnsonJocelyn Austria – Group COO, One MountJohn Ang – CTO, EtonHouseJohn Hsu – CIO (Asia Pacific), HSBCJulian Brinckmann – CIO (Asia Pacific), OlympusJuliana Chua – Senior Director of Global Digital Acceleration, EssilorLuxotticaKeith Chan – VP of IT, Wilcon Depot

CIO100 Awards – Sponsors 2022

Ken Soh – Group CIO, BH GlobalKevin Li – VP & CIO, GSKLeonard Ong – Regional CISO, GE HealthcareLeslie Yee – IT Director, Pacific International LinesMark Frogoso – CISO, MyntMel Migrino – CISO, Meralco and Women in Security Alliance PhilippinesMiao Song – Global CIO, GLPMohamed Hardi – CIO, National Heritage BoardNilo Zantua – SVP and CTO, RCBCNirupam Das – SVP of Global Digital Transformation, Liberty MutualNorman Sasono – CTO, DANA IndonesiaParminder Singh – Chief Digital Officer, MediacorpPeter Tay – Chief Digital Officer, IncomePoh Cheng Pang – CIO, SkillsFuture SingaporeRahul Shinde – CIO, Coca Cola (Vietnam)Rajiv Kakar – Group CIO, Thai Union GroupRajiv Renganathan – Global Head of Technology, Schneider ElectricRalph Ostertag – Director Digital & Technology (Asia Pacific), HeinekenRichard Lord – CIO (Asia Pacific), HSBC (Wholesale)Richard Parcia – Group CIO, Citadel PacificSachin Nair – CIO, Khan BankSanjay Thomas – CIOSetiaji Setiaji – Chief of Digital Transformation Office, Ministry of Health IndonesiaSetsiri Settaphakorm – SVP of Open Banking, KrungsriShariq Khan – VP of IT, Ergo InsuranceSharon Ng – CIO & Cluster Director, GovTech SingaporeShashank Singh – Group Chief Transformation Officer, Validus CapitalShekher Kumar Agrawal – President of Digital Transformation, Indorama VenturesSiti Rohana Mohamed Amin – Director of Technology, Malaysian Institute of AccountantsSudhanshu Duggal – Regional CIO, P&GSujit Panda – CTIO, BDxSupriya Rao Patwardhan – EVP / Global Head of IT Services, DHL GroupSutheshnathan A/L Sunmuganathan – CIO of International, MaybankTeck Guan Yeo – Chief Business Technology Officer, Singapore PoolsTerence Yeung – Executive VP / Group CIO, China Development FinancialTim Delahunty – Director of Technology, Commonwealth Bank IndonesiaTuan Anh Pham – CIO, Becamex VietnamWanthana Chotchaisathit – EVP of IT, TISCOWart Teao Phoon – Global IT Director, APL LogisticsWay En Yong – SVP of IT, Genting MalaysiaWinnie Rebancos – CIO, Coca-Cola (Philippines)Yee Pern Ng – CTO, Far East OrganizationYee Yu – CIO, Hung Hing Printing GroupYessie Yosetya – Chief Strategic Transformation & IT Officer, XL AxiataYew Jin Kang – CTO, PLUS Malaysia

Team of the Year – Customer Value

J.P. Morgan

As financial institutions embrace digital only solutions, J.P. Morgan is providing a digitally enabled experience for clients – offering a truly personalised engagement and journey empowered by seamless integrations with advisory tools and omni-channel functionalities. Such an approach ensures customers stay up-to-date, enhance communications and execute trades with real-time authority and insights.

Ministry of Social & Family Development (GovTech Singapore)

Government Technology Agency (GovTech) collaborated with Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to deploy transformative initiatives that deliver customer value and support social mobility. Significant investments have been made to develop people, processes and systems – including Social Service Net (SSNet), a case management system enabling the efficient administration of services and programs, such as COVID-19 schemes, all implemented within the space of 3-4 weeks during the height of the pandemic.

Team of the Year – Strategy

Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

NTU wins this award in recognition of kick-starting a new phase of technology-enabled transformation to support the University’s five-year strategic plan – NTU 2025. The team designed an IT strategic planning process anchored on four key pillars (LEAP) – (1) Look Beyond Ourselves; (2) Engage Business Direction; (3) Architect IT Portfolio and (4) Prioritise the Way Forward… enhancing the experience of 33,000 students and 7,600 employees in the process.

Team of the Year – Innovation

DHL

DHL wins this award for leveraging the power of cloud-based APIs to capitalise on accelerating market trends in logistics, using new solutions to address globalisation, digitalisation, e-commerce and sustainability priorities. The team developed a Group API Platform aligned to the mission of “delivering best-in-class logistics APIs for everyone” – now allowing the business to process more than two billion requests per month, forming a key cornerstone of the organisation’s innovation agenda.

Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered wins this award in recognition of elevating the client banking experience to meet corporate transformation goals – housing a laser sharp focus on impactful innovations to drive commerce and prosperity. The team created observability platform Skynet to resolve the complexities of the end-to-end customer journey, leveraging the power of AI, ML, big data and advanced analytics to ingest 2.1 billion data markers in one day across four markets, six business services and 15 customer journeys – spurring significant revenue growth in the process.

Team of the Year – Culture

Maybank

Maybank wins this award for building a healthy internal culture that strives for excellence, underpinned by the three core principles of Recognise, Energise and Actualise. Recognise in the form of employee awards recognising exemplary leadership, teamwork and innovation; Energise to help staff surpass personal and group goals and Actualise aligned to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

Tokopedia

Tokopedia wins this award for creating a culture of collaboration, togetherness and trust, evident by three core company initiatives designed to nurture the next generation of leaders. Tech Bench allows the top 1% of talents to be involved in a structured mentorship program; Challenge Period helps staff work on leadership skills and MyCoach focuses on training and certifications for those with a passion for coaching.

Team of the Year – Talent

DBS Bank

Central to the success of DBS as an example of digital transformation best practice is an expanding team housing industry-leading talent and capabilities – accelerated by coaching and mentoring programs, plus employee awards and technology academies. One such example is RISE (Reskill and upskill; Inspire; Share and Engage), viewed as the foundation recognising, showcasing, and nurturing talent through personalised programs, tools and resources – achieving 92% approval rate from employees across the company.

Team of the Year – Resiliency

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines wins this award in recognition of overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and a drastic reduction in flight capacity to scale up operations with limited lead-time and changing government regulations. Within the space of three months, the Healthcert Service Layer (HSL) was developed and launched on flights from Singapore to Frankfurt and Munich in mid-July 2021 – offering a digital solution to verify health certificates alongside rolling out a Crew Journey application to optimise operations and enhance staff productivity… a relentless undertaking amid unprecedented difficulties.

CIO 100, IDG Events, Innovation, IT Leadership

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is in talks to acquire cloud computing firm Nutanix, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, quoting sources familiar with the matter. 

The deal between the two companies could be mutually benefitial according to experts.

Nutanix offers its customers an open, software-defined hybrid cloud platform. HPE, on the other hand, calls itself an edge-to-cloud company that helps customers protect, analyze, and act on their data and applications from anywhere. 

“The two companies have a symbiotic and competitive relationship. It is symbiotic because when Nutanix goes to the market to sell the HCI products, it sometimes uses HP servers to package the HCI deal,” said Sanchit Vir Gogia, chief analyst and CEO at Greyhound Research. “At the same time, HPE has a portfolio called SimpliVity, which is hyper-competitive with Nutanix.”

In recent months, there have been talks on and off between the two companies, the Bloomberg report said.   

Nutanix is valued at over $6.5 billion

As of Wednesday, Nutanix had a market capitalization of about $6.5 billion, while HPE was worth over three times of that at $21.6 billion.

For the financial year 2022, Nutanix posted revenue of $1.6 billion while HPE revenue stood tall at $28.5 billion. 

“The enterprise software business is a scale business, a big boys’ play. So, Nutanix will either have to acquire firms and get to the next level of scale or they will have to consider an option of getting acquired from other firms,” said Pareekh Jain, CEO at Pareekh Consulting.

In October, Nutanix was reportedly exploring sale opportunities after receiving a takeover interest.  

“HPE has more than 100,000 customers, over five times the size of Nutanix customer base. From HPE’s perspective, they will get a growth portfolio which they can cross-sell to their customers, and Nutanix will get to work with a larger customer base of the HP group,” Jain said. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for cloud computing firms surged as businesses had to speed up the process of their digital offerings. Spending on cloud services in 2022 has been $490.3 billion, according to Gartner, and is expected to reach nearly $600 billion by next year, growing at over 20% year-on-year.  

HPE has a large legacy portfolio, while Nutanix has a growth portfolio with more software solutions, Jain said. “HPE wants to get into high-growth areas of cloud software, so Nutanix is the right fit for them. Nutanix can help HPE accelerate the transformation into new cloud services.” 

Customers might have to pay more for cloud services

While the deal with Nutanix, HPE could have a twin advantage—lower operational costs, and a higher potential to charge more for its cloud services.

HPE currently uses Microsoft or VMware for the virtualization platform. If they use the Nutanix platform, the licensing cost can benefit HPE directly, Gogia said.

