Technology Key to Solving Urban Inefficiencies, Cisco Says

By Greg Bensinger Features Dow Jones Newswires

LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. -- Cities can more efficiently conduct parking, waste management, commuting and energy consumption, to name a few, all through the use of technology including connected sensors, said Cisco Systems Inc. Chief Executive Chuck Robbins.

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"We have to do things more efficiently," said Mr. Robbins at The Wall Street Journal's WSJ D.Live technology conference on Tuesday. Lighting, for example, accounts for 20% of global energy use he said, adding that smarter technological devices can cut energy use.

Cisco has worked to put itself at the center of smart cities that rely on sensors and other monitoring to ferret out inefficiencies. Mr. Robbins said his company is working with 120 cities around the world to boost productivity, pointing to Hamburg, where the port has improved productivity by more effectively moving through cargo ships.

Smart cities technology is a diversification for Cisco, which hasn't kept pace with the market for its core product, switching hardware.

Security of such technologically connected cities remains paramount, said Mr. Robbins. Asked if he worried about potential security threats, Mr. Robbins said "every day we are."

"Security has to be foundational, upfront," he said.

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Mr. Robbins is set to become chairman in December when John Chambers steps down from that role after more than a decade. It marks the end of an era for Cisco, which was helmed by Mr. Chambers for two decades amid rapid growth and a subsequent retreat from its one-time throne as the world's most valuable company.

The change isn't likely to affect Mr. Robbins' typical workday, he said.

Mr. Robbins also said he was optimistic lawmakers would soon reach an agreement to cut corporate taxes, giving Cisco the opportunity to conduct more mergers or acquisitions and increase capital spending. "The benefit [of tax reform] is well understood," he said.

Write to Greg Bensinger at greg.bensinger@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 17, 2017 20:34 ET (00:34 GMT)