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Cisco and AGT partner to provide ‘smart cities’

Cisco Systems and Swiss analytics firm AGT have formed an alliance in an effort to transform a number of cities into 'smart cities' over the next five years.

The partnership follows in the footsteps of IBM, who was the first major tech company to set up a Smarter Cities division in order to use its technology to tackle urban problems such as carbon dioxide emissions and traffic congestion.

Related: Innovation and data- IBM webinar to focus on smarter cities

Between 30 and 50 cities worldwide are being targeted by the Cisco and AGT, with the first client city set to be announced in April.

"We believe the future of competition is going to be between cities, economically, but also socially," Wim Elfrink, Cisco's executive vice president for industry solutions and chief globalization officer, told CNN.

"Where do young people want to live, to work? So it's also a competition for talent, and for environment. Energy consumption, pollution -- there are more and more criteria that people care about."

More than half of the world's population now live in cities, and the latest alliance comes as governments and corporations around the world look for new ways to better maximize space and efficiency.

Related: UK government announces funding for 'smart cities' pothole app

"I believe when we enter the Internet of Things we're talking about another layer of information that's bigger than social media," said Mati Kochavi, founder of AGT.

"We don't want to wake up in five years and find out again that we should have done things differently."