Customers on the other hand can expect higher pricing post the acquisition as HPE will get a more dominant market share, allowing them to command higher pricing, Gogia said. “While the deal can give customers better support from the companies, they can also expect higher pricing. As seen in the past, after the company has been acquired the licensing cost and pricing overall go north in the range of 20% to 30%.”

Mergers and Acquisitions

Where are you right now, as you read this? Our educated guess would be a city. According to current figures from World Bank, around half of the world’s population — 56% to be precise — call cities their home. However, if we were to ask you the same question in 2050, those odds will have increased significantly.

Estimates from the same report suggest that in less than 30 years, 70% of the population will live in cities. In countries like the US, this figure is set to exceed 80%. It’s clear that urbanization is growing at a rapid rate. Cities are devouring a greater proportion of rural spaces — and an increasing number of people see them as providing the best opportunity for work and quality of life.

This growth places cities at the forefront of economic, social, and global concerns about energy and water use, traffic management, sanitation, and sustainability. To address those concerns, municipalities are increasingly turning to smart solutions that promise to improve infrastructure and governance. But how does a city know which vendors to trust? Which partners are most capable of bringing a city’s smart ambitions to fruition?

As with every high-growth market, regulation and certification often has to play catch-up. There are hundreds of companies promising the latest smart technology, the brightest and best innovations. Only relatively recently have organisations begun to evaluate and make efforts to agree upon the criteria for what qualifies a city as smart.

The AWS Smart City Competency partnership 

A smart city requires the proper mix of data, technology, infrastructure, and services to deliver sustainable and citizen-centric solutions. It’s important for city authorities to work with the right partners, ones that enable smart cities and help them thrive.

Amazon — more specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS) — has emerged as a leader in smart city certification with its Smart City Competency partnership. The initiative is designed to “support public sector customers’ innovations to quickly deliver smarter and more efficient citizen services.” As a trusted presence in the digital space, AWS is well positioned to deliver world-class recommendations to customers looking to build and deploy innovative smart city solutions.

The premise is fairly straightforward. The AWS Smart City Competency “will differentiate highly specialised AWS Partners with a demonstrated deep technical expertise and proven track record of customer success within the Smart City use cases.” The idea is that, through the AWS Smart City Competency, customers will be able to quickly and confidently identify approved partners to help them address smart city challenges.

The benefits are clear. When working with a certified AWS partner like Interact, you can feel secure knowing that the system has met and exceeded a high competence threshold. The partnership offers a host of additional benefits, including partner opportunity acceleration funding, discounted AWS training, and ongoing support and networking opportunities.

Opportunities from the World Bank, the UN, and elsewhere

The AWS Smart City Competency is just one example of an initiative designed to define smart city standards. World Bank, a voice of authority in the smart city space, has launched the Global Smart City Partnership Program (GSCP).

The Global Smart City Partnership Program was established in 2018 to help the World Bank Group teams and clients make the best use of data, technologies, and available resources. It is built on the understanding that technology – and data-driven innovations can improve city planning, management, and service delivery, better engage citizens, and enhance governmental accountability. Like the AWS program, the goal of the World Bank is to work closely with prominent smart city experts from all around the world and match them with certified partners they can trust.

The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) for Smart Cities shares a similar desire for aligning smart city customers and dependable vendors. The UNDP cites a number of factors by which smart city projects fail, including organisational culture, difficulties in achieving behaviour change, lack of technical expertise and leadership, and a singular focus on technology. Too often, the actual needs and realities of customers are overlooked; only by matching those customers with genuine smart city experts can a greater level of success be achieved.

Emerging smart city standards

For a city to truly become a smart city, it needs to integrate data-driven solutions across numerous application areas, from transportation and mobility to utility planning, waste management, and emergency response. This means it’s likely that decision makers will turn to numerous vendors to carry out individual projects.

But cities are not silos. They’re living, breathing entities — ecosystems in which each element impacts and interacts with the next. This makes the issue of interoperability a pertinent one.

According to Smart Cities World, “Public tenders for various smart city applications globally more and more include the requests for compliance to international standards . . . [V]endors want to make sure that their systems are future-proof and allow interoperability with other market players.”

Not only does this highlight the benefits of being recognised and certified by the programs we’ve discussed, but it places a greater onus on providers to ensure that their products adopt an open systems approach.

Emerging standards, best practices, and coordinated initiatives, along with a general increase in experience and expertise, has made it easier to recognise what a smart city is—and, crucially, what it is not. For cities with smart aspirations, choosing the right partner is integral to success. Certification programs like the ones mentioned here make it far easier to judge who those partners are. To find out more about Interact click here.

Artificial Intelligence, Banking, Education Industry, Financial Services Industry