Building Infrastructure for the Transportation of Tomorrow
insight.tech – Associate Editorial Director
EPIC iO – Chief Executive Officer
SECO – Chief Product Officer
Intel – General Manager, Cities and Transportation
(On screen: insight.tech logo intro slide introducing the webinar topic and panelists)
Christina Cardoza: Hello and welcome to the webinar on Building Infrastructure for the Transportation of Tomorrow. I’m your moderator Christina Cardoza, Associate Editorial Director of insight.tech, and here to talk more about this topic, we have Ken Mills from EPIC iO, Maurizio Caporali, from SECO, and Sameer Sharma from Intel.
So, before we jump into the conversation, I just want to get to know our guests a little bit more. Ken, I’ll start with you. What can you tell us about EPIC iO and your role there?
Ken Mills: I’m very excited to be here, thanks for having us. I am the CEO of EPIC iO, which is a combination of connectivity, AI, and IoT solutions that we bring together to help make the world a safer, smarter, more connected place.
Christina Cardoza: Great, and Ken, I’m interested, because last time we talked, you guys were IntelliSite, and so you’ve recently had a brand change to EPIC iO. So, I just want to discuss a little bit, what was the change before we talk a little bit more about the infrastructure for the future of transportation?
Ken Mills: Yes, great question. So, we were very fortunate to have combined through additional investments around connectivity, private LTE, private 5G, as well as our computer vision investments, multiple companies into EPIC iO. So, we created a rebrand to bring all of those entities together, all of the missions together, all around creating a safer, smarter, more connected world. So, we wanted to transform internally, as well as transform externally, so we rallied under a new brand EPIC iO, and we’re very excited about it because we use the hashtag #EPIC for a lot of different things, which is a great hashtag.
Christina Cardoza: And Maurizio from SECO, welcome to the show. What can you tell us more about yourself and the company?
Maurizio Caporali: Hi, everyone. I am Chief Product Officer at SECO. I am involved in the activity of service and application design on top of electronics and hardware embedded, in particular for service development based on AI and UT, to enable new application or new services in the field of industrial devices.
Christina Cardoza: Great and last, but not least, Sameer from Intel, please tell us more about yourself.
Sameer Sharma: Hi, folks. I’m Sameer Sharma. I’m the Global General Manager for Smart Cities and Intelligent Transportation at Intel. What that means is my team has the responsibility to pull together all the investments Intel is making in technology, everything from AGI and computer vision, to network connectivity for things like private 5G as well as public 5G, all the way to the cloud part of an end-to-end solution, and make sure that our partners like EPIC iO, as well as SECO, have the best of what Intel has to offer in their end-to-end solution formation.
Christina Cardoza: Great to have you guys all joining us today. Let’s just take a quick look at the agenda.
(On screen: Webinar agenda with image of city roadways)
Today we’re going to be talking about what we mean by smarter, safer, and more connected roads, how sustainability plays a part in this, the infrastructure, tools, technologies necessary to support Smart City traffic management, and then what we can expect in the future. So, let’s get started.
(On screen: Safer, Smarter and Connected Roads slide with illustration of data points over roadways)
Making cities smarter and more sustainable, it’s been a big trend over the last few years, and there’s multiple different ways communities have been going about this. For this webinar, I want to focus on the traffic management aspect of this, and Ken, I would love to have you kick off our conversation today, if you could give us an overview of the state of traffic management, how it is evolving, and how it should continue to evolve.
Ken Mills: Traffic management is an interesting state today because if you think about COVID, and its far-reaching impacts on every part of our lives, traffic is no exception to that rule. We know that traffic patterns today have changed drastically, with a lot of people working at home, different shifts, different dynamics, some people full-time, some people hybrid, some people doing virtual across all of their different workplaces. It completely changed how people move about cities, and how they go from place to place, and how traffic plays a role. So, all of the data that exists to pre-COVID is really no longer valid because traffic patterns are completely changed. So, we’re in this new world of what does post-COVID traffic look like, and how do we optimize around this post-COVID traffic? You combine that with the growth of the future of autonomous vehicles, you combine that with the change in needs in infrastructure across the globe, and people moving back to urban environments, all of these things have compounded the need for communities to really rethink and reevaluate how they are deploying their smart traffic solutions.
Christina Cardoza: Absolutely, and I love how you bring up the community changes in relation to COVID, how things have changed, and why that’s having an impact on city and traffic management patterns. But there’s also, I think, some government and regulation pressures coming that is also dictating a little bit of these changes. So, Sameer, I’m wondering if you can expand on some ongoing global efforts of government regulations to improve Smart City traffic management?
