A week ago, I sat down virtually with Brandon Branham, Chief Technology Officer and Assistant City Manager of Peachtree Corners (PTC, one of the first cities in the United States powered by real-world smart city infrastructure, which also features ‘Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners’) to get an update on all of the progress being made in making the city smarter, more interactive, and inviting to technology innovators around the globe. Peachtree Corners launched an innovative living smart city lab about 1 year back that leverages autonomous technology, IoT, AI, machine learning, edge computing, virtual reality, and other advanced technologies to advance city operations, mobility, and introduce economic development.
Some of the more interesting key facts about PTC include the following:
Below is a video that will showcase some of the advancements being made at PTC and within Curiosity Labs.
Living Lab of today brings to life technology of tomorrow from Tytan Pictures on Vimeo.
The innovation being embraced at PTC comes with the value it is placing in partnerships, leading technology company initiatives, and the live testing environment it provides to tech companies, OEMs, and startups around the globe. They currently have roughly 10 vendors with 15 different device types generating data across their network across around 15 or so different software systems. On the embracing of global companies, it is also working with a Tel Aviv company called IPgallery, that brings together city insights and intelligence using a real-time AI data platform that provides visualization (visual map) across PTC to monitor, analyze and secure all IoT devices across the ecosystem, buses, cameras, applications, etc. In addition, traffic flow and pattern data are being collected to adjust and make real-time rerouting decisions to improve public transportation.
PTC recently announced a partnership with Bosch, where they are implementing a sensor connected intersection and intelligent traffic management system to capture video including vehicle identification, vehicle recognition of objects (car, bus, scooters with drivers or without, pedestrians, etc. using machine vision). This partnership will allow real-time adjustments to traffic signaling, share the flow of traffic activity, and identify the type of vehicle in that flow for improved traffic management. PTC's Curiosity Lab will allow for a living city environment for Bosch to leverage its leading edge solution within a live, real municipality.
A few other projects on the horizon include the following:
All of these activities would not be anywhere without the public-private partnerships (3Ps) in place. PTC has a process to test in their live environment, receive funding from 3rd parties or commercial entities (for some projects), decide on whether the project is scalable, and then the city decides and will invest as needed. This is a prime example of how business and government can and should work together to advance the smart city vision.
On a final note, below is a list of key differentiators that enable PTC be the groundbreaking innovator in smart city solutions:
There are two notable driving forces expected to bring significant change to the tech industry. First, we are at the emergence of 5G realization as networks are being upgraded and new devices enter into the market. Secondly, edge computing is taking over the past discussions of the cloud as the answer to bring analytics and insights in a real-time and automated manner. Let's skip the mechanics and deep tech discussion. Below are some basic thoughts around these two areas and why they are important to the future of work, smart cities, consumer entertainment, and much more.
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The Basics of 5G
As 5G networks are being launched in select cities, the industry is embracing new changes compared to 4G/LTE speeds. 5G brings the dawn of a new era where we connect machines, objects, people, cars, and more. The 5G infrastructure market brings new opportunities and potential applications that we have yet to unveil, and the industry is bracing for speeds that bring mass IoT to fruition, low latency critical communications that is ultra-reliable, and enhanced mobile broadband. Fixed wireless also becomes more of a reality across the nation, as 5G brings speeds that are expected to directly compete with cable and other high-speed Internet services.
At this stage we are at the cusp of exploring new use cases, hard-hitting applications, and new device roll-out (smartphones launching middle of 2019 and some hotspot devices). Even more important is what this means to businesses, consumers, and even government customers. Businesses are expected to leverage 5G for industrial and supply chain automation, connected vehicle enhancements, massive 5G IoT enabled sensor networks and systems, and much more. Consumers will experience new entertainment experiences on their phones, cars, and in the home that bring speeds we have yet to experience, and content that bring new levels of entertainment. Governments will leverage 5G for critical communications, smart city applications, and new city services. The opportunities are endless and the market is prime to engage, learn, and explore what 5G brings to the world.
The Basics of The Edge
Edge computing is an explosive topic for the tech industry, as we push intelligence to network end-points and devices as opposed to pushing data to the core/centralized cloud or to a remote server/datacenter. Chipset technologies have advanced where data analytics and decisions are being made at the equipment or device for critical decision making, business process improvement, and important action enablement. Edge computing combined with Internet of Things, brings simplification and new possibilities for immediate and real-time decision making for things like fleet management, asset tracking, supply chain management, advance manufacturing, building management, and improvements to smart cities.
Additional technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning solutions elevate automatic decision-making and are further executed to bring automation to new levels for businesses and government. Edge computing coupled with the convergence of AI and IoT (AIoT) will lead to “thinking” networks and systems that are becoming increasingly more capable of solving a wide range of problems across a diverse number of industry verticals. Additional benefits anticipated include creation of new customer experiences and improved consumer applications such as within the entertainment industry.
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