Smart Cities Will Alleviate Traffic and Monitor Climate
Joan Thompson posted on August 24, 2016 |
Smart devices can increase efficiency, help small businesses and reduce CO2 while also respecting pr...

This past week, two industry giants presented on stage at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco to discuss the future of our infrastructure.

Speakers from Intel and General Electric (GE) talked about how they are collaborating to make cities smarter. The presentation included a sneak peek of what is in store for future urban residents.

Brian Krzanich of Intel and John Gordon from GE present at IDF 2016. (Image courtesy of Dean Takahashi.)

Brian Krzanich of Intel and John Gordon from GE present at IDF 2016. (Image courtesy of Dean Takahashi.)

Among the discussion topics were putting systems in place to collect climate data and implementing smart sensors in lamp posts to monitor pedestrian and automobile traffic.

Intel and GE provide historic examples of how much our urban infrastructure has changed in the last century. Instead of building electric lines, expanding roads and making industries more powerful, the new focus is on making facilities independent of energy grids, and building smarter instead of bigger.

What Smart Cities Might Look Like

In a demonstration at the forum, a model street lamp was installed on stage with a built-in sensory system. People then walked underneath it and were monitored live by Intel’s sensory system.

This smart device is a classic example of the tools that will be used to monitor pedestrian and automobile traffic. The benefits? Many. Small food vendors, for instance, can receive a constant stream of information that helps to identify where customer hotspots are based on pedestrian or automobile traffic, as well as things such as available parking spaces.

Other benefits might include identifying usage patterns, managing traffic flow, and contributing to crime prevention.

GE stresses that the information collected by such devices is not personal identity information, just metadata. For instance, the data would include the number of people passing through an area, the speed at which they are walking, and the direction in which they are traveling.

Pedestrian traffic is just one of the areas that will be monitored in a smart city. The dubbed “intelligent light posts” will also make climate measurements, including temperature and humidity, as well as use cameras and microphones to capture images and sounds.

Intel Atom processors are embedded into the smart devices to give the system the ability to perform the necessary energy analytics.

The smart lamp posts can also detect where parking spaces are available, including when cars leave, how long they are there for. Such a system should mean alleviated traffic and lowered CO2 emissions—not to mention fewer arguments on family trips about where to go to find a parking space.

Among GE’s new smart-oriented projects is Predix, a software that takes all of the data from a smart city’s sensors and analyzes it for patterns. Predix was developed to function on top of the Intel Internet of Things (IoT) Platform, which provides the sensor data.

To learn more about what other smart GE features are being developed, or about what other presentations were featured at the Intel Developer Forum, visit their respective websites.

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