If you want better cities, goes the theory herein, you'll have to start at their very foundations. Steve Lewis, ex-Microsoftie and current CEO of Living PlanIT, has a vision for how to make our cities smarter and more sustainable, and it starts literally at ground level, with the installation of smart sensors into buildings as they're being built. The appeal of his company's ideas has already attracted some tech luminaries as partners, Cisco being among them, and now Microsoft has also been signed up -- to provide the cloud framework required to keep all those sensors talking with its Azure platform. Paredes, a Portuguese municipality, will play host to one of the first such projects, eventually providing homes for nearly a quarter of a million people and costing a staggering €10 billion ($14.1b) to complete. To understand the synergistic benefits of having your life monitored by an omniscient Urban Operating System sentinel, skip past the break for a press release and explanatory video.
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Microsoft and Living PlanIT Partner to Deliver Smart City Technology Via the Cloud

Microsoft Connected Government Framework to integrate with Living PlanIT's Urban Operating System

Brussels – March 22, 2011: Microsoft Corp today announced that it has formed a strategic partnership with Living PlanIT SA, one of the world's leading smart city and urban development technology providers. The partnership integrates Microsoft Connected Government Framework (CGF) with Living PlanIT's Urban Operating System (UOS), a real-time control platform that converges cloud computing, deep sensing, simulation, analytics and application services with the fabric of buildings and infrastructure.

This partnership will enable citizens to seamlessly access smart city technologies via the cloud so they can manage their everyday life events and data. It will provide a rich framework for the incorporation of partner technologies and will deliver a platform to enable a new generation of intelligent cities and urban development. Together, these technologies will help improve the quality of life for citizens and industry while preserving the environment and natural resources.

CGF empowers governments to deliver and manage public services in a way that encourages greater citizen engagement. This creates an excellent integration point for Living PlanIT's UOS, a middleware platform that is embedded in the fabric of buildings and infrastructure. It connects with underlying city hardware related to energy, water, waste, transport and logistics to provide an integrated urban control platform. Place- and context-aware applications - known as Place Apps - can easily make use of the extensive data, sensing and control capabilities embedded in the fabric of a city to enhance the productivity of inhabitants and efficiency of real estate.

"Working in collaboration with Living PlanIT and its partners, these technologies will become critical enablers to the solutions that harmonise economic and social development with the environment throughout the world," said Niels Soelberg, vice president, Public Sector Sales at Microsoft EMEA. "This partnership provides the opportunity to realise these ambitions and change how we view the connection between city, society and technology."

Because CGF is delivered via the cloud, it supports Living PlanIT's goal to create a single platform that is universally accessible and scalable, which reduces the time and cost of design, delivery and operations of real estate. UOS will be made available with CGF as part of the Windows Azure platform and will provide central and local government bodies with more flexibility and precision than before as they look to stimulate sustainable development and regeneration.

"We are delighted to be partnering with Microsoft. The combination of Microsoft's cloud computing platform and our market-leading partner ecosystem enables Living PlanIT to create exciting new solutions in the most effective manner," said Steve Lewis, co-founder and CEO, Living PlanIT. "As technologists, we innovate to create value and make a meaningful contribution, individually and collectively. We are in a race, ironically, against ourselves. Our population is growing and moving. Software has transformed industries - medicine, education, science, finance, manufacturing - and software will transform our cities to achieve their economic, social and environmental potential. The convergence of cloud computing, deep sensing and innovative software applications will contribute directly to the viability and sustainability of our cities."

The partnership was officially unveiled at the opening of the Microsoft Cloud Interoperability Center in Brussels. Present at the event were Jean-Philippe Courtois, president of Microsoft International, and Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda.

About Living PlanIT

Living PlanIT S.A. is a technology company enabling the development of innovative, intelligent sustainable urban-scale environments. The company brings together people, industry and educational institutions to create innovation cities where emerging technologies are developed, perfected and experienced. Information about Living PlanIT can be found at www.living-planit.com

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

About Microsoft EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

Microsoft has operated in EMEA since 1982. In the region Microsoft employs more than 16,000 people in over 64 subsidiaries, delivering products and services in more than 139 countries and territories.

This material is for informational purposes only. Microsoft Corp disclaims all warranties and conditions with regard to use of the material for other purposes. Microsoft Corp shall not, at any time, be liable for any special, direct, indirect or consequential damages, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other action arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of the material. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting any kind of warranty.