At CES 2019, Sprint announced plans to use their Curiosity IoT in Greenville, South Carolina. The announcement follows several years of Greenville IoT planning, which have focused on making the municipal area more connected, intelligent and efficient.
BOLD: The Future of Smart Cities
The future of smart cities may be BOLD: Big, Open, and Linked Data. This is true for Greenville, which attended a consortium of smart cities in New York City to ratify governance principles surrounding IoT. Greenville representatives signed the resulting agreement regarding the management and use of Industry 4.0 data.
These principles include promises that ensure equitable, responsible deployment of smart city tech, transparency about their data and maximized efficiency for the city. These principles will gather Big sets of data that represent and serve all their constituents, Open their data and applications to public scrutiny as well as common use and Link public data together to create cohesive plans.
Curiosity IoT in Greenville: MIMO, 5G and AI
Sprint’s recently announced IoT platform Curiosity relies on three key technologies to optimize smart cities: 5G, MIMO, and AI. Developed with Softbank’s Packet, Curiosity IoT is a type of “distributed” IoT network. Packet CEO Zachary Smith said, “[It] brings the network to the data, rather than the data to the network.” This distributed nature enables a smart city edge network, which speeds up processing and increases security. Moreover, it adds functionality at the edge, which makes devices more effective and delivers seamless automation.
Sprint’s primary tool to complement this architecture will be 5G connectivity, a form of cellular communication that carries a lot of information very quickly. Imagine 4G LTE cellular as a 6-lane highway at 55mph and 5G as a 10-lane highway at 70mph. The latter will handle rush hour with ease, whereas the first may have some stalling.
5G is essential for mobile communication between devices such as smart cars, intelligent drones and even IoT equipped mass transit. Frequent, fast motion does not work with Wi-Fi. Moreover, these mobile systems often transmit more information than LORAWAN can handle and have more time constraints than a satellite connection could meet.
5G works alongside Massive MIMO networks, which means massive Multi-Input-Multi-Output networks. These networks rely on higher frequency radio frequency bands and multiple transmission/reception branches equipped with several antennas. Massive MIMO networks take the fast 5G “cellular highway” and layer its capabilities, creating double-or-more decker highways. This creates even more speed capabilities for information traveling in the network. Furthermore, it increases the coverage area and quality of coverage within that area, which introduces more reliability.
The final key to Curiosity IoT will be partnering this strong network with machine-learning and other AI-enhanced automation. With the vast amount of data that must be collected, AI will prevent dark data accumulation. As AI systems sort intelligently through the information being collected by items — such as stoplights, smart vehicles or other IoT nodes — the results will create efficiencies in how these items are programmed to increase effectiveness. This sorting may involve combing through images from cameras, recognizing patterns in traffic or identifying areas of high use.
A smart Greenville involves a variety of intelligent systems and relationships that increase the “user friendliness” of the city; moreover, it will attract start-ups working on advanced AI, smart cars, robotics and other next gen computing pursuits. This user friendliness will include streamlining communication pathways for residents, such as delivering construction or traffic messages directly to cars or mobile devices. It will attract start-ups as innovators have access to networks that support their endeavors.
Along with the Curiosity IoT platform, Sprint is also deploying micro-positioning technology aimed at connecting smart machines and operating them in real time. This will primarily affect intelligent UAVs and infrastructure-to-smart machine communications. Micro-positioning enables location accuracy with cellular positioning at a millimeter distance, as opposed to the GPS 5-10m disparity. Drones will be able to deliver packages, or other shipments, right up to buildings and obey airspace patterns. It will also give command-and-control aspects precision accuracy, such as autonomous vehicles that can intelligently park in retrofitted smart garages.
Day-to-day, more typical IoT connections could be seen around the city, too. Stoplights and pedestrian walkway signs will be more responsive to patterns. Acoustic sensing for public safety monitoring will be part of automated, intelligent lighting systems. Smart mass transit could also develop in partnership with the SCTAC innovation campus. Primary goals of this partnership include having multi-modal smart transport, reducing emissions and the personal vehicle burden, and lowering city operational costs through automation.
Whether you’re a city official inspired by Greenville’s vision or a manufacturing leader hoping to revitalize your operations, Sealevel can help you #seasmart.
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