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The Era of Edgeless Computing - Part 2

Welcome to the second of a series of articles to introduce some of the most cutting edge thinking about new computing and network architectures, bringing new forms of machine intelligence to where both digital and biological events occur.

Living in real-time

By Peter van Manen, EVP, Research & Development of Living PlanIT

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” – Søren Kierkegaard

We live, breathe and think in real-time. We should accept nothing less in the data we use to make decisions and interventions in our world. The PlanIT Urban Operating System™ (UOS) is built upon this guiding principle.

I worked in Formula One for over 20 years, developing and deploying control and data systems. In 1993 we introduced the fastest ever telemetry system into the sport, transmitting 4Mbps of data from the cars. The problem was that around a third of this data was lost to multipath, data corruption caused when direct and reflected waves interfere with each other before they are received at the garage. On many circuits, such as Monza and Monaco, another third was lost to trees and buildings that just got in the way. We would send all the data again at the end of a lap, in a sudden burst as the car passed the pits, in order to provide a complete picture of what was going on. Not real-time though. A minute or so after it was really needed.

We solved the multipath problem 7 years later, with a better and more resilient modulation approach. We also dealt with the delay, using multi-burst: retransmitting data in the areas of good radio coverage around the track. This reduced the delay in getting a full data set, critical for good decision-making for car set up and strategy.

It was another decade before we realized our ambition of real-time high-rate telemetry data. Instead of a single antenna above the garage, we opted for between 7 and 10 antennas located around the track, interconnected by fiber. This gave us line-of-sight telemetry everywhere and truly live data. It was transformational. It unlocked the possibility of live analytics and simulation of engines, tires, fuel consumption and aerodynamic performance, which has become a cornerstone of strategy in the modern Formula One era. All the teams embraced this new era of real-time information with great urgency and enthusiasm. In a world in which time is the currency of success, this was a huge achievement.

Software used to make sense of the telemetry data is now embedded in the UOS. And although things don’t always happen quite as fast in a city as they do in Formula One, the benefits of acting quickly and surely to unfolding events is just as valuable.

We use the UOS in cities to help tame the diverse data created every day. Real-time data gives us immediate access to what is happening all around us. This reduces the risk of decision-making and interventions because we can quickly see how things are affected and we can modify our actions accordingly. Real-time data also creates the historical trail that can be used to characterize normal behavior and trends. This helps with forecasting what happens next, either by projecting trends forward or by adapting simulations on the fly to keep them true.

And by seeing the trends and how they are developing, we are better placed to see unexpected and surprising events early, often before they have the chance to cause widespread disruption or harm.

What is so special about the real-time software in the UOS?

Real-time software has been used in anger in Formula One since the start of the 2008 Formula One racing season. All the racing teams and engine manufacturers continue to use it every 2 weeks of the year between March and November.

Edgeless Computing pushes processing out towards the data that is needed for good decision-making. Operating in real-time enables those decisions to be made early enough to make a difference, and for the impact of interventions to be assessed as they begin to bite. By embracing real-time operation at its heart, the UOS both enables fast decision-making, and mitigates the risk associated with action.

Data is brought to life when it is live. It expresses the dynamic nature of people, traffic, energy and water as they move around streets and buildings.

It was a Monza test in which we introduced the new Formula One telemetry system. Monza is a circuit notoriously bad when it comes to coverage, with cars historically “disappearing” for over 30 seconds in the dense trees on either side of the long main straight. The engineers and drivers were immediately smitten and decided before the end of the first test session that it should race, and without delay.

Once you have tasted real-time there is no going back.

See more of this series of articles here...
Part 1 – Turtles all the way down
Part 2 – Living in real-time
Part 3 – Back to the future
Part 4 – Elephant in the room
Part 5 – Needle in a haystack
Part 6 – Tale of two cities
Part 7 – Need to know
Part 8 – Gut feeling
Part 9 – Welcoming strangers

About Living PlanIT

Living PlanIT is a technology company that created the world’s first Urban Operating System (UOS) which, in combination with the products it supports, unlocks the full potential of data to make cities better, safer and more vibrant places to live.

Living PlanIT has built an extensive partner network around the concept of a shared, unified approach to smart urban technology architecture in which machine intelligence moves ever closer to originating sources of data and control. We call this architecture PlanIT Edgeless Computing™ and it is implemented throughout the PlanIT Urban Operating System™, providing a framework for resilient and secure computer and systems architecture for digital and biological sensing, control, analytics, machine learning, applications and visualization techniques.

Living PlanIT asserts its rights to the following Trademarks: Living PlanIT™, PlanIT Edgeless Computing™, Edgeless Computing™, PlanIT Urban Operating System™, PlanIT UOS™, PlanIT OS™, PlanIT Crumbs™, PlanIT PlaceApps™, PlanIT Valley™, PlanIT Assurance™, PlanIT Labs™, PlanIT Retail™, PlanIT Life™. Any reference to these names in this content shall be considered as an assertion of these Trademarks. or follow us on Twitter @Living_PlanIT