Sameer Sharma: Absolutely, Christina. I think Ken laid out the current state of affairs very well. There is both a pressure to fix what’s broken, but also a lot of encouragement from the governments around the world to improve the state of our traffic infrastructure. So, let’s focus on the US for a moment.
In 2021, we had more than 42,000 road fatalities. The expectation was that with less traffic post-COVID, this number should go down, but it went in the opposite direction, and that’s disheartening and very concerning for a couple of reasons. First of all, we’ve been pursuing this idea of Vision Zero, the idea that even one traffic-related fatality is one too much. So, we need to get down to zero deaths, absolutely no accidents that result in somebody losing their life. Yet, despite all those efforts, the numbers are actually heading in the opposite direction. So, I think that’s where the governments are stepping in and saying we need to do a better job figuring out why that is happening, getting to the heart of the cause, and fixing it. But there is a positive side to the government involvement as well.
If you look globally, there is a lot of investment happening in infrastructure. In the US, we hear about the Infrastructure and Jobs Act, which is about $1.2 trillion of investment, about half of that is transportation. Now, it goes into the different modes of transportation, traffic management, board operation, better airports, bridges, and in general overall infrastructure, but still, that’s a massive amount of funding, but this is by no means unique to the US. China has been investing in its infrastructure for decades now. Their forward-looking spending is about $2.5 trillion. In India, there is a program called Gati Shakti, which loosely translates into the power of speed. It’s a play on words, what it means is that they want to put a lot of infrastructure in place to help people and goods move quickly, and they want to do this exercise quite quickly so that the infrastructure upgrade is happening at a very fast pace. In Europe, we have something called Common European Fund, which is about $900 billion worth of investment.
To give you a couple of data points on how this is spurring a completely different level of infrastructure revitalization, I talked about the investment in India, the National Highway Authority of India is overseeing construction of roughly 30 kilometers of highway every day. This is new highway been laid out every day. We have not seen this level of investment for decades. I think in the US, the last time we saw something like this was likely in the 1950s when the Federal Highway Act was passed, that spurred the creation of the entire interstate highway system in the US.
So, now bringing it back to what it means, I think it’s both a responsibility and an opportunity for the ecosystem to step up and start thinking about, hey, this physical infrastructure of the past has to be looked at as physical plus digital infrastructure if you think about what it means going forward. If you don’t do that – and I’ll share some more examples in the conversation as we go along. If we don’t do that, I think we’ll be making a huge mistake in how this massive amount of public funding is deployed.
So, with that, I’ll turn it back to you, and then we will cover more of these details as we go along.
Christina Cardoza: Yes, absolutely, and we’ll get into how the infrastructure is changing, and the tools and technologies making it possible. But in addition to the safety aspect, and making sure that roads are clear and safe, and that we’re collecting all those data, there’s also a big sustainability aspect in all of this.
(On screen: Driving Toward Sustainability slide with image of electric vechile being charged)
And I think the rise of electric vehicles, that’s one of the biggest things happening in Smart City management, especially as a way to hit some of those sustainability goals. So, Maurizio, I’m wondering if you can talk about the role of the smart electric vehicle adoption and how this factors into this conversation today?
Maurizio Caporali: Yes, electric vehicles is actually a very important point for building sustainability and for the Smart Cities, and for communities that live in these cities. It’s very important from this point of view, the infrastructure part, as mentioned by Sameer. The important aspect is that the electric vehicle change changed the way to think of service and infrastructure. The electric vehicles are very connected, very powerful vehicles with many sensors, with the potentiality to manage data and information. And this is very important for the city infrastructure, and also to define new kinds of services.
To help these, there are different kinds of technology inside the city that can be defined by sensor distribution inside the cities, not only also on the infrastructure point of view, the possibility to change the way of charging the vehicle or to have other kinds of information on services related on parking, on traffic management. On the way of EV charging, it’s very important to define solutions that are very flexible, and that respect, also, the participation of citizens on specific services and applications.
For this, it’s very important to define the application on top of EV charging to have a solution that is not only like the actual fuel-gasoline or something to enable the car, but also to give more information, to add different kinds of services, also to change, in this specific aspect, some business models regarding the mobility. Mobility will change a lot, will change a lot to thanks to this solution, to the intelligence on the Edge, to the potentiality of the electric vehicles, not only also in electric vehicle charging stations, where the electric vehicle charging stations can take many information regarding parking aspects, regarding the current status, and also regarding the traffic management, the traffic status. This is a very interesting point where it’s possible to define new services and new applications.
Christina Cardoza: Let’s talk a little bit more about the infrastructure that you mentioned. Electric vehicles, they haven’t hit mainstream adoption just yet. So, what does a city need to do to prepare? How important or what does it take to set up that electrical vehicle charging infrastructure to help make this more mainstream and help increase adoption?
