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Can AI and IoT help accelerate Digital Innovation in Cities?


November 13, 2018 - 0 Comments

We have the emergence of a new urban services industry that is enabled by 20B+ real-time sensors and mobile data sources providing contextual data and creating $3T of value for Cities through improved citizen services, reduction in costs and increased revenue.

Cities are attempting to deploy all types of sensors and devices that provide real-time audio, visual, temperature, wireless signals and vibration, motions, and air quality data to improve city operations. Additionally, advances in networking, data center and cloud computing technologies along with artificial intelligence can help to take the same data and action-centric insight and foresight impacting traffic monitoring, noise pollution, city planning, insurance costs, emergency response, parking occupancy and many more facets that impact our daily lives.

We see that cities and communities are constantly under pressure from confined budgets and spending. It is not easy for finance officers who struggle to fund the upgrades that make their cities smart. In response, Cisco announced City Infrastructure Financing Acceleration Program in November 2017. It is a $1 billion program aimed to make it easier, faster, and more affordable for cities around the world to fund and adopt technologies that will transform their communities.

Approximately a year later, Digital Alpha has announced an investment into Quantela, a US-based company that has built an AI Urban Infrastructure Platform enabling city decision makers to optimize the use of our infrastructure assets. With the expansion of their presence in the US and Europe, the combined AI based offering coupled with financial support to smart city projects from Digital Alpha will help cities make informed data-driven decisions.

Quantela is packaging its AI platform along with Cisco’s world-leading data center and IOT technologies by offering it as a transaction model. This packaged offering will enable automated policy-based decisions for smart city services such as parking management, lighting management, traffic flow management, safety and security, waste management, environmental management etc. One such example is around waste management, in which cities will reduce expense in fuel and need for incremental vehicles required to pick up and dispose of waste through a pre-packaged solution that allows them to collect data from commercial bins and optimize routing vehicles based on the fill rates.

We will see a much larger benefit from these deployments over time with the “network effect” derived from the cumulative value. Cities can help learn from one another’s implementation of standard operating procedure, significantly enabling us to change the starting point of how we digitize our cities.

Cisco’s Smart+Connected Communities Program has allowed Cities to deploy a multi-service secure network platform along with Kinetic for Cities for several years. It has enabled communities to collect and integrate data from multiple sensors and sensor types. With this real-time data, city operators can construct working digital models of their communities. Additionally, Our open ecosystem program, with open APIs, local and global independent software vendors and city application developers can plug-in to the management infrastructure and provide several new and innovative urban services.

Over the last 15 years, there have been many options and variables to consider at the onset of a smart city transformation initiative. And we have been asked one question – are these solution deployments replicable? We are excited to see that a pre-packaged solution framework with Quantela’s Atlantis AI platform will allow for rapid deployment and help increase asset returns from the investment made by cities and communities. These offerings normally require financial heavy lifting. Digital Alpha can help in devising innovative funding models for progressive public-sector clients/cities. Business models can range from “utility-based” to “outcome-based” to “revenue sharing” depending on the scale and duration of the contracts.

I’m sure that the way you design your approach will be unique for your city, but you can now reduce risk of your deployment through the advancement made in technologies using AI and IOT.

If you are in Barcelona for the Smart City Expo World Congress (Nov. 13 – 15), come visit booth D461 and we’ll give you a tour, a demo and answer any questions you may have.

Hope to hear from you and see you soon!



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