Smart cities or intelligent cities are not only about technology improving city services, but they are about improving the community experience as you live, work, and play. Yes, much has changed over the past 18 months, but city projects are moving forward and with a boost of energy because of the pandemic and new funding sources. The industry as a whole is finding new project opportunities centered around automation, remote operations, contactless services, public health and safety, and new ways to deliver legacy services to avoid the face-to-face interaction for safety purposes. A few key technologies directly aiding in smart city initiatives include Internet of Things (sensors, connecting assets, tracking assets, real-time alerting or intelligence), mobile applications, augmented or virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.
Historically, smart city projects have centered around traffic management, smart lighting, and city asset management, and while those areas are expected to continue to be areas of focus, new use cases are coming into the mix. Under the American Rescue Plan and Coronavirus Relief Fund (CARES ACT), cities and public schools are receiving emergency funding to support in projects related to safety, healthcare, and administering city services in new and safe ways.
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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:
Adopting innovative and smart infrastructure will enable businesses and government to enhance asset, infrastructure, and building performance. These physical structures are transforming into intelligence, cognitive, and predictive assets through existing and emerging technologies including Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, robotics, and deep learning. This spring’s, “Advancing Smart Infrastructure and IoT” IoT6 Exchange Summit brought together thought leaders, executives, advisory board members, and vendors to explore, learn, exchange best-in-class ideas, technology, solutions, and solve real issues around smart infrastructure. From retrofitting legacy assets and infrastructure to building smart and intelligence infrastructure from the ground up, this event presented hard hitting and actionable best-in-class learnings, and brought smart infrastructure ideas, projects, and use cases to life. The event enlightened our attendees by capturing all the technology and innovation elements as the industry transition from unintelligent, static physical structures and assets to intelligence, learning, and digital structures and assets. DOWNLOAD THE FULL SUMMARY HERE.
Compass Intelligence has covered the traditional device lifecycle market trends (smartphones, tablets, PCs, laptops), research, and intelligence for more than a decade, and now we are finally entering into real discussions around IoT device lifecycle management. What happens to the repair, maintenance, insurance, warranty, replacement, and end of life services that need to be provided for the billions of connected devices being managed globally, and who will be responsible for providing those services. When thinking about connected devices, let's just focus in on industrial and machine-to-machine connected devices. These may include devices used for tracking, monitoring, alerting, diagnostics, distribution, logistics management, digital content display, surveillance, inspection, safety response, machine communications, and many other core applications. Each of these applications will have common and unique IoT device lifecycle patterns and processes that start from the R&D/manufacturing stage and move to end of life and recycling stage.
A depiction of Compass Intelligence's IoT device lifecycle view is shown below:
Research & Development
The R&D phase includes areas such as testing, trial and error, refinement, embedded security, and other requirements, along with production runs for review and improvements. This phase is where many of the engineers work their magic, and this is also the area we are hearing needs to increase their review and processes for embedded security for supporting improved security of the device once it is deployed and operational.
This phase includes the production of connected devices.
Install and Deploy
This phase includes installation, integration, set-up, kitting, dispatching, and other services to get the connected devices working and communicating with other systems, software, and business tools.
Service and Maintain
This phase is where we expect to see a need for additional services. As devices malfunction, breakdown, become compromised (security, weather, aged), we will need better options for fast and reliable repair, warranty, and even insurance to cover business loss in case of short-term or long-term disruption of business or operations. Just as we have warranty, repair, and insurance related services for the devices we carry, we will have a growing need (especially in business or corporate) to have assurances for zero to little down-time of operations and business services. This phase is also important as it is focused on the management of all IoT and connected devices including providing physical and network security of the device, providing visibility of the devices (platform, portal, moves-adds-changes, troubleshooting), configuration, software updates management, and much more. As this phase becomes the longest phase and the most vital to operations, we expect to see services rolled out by the carriers, IoT vendors, integrators, and other tech companies, as well as see future IoT companies launch or evolve that are dedicated solely to IoT device lifecycle management.
End of Life
This phase is also an area that I believe is under-looked but will present huge opportunities for the market. What happens to older versions, retired models, aging equipment, and end of life connected devices. Just as we have a secondary market for smartphones and tablets, we will also see an opportunity for secondary markets for connected devices. This may be in both consumer and commercial application areas. In addition, as we deem equipment as not suitable for the secondary market, there will also be a market for recycling precious metals, parts, batteries, and other materials. Again, we are talking billions of devices that will need to be recycled to protect our resources.
For more research and information on the IoT Market, please visit our IoT Store. For more information on our advisory services, please visit our IoT Advisory page.
Written by Stephanie Atkinson, @stephatkins
Compass Intelligence CEO
Covering hot topics in the industry, new research, trends, and event coverage.