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The Era of Edgeless Computing - Part 9

Welcome to the ninth and final 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.

Welcoming strangers

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

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” – Tennessee Williams

A great city is one in which strangers come together in an environment full of hope, energy and enthusiasm. Welcoming strangers to a city is all about making them feel safe and part of the community. Welcoming data is just as important, giving it space to live and work with other data.

Smart cities use data to make life better. People, energy, water and waste all flow more easily, with fewer distractions and disruptions. Buildings and infrastructure are kept available when and where they are needed, adapting dynamically to changing conditions and events. People and assets are kept healthier for longer.

Data, like the people and things it represents, lives and thrives sustainably in a city under certain conditions:

You need all four. Miss out any one of these and the value is diminished. Ultimately, the importance of data lies in the action that it provokes. This is the world of Edgeless Computing.

The PlanIT Urban Operating System™ (UOS) is made for this world. It is a real-time data platform, collecting time-series and other data from multiple sources, making it accessible to high-level processing to create context and extract meaning. It operates simultaneously at building, neighborhood and city levels, balancing the needs of local decision-making with citywide awareness.

We have explored different facets of Edgeless Computing in the first eight articles in this series. About moving the processing towards the data (Part 1), seeing things change in real-time (Part 2), the value of simulation in managing change and risk (Part 3), and just how hard decision-making can be (Part 4). Also, detecting surprises in the data, a sure sign that things are about to change for the better or worse (Part 5). We have examined framing flow data with static (or slowly changing) information about the buildings, infrastructure and surrounding countryside (Part 6). And the critical importance of protecting the security and privacy of data and the physical things that it represents (Part 7). We have also discussed putting bacteria in a city to work, detecting and acting upon potential sources of waste and harm (Part 8).

Value comes in different forms to different people. But the essence is best use of time, space and money within manageable levels of risk. Time and resources are often wasted simply because supply and demand are not very well balanced, or the longer-term consequences of actions are not properly considered. Data, appropriately used, can help extract more utility and performance out of buildings and infrastructure. All this while keeping assets safe, reducing wear and tear and permitting them to interact more seamlessly with each other and the people that they were designed to support.

So, how does one go about building a smart city?

Think big, start small and scale fast. Cities are made up of neighborhoods that are partly self-sufficient, but also dependent upon adjacent neighbors, infrastructure and the environment. A neighborhood is bigger than a single building, but smaller than a whole city, and so probably the right place to start. The neighborhood might be a village or suburb, an urban business district, or even a large shopping mall, campus or airport.

A smart neighborhood uses data to help keep the traffic flowing, manage parking, stop the drains from overflowing and generally improve the performance and resilience of different aspects of local life. It also uses data to detect potential and actual deterioration of assets, services and the environment early enough so that action might be taken to minimize disruption and harm. It respects the privacy of those people who live, work and pass through the neighborhood, while learning a little about their needs and desires along the way in order to improve quality of life. Responsible and innovative use of data helps make the community progressively better.

People, energy, water and waste flow in and out of the neighborhood throughout the day, channeled by the streets, wires, and pipes. It is important that the data that expresses these dynamic influences on the neighborhood are also dealt with correctly.

The UOS, with its multi-node architecture and open standards, allows smart cities to be developed and scaled from the ground up. Whole neighborhoods and networks of neighborhoods can benefit from canny use of data, communications, processing and storage. And the UOS respects the four important conditions for sustainable use of data, giving scope for both immediate and long-term gains.

A lot of the data around our cities have been strangers to us for far too long. The time has come to welcome these strangers into our midst. And by making data accessible to many, in a secure and respectful way, we are tapping into the innovative spirit of many organizations and individuals who want to collaborate to make city life both safer and more exciting.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody” – Jane Jacobs

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