Funding smart city initiatives: inside the Cisco $1 Billion CIFAP program

On the first day of Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, Cisco announced the launch of its $1 Billion City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program or CIFAP. What you need to know.

The City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program (CIFAP) offers $1 billion in debt and equity capital to cities and operators of urban services for financing innovative smart city technology

Funding smart city initiatives and the technologies to overcome existing and future challenges in cities on levels such as safety, mobility and traffic, pollution or energy consumption to name a few: it’s a recurrent theme at each smart cities event.

We’ve mentioned it at the occasion of our brief report on Smart City Expo World Congress 2016 and we can mention it again for the 2017 edition of the event, not just as a theme but also as an announcement.

While in a previous article we mainly looked at the theme of the 2017 edition of the event and the role of active citizen participation in smart cities of course there are also solution providers and companies who have technologies, applications and so forth in the scope of smart cities such as IoT, big data, real-time analytics, location-based information and smart city platforms, to name a few.

On the first day of Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 (November 14), several companies such as Silver Spring Networks, Huawei and Hexagon Geospatial already sent out press releases. Another company doing so was Cisco but here it wasn’t just about solutions and technologies such as Cisco’s Kinetic for Cities, it was also about that City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program or CIFAP.

Smart city financing - the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program

Cisco’s City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program in a nutshell

It’s not a secret that finance officers struggle to find fund the initiatives and upgrades that make their cities smarter or it wouldn’t be a recurring topic at industry events.

Cisco also knows it among others being a participant at smart city industry events such as Smart City Expo World Congress 2017 where, on top of debates, there of course is also an opportunity to showcase and sell smart city solutions and technologies in which Cisco has been called a leader as you can read below.

With our partners, Cisco will bring the capital and expertise it takes for more smart city project concepts to become a reality (Anil Menon, Cisco)

Precisely in order to help cities in funding smart city initiatives and assisting them in finding smarter ways to finance the technologies they might need, Cisco introduced the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program. The $1 billion city infrastructure financing acceleration program is a collaboration between Cisco Capital joined, private equity firm Digital Alpha Advisors and pension fund investors APG Asset Management (APG) and Whitehelm Capital.

On top of that the company brings along its smart city technology know-how while the other partners also help financial officers find investments in the rather new smart city area whereby new also means hard to finance.

The city infrastructure financing acceleration program is, quote, “aimed to make it easier, faster, and more affordable for cities around the world to fund and adopt technologies that will transform their communities”.

Funding and deploying new technologies with minimal investment

The city infrastructure financing acceleration program also aims to help cities bring together the right finance instruments to fund and deploy new technologies with a minimal investment.

Such instruments include revenue-share financing whereby, according to Cisco, cities could tie financing to outcomes and extend future operating budgets through revenues they gain from new services, enabled by a digitized infrastructure. Another smart city financing option is equity financing  while the program of course also looks at ways to finance technology investments, ranging from your traditional loans and leased to consumption-based financing, “as a service financing” and concession financing.

As examples of goals that cities could be looking for in the scope of the city infrastructure financing acceleration program, Cisco cites initiatives to reduce energy usage, ease traffic and parking, or boost public transportation ridership and revenues.

Anil Menon Global President of Cisco Smart Connected Communities on the Cisco City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program
Anil Menon, Global President of Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities on the Cisco City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program – picture Cisco – source

Enhanced solutions, new purchase options and sources regarding the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program

On the solutions front Cisco has some other announcements, including added functionality to its rebranded connected digital platform for smart cities, Cisco Kinetic for Cities. The platform integrates with the the Cisco Kinetic IoT data platform. The new features should offer enhanced support for public safety, a key focus of the platform.

Cisco’s position as the leader in the smart cities market is based on its integrated perspective on urban innovation, strong sector-specific solutions, and a commitment to continued thought leadership and city engagement (Eric Woods, Navigant Research)

Cisco, which was recently called a smart city technology leader by Navigant Research, also announced new buying options for its Cisco Kinetic for Cities and new customers of the solution. The town of Cary in the US, for instance, is using the platform in the shape of a living lab for parking improvements.

More about these and other announcements via the press release and many other links in it as you’re probably wondering how the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program or CIFAP works and who is eligible. In the video below, Cisco’s Arvind Satyam does exactly that: explaining how the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program works, who can participate, and how.

 

You can read all about the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program on the dedicated web page of Cisco, in a blog post by Anil Menon, President Smart+Connected Communities and Cisco Deputy Chief Globalisation Officer and in this PDF with an easy overview of the City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program and the quote from Navigant Research on Cisco’s smart city technology leadership we mentioned above.

 

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