Cisco expanded for years by aligning itself with IT professionals. Now it is spending a lot of time with city planners.
The networking giant signed an agreement in principle to work with San Francisco on the city's "Sustainable 21st Century San Francisco" plan to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption through strategic urban planning. Part of San Francisco's plan includes a Living Innovation Laboratory in the Hunter's Point area. Cisco also unveiled an EcoMap for Amsterdam, which gives people information on localized carbon output.
If you had to sum up Cisco's strategy in two words, it's "Stay Home." The company wants to promote high-end, lifelike video conferencing without the jitters and other remote management tools as a substitute for business travel or even going to the office every day. Cutting back travel has the potential to drastically reduce liquid fuel consumption and greenhouse gases. Many experts have said that while it might become economically feasible to capture carbon dioxide at power plants, capturing it from car tailpipes is much more difficult. Greenhouse gases from transportation account for around 40 percent of the greenhouse gases in the U.S. and well over 98 percent of vehicles rely on fossil fuels.
A world connected by broadband, of course, would boost Cisco's sales. It can cut operational costs too. The company's travel budget has dropped from $750 million to $250 million.
The company has also worked on pilots to promote public transportation. Back in 2007, Cisco has rigged up a municipal bus in San Francisco with wireless internet access so commuters could get their email, browse the web, or get information on when their connecting bus or train was coming in.The company also has projects underway in Seoul, Amsterdam, Madrid and other cities.