Highways, bridges, railways, mass transit, ports, airports, and their cyber networks are all a part of critical transportation infrastructure, which is essential to the daily function of 21st century society. As urban population centers grow, so does the demand on transportation infrastructure. More and more commuters are shifting from using roadways to rail, bus and other means of public transportation.
This shift is changing the role of public transportation systems and the station hubs that support them. Commuters demand full connectivity – transportation operators must assume that everything and everyone needs to be connected to a network. But the growth of connected devices within transportation ecosystems dramatically increases the number of potential attack vectors. And as we open our transportation networks – both physical and digital – to more points of connectivity, concerns of vulnerability to increasingly sophisticated direct and indirect cyber attacks are on the rise.
The Internet of Everything is forming the foundation of the digital transformation of connected roads, rails, buses, airports, and ports being built all around the world. Improving global transportation systems increases mobility and improves safety and security for millions of people, in an environmentally conscious manner. Transportation agencies and organizations are approaching digital strategies that are changing the overall passenger experience, improving productivity, and generating new revenue streams; changing the traditional of the industry.
There’s nothing like the quiet (or in my case, not-so-quiet) desperation of circling a few city blocks, over and over again, looking for a spot to park. You can almost feel your sanity slipping away. The search for a parking space is not only terribly frustrating; it is also a major contributor to traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
And we all love the classic case of walking home at night, tripping every few steps because, unbeknownst to you, no streetlights seem to cooperate and come to life in your neighborhood. For municipalities, street lighting is an essential maintenance effort to help improve public safety and the overall citizen experience, influencing a city’s ability to create a lasting environment for business and tourism. Unfortunately, community lighting is also a major energy and cost drain.
Of late, there is a consistent slashing of public budgets that must somehow be managed, while still meeting the growing demands from communities under the pressure of rapid urbanization. However, cities around the world are overcoming these challenges with the Internet of Everything.
In particular, communities are developing digital strategies to better address parking and city lighting needs, yielding a widespread and shared benefit. For example, with easier access to parking, citizens are facing less traffic, saving money on fuel, receiving more convenient payment options, and experiencing an overall improvement in quality of life. On the flip side, civil servants can better detect and report parking violations, increasing community revenue. Similarly, smart lighting management can contribute to a safer community. And city officials can reduce energy consumption, cost, and maintenance, all while positively contributing to the environment.
Whenever I hear about a serious train accident, mugging or shootout on the streets of a city, my thoughts often turn to Fog Computing. The same is true when I too am stuck idling in a traffic jam or at home and there’s a power outage during a winter storm or a summer heat wave.
Why do I think about Fog Computing? Well, my job at Cisco is to not only identify the latest disruptive Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, but also to validate where they might be applied to improve overall quality of life.. Whether it’s drones, artificial intelligence or robotics, my passion is to accelerate the art of the possible.
Consider Fog Computing. Fog extends cloud computing to the edge of the network. This provides a virtualized platform for compute, storage and network services between devices and data storage centers in the cloud. Because of its low latency, location awareness, real-time interactions and wide geo distribution, Fog Computing can sense and respond to situations in the real physical world almost instantly.
The speed and power of Fog to connect people, data, processes and things opens up a new world of practical solutions. For example, Fog Computing, when combined with sensors and wireless networks, can immediately alert the train operator as soon as there is trouble on the tracks, such as a slow-walking pedestrian or a stalled vehicle. With Fog, energy loads can be automatically re-balanced or re-routed to alternative sources during spikes in demand or low availability.
In a Smart+Connected Community, acoustic sensors deployed around streets that are connected to Fog Computing infrastructure can identify gunshots, perpetrators, victims, accidents, or even cries for help with high accuracy while also alerting appropriate authorities.
Wake up. Get ready for the day. Hurry up to…wait in traffic? According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic congestion in the United States alone results in more than 4 billion hours of travel delay and nearly 3 billion gallons of gas used, at a cost of $80 billion a year. More than 25 percent of traffic congestion is non-recurrent, according to the Federal Highway Administration, meaning that in large part, it is caused by traffic incidents. Detecting these incidents early and responding to them effectively makes for safer roads, less congestion, and smoother traffic flow.
Leveraging technology and innovation will be essential for transportation in the world’s swelling urban areas as increasing populations, and other factors like climate change, will continue to impact current transportation systems and roadways.
With the pressure to innovate faster, the onslaught of rapid urbanization, and heightened citizen expectations, government organizations and leaders are looking to the Internet of Everything.
Of the many technology trends that enable the Internet of Everything, big data and analytics warrant special consideration. The astonishing amount of data traversing today’s networks is growing exponentially each day. A recent IDC research report highlights that from now until 2020, the digital universe will double every two years.
This growth in data represents a remarkable opportunity for global public sector organizations, particularly for government leaders. The automated collection of data – from devices, sensors, and physical objects – and use of the resulting information is providing unprecedented visibility and decision-making capabilities. This is paving the way for faster incident response, safer communities, better operational efficiency, secure access to anytime, anywhere services, and an overall heightened citizen experience.