Microsoft provides one-year update on CityNext initiative at Worldwide Partner Conference

Exactly one year since launch, the momentum generated by Microsoft CityNext is significant and continues to grow. More than 200 partners have already signed on to Microsoft CityNext and are actively delivering more than 700 solutions worldwide – helping to build more modern, safer, healthier and educated cities.

In the last year alone, through a variety of high-profile events with city leaders, we established key alliances with cities across every continent – providing our partners with innovative solutions to help customers not only do more with less, but also to come up with new ways to transform using less resources. I call this “New with Less.”

WPC 2013 was a very special event for me. In front of a crowd of trusted partners, I had the honor of announcing a new partner-driven initiative called Microsoft CityNext. With the launch of this initiative, Microsoft combined our two decades of experience working with cities with our expert partner network to create a new way for city leaders to solve today’s challenges and modernize for the next generation.

As more and more people move to cities to build better lives, today’s mayors and city officials face tremendous challenges. For the first time in history, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, nearly 70 percent of the global population will live in cities. That’s an additional 2.3 billion more people than live in cities today. As cities experience this growing migration, they are also confronting budget cuts, limited natural resources, aging citizens, outdated infrastructure, growing energy demands, privacy and security concerns and rigorous regulatory requirements.

Fortunately, visionary city leaders across the globe are reaching out for a trusted advisor in their journey to realize the vision of a truly connected city. Reflecting back on all that we’ve accomplished with our strong partner network around the world, we are very proud of what we achieved in just one year.

These partners are leveraging cloud, mobile, social and big data to deploy solutions that engage the heart of all cities – their citizens. By helping students achieve more through rich learning experiences; giving isolated populations access to government services; providing the elderly with healthcare from the comfort of their own homes; getting commuters home sooner; and community safety, partners are helping cities use technology to create sustainable economic futures. They are also finding success in scaling their solutions to meet the needs of cities across the world – expanding their offerings and driving real impact outside their communities.

For example, Swan Island Networks has been working in cities like Denver, Colorado to offer the TIES® for Microsoft CityNext – a dashboard based on the Microsoft Azure cloud that helps city officials maintain better situational awareness in high-stakes environments. On Tuesday at WPC, we were delighted by Swan Island’s newest product announcement – a new Disaster Response Edition of its TIES® for Microsoft CityNext product to help government organizations and NGOs around the world better prepare for and respond to disasters and emergencies.

We were also excited to honor ICONICS as this year’s Microsoft CityNext Partner of the Year. The company is offering cities from Rome to Beijing a unique platform that provides a connected foundation for cities to build on, utilizing solutions and apps across core city functional solution areas and scenarios including building automation, energy management and sustainability. Using these solutions, cities are able to address challenges, spur economic growth and transform.

Working with Microsoft and partners Hexacta and Kwan, Buenos Aires is leveraging technology and community programs to prepare students for 21st century jobs, enhance transportation and safety services, and invest in local developers to spur the economy. The city is now using a City Dashboard that consolidates data from multiple IT systems into a single interface to provide city decision makers with insight into project progress and citizen needs. In addition, its Windows-based City Phone comes pre-loaded with custom-built apps that provide citizens with access to traffic, parking and public transit information. The city also offers a Young Professionals Program and the Microsoft YouthSpark program, which provides youth with job training, career advice and opportunities to gain valuable technology skills. The Microsoft BizSpark program further provides new IT businesses with access to tools and guidance that help them succeed.

These are just some of the partners that believe in our vision and are betting on our technology solutions. For more partner examples, I encourage you to check out the Digital WPC blog today for Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen’s post highlighting other great examples.

On the one-year anniversary of CityNext, Microsoft and our partners are proud of our achievements, excited by the momentum and energized by the opportunities to build on our success. If all this can happen in just one year, imagine what we can achieve together in the next 50.

To learn more about Microsoft CityNext, go to: