Today Cisco announced a new way of working sustainably called "Connected and Sustainable Work," designed to provide cities, employers, and citizens with a new framework for fostering economic growth, increasing the quality of life, and addressing the challenges of climate change.
The announcement, marked by the opening of the first Smart Work Centre (SWC) in Almere, Amsterdam, highlighted the second Connected Urban Development (CUD) Global Conference, hosted by Cisco and the City of Amsterdam. The conference follows the inaugural CUD event hosted by Cisco and the City of San Francisco last February.
The first SWC is located in the neighbouring Amsterdam community of Almere and provides space to workers in individual or group work settings, using information and communications technologies (ICT) while at the same time improving lifestyle, productivity goals, entrepreneurial models, reducing travel costs and impacts overall carbon emissions.
SWCs provide space to workers in individual or group work settings, using (ICT) to support flexible and scalable working. The SWC concept offers multiple applications depending on the user groups it supports. Its innovative combination of technology and services includes providing access to collaboration platforms such as Cisco TelePresence for high-quality virtual meetings, as well as child day care, high-end catering services and financial services, supplemented by good access to highways and public transport. The SWC is also equipped with open lounge work spaces and larger public area.
"Traffic congestion and climate change make it necessary to find new ways, or actually new places to work," said Mayor Job Cohen of Amsterdam. The city of Amsterdam, employing over 25.000 people, is a launching customer of SWC Almere. "The pursuit of innovation is essential for sustainable growth. Amsterdam is already working on a plan to make its own buildings CO2 neutral by 2015."
"We want to invest in modern employer practice and make lifestyle changes in order to preserve the environment. We need new knowledge to help us make our lifestyles and production processes as energy-neutral and CO2-neutral as possible," said Annemarie Jorritsma, Mayor of Almere. "Almere is an innovative city. We have a new city-wide fibre-optic network, an innovative broadband ICT solution for high-quality visual communication that enables companies to maintain visual contact with their head offices elsewhere -- both within and outside the Netherlands. This is the epitome of globalization. As a city council, we are keen to facilitate this."
"We are taking a completely new look at how to optimize the working day," said Bas Boorsma, Leader of Connected Urban Development Amsterdam, Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG). "If principles of smart work are applied at large then the first result would be that information exchange is no longer a primary reason for physical transport, which would mean less energy spent, less time spent and a better work-life balance."
The SWC, which will initially house workers from the City of Amsterdam, HP and IBM, is a flexible concept with multiple applications, depending on the user groups that are being catered for. Its services include access to collaboration platforms such as high-quality virtual meeting technology in the form of Cisco TelePresence, as well as child day care, high-end catering services and financial services, supplemented by good access to highways and public transport. The SWC is also equipped with open lounge work spaces and larger public areas.
The SWC pilot is one of a number of projects to have emerged from Cisco's pledge made in 2006 to support the Clinton Global Initiative's objective of reducing carbon emissions. Launched at the end of 2006, the Connected Urban Development program (CUD) is a public-private partnership aimed at addressing the unique environmental problems confronted by urban areas, and at developing replicable information and communications technology (ICT) solutions for cities around the world. In its first phase CUD has built partnerships with three cities, namely San Francisco, Amsterdam, Seoul, announcing four new cities joining the program in February 2007 of Madrid, Lisbon, Hamburg and Birmingham.