Maurizio Caporali: Yes, as probably everybody knows, the electric vehicles, or the charging of electric vehicles is a complex task in the sense that you need a long time to charge completely a car. There are many technologies that can help to optimize this, like a fast-charging system. In this case, intelligence inside the fast charger inside the EV charging is very important. This is an important aspect that we can solve thanks to our technology, thanks to Intel technology to optimize the conversion of energy, and not only this, also to optimize the solution and application and service related on the optimization of charging for parking, to have information regarding the enabled infrastructure, where it’s possible to charge the car in the right way, to receive also the information directly in the car with the open standards, with completing their connectivity solution. That can be enabled by different kinds of wireless connectivity between cars and infrastructure, and in some ways, machine-to-machine infrastructure. Not only this can go in the direction also of human-to-machine interaction thanks to different kinds of applications and solutions that can permit the citizen to have control all of the information of the street, of the road, and the status of traffic, and also the possibility to charge in an optimized way the car, and to have an overview of the city’s status.
Christina Cardoza: So, it sounds like there’s a lot of sensors and connectivity that needs to go into this to make it possible and to make it beneficial for Smart City management as well, and so I want to take a look at the infrastructure as a whole, and how things like electrical vehicle charging and traffic management data patterns, how this all connects together.
(On screen: Building the Infrastrucutre slide with imafge of cars driving on highways)
Ken, I’m wondering if you can talk about the type of investments that need to be made in the traffic and road infrastructure to include electrical vehicles and all the data that you mentioned, and to actually reach the benefits of smart traffic management that we’re talking about today.
Ken Mills: Yes, the challenge exists not just at the intersection, but all the way down to the highway. Think about electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure. What happens if your vehicle runs out of charge on the highway? Typically, states will send vehicles out there with gas, give you a little bit of gas, help you get to a gas station, get filled up. How do you do that with electric vehicles? So, cities and states and communities are thinking about how do we take electrical charging to vehicles in emergencies, or in situations where maybe they just ran out charge, maybe didn’t plan their trip correctly. So, infrastructure extends beyond the intersection all the way out to the full interstate ecosystem and beyond.
So, one of the things that we’re seeing from communities as a whole is moving from point-in-time datasets to real-time datasets. So, if you think about a lot of the traffic studies that have been done historically, they go to intersection to intersection, maybe roll out the famous cable that people run over and understand what kind of utilization rate is going on at that point in time. It might be done on a quarterly basis, it might be done on an annual basis, but the world is changing so fast, and how we use our roads are changing so fast, that we need to move away from these point-in-time solutions to more real-time datasets, and computer vision, powered by Intel at the Edge, is one of the best ways that we do this currently, by leveraging OpenVINO stack at the Edge. At the intersection, we can give communities real-time analysis of what the utilization rate is, by what type of vehicle, pedestrian utilization, wheelchair utilization, how long does it take people to get across intersections, how many people are actually using those scooters that you see everywhere downtown, how many people are in multi-person vehicles, how many big trucks are coming through the intersection, how do you do real-time route planning, real-time response to traffic, and then combining that with sensors is also becoming super important.
So, understanding what the impacts of air quality are at individual intersections based on the type of traffic coming through the intersection, so back to that sustainability conversation we had earlier, as well as really interacting with people. Distracted drivers are a huge issue with people looking at their phones, looking at their screens, not paying attention to where they should be, but it’s also distracted pedestrians. People are looking at their phones as they walk through the crosswalk, and they’re not paying attention that there might be a vehicle coming in or coming towards them at a high rate of speed. So, using computer vision and traffic technology to alert both the driver when you get to machine-to-machine, as well as the person crossing the road, that there might be a situation where they could get hurt. Unfortunately, we had a pedestrian fatality not too far down the road from Intel just a few days ago, where you had a distracted driver situation and someone hit in an intersection and a fatality occurred. The more that we can provide technology to communicate to both ends of that spectrum, the better chance we will have in reducing that pedestrian risk and that pedestrian fatality, and get to that Vision Zero that Sameer talked about.
Christina Cardoza: Yes, I hate hearing stories like that, but it’s good to see efforts like this trying to prevent situations like that from happening, and we mentioned in the beginning how there was a need to change the data patterns that we’re looking at, and we talked about computer vision, how this technology is going into that. But I’m wondering about the underlying infrastructure and technology, is there anything new that needs to be added to this, or how do we utilize the existing infrastructure that we do have? So, Sameer, can you talk a little bit more about the necessary technology components to really be successful in this?
Sameer Sharma: I think Ken articulated very well how computer vision has become a very fundamental and critical technology in implementing these use cases by being our sensor to understand what’s happening around us. But if you take a step back, if you look at traffic intersections globally, we’ve got just under a million traffic intersections, and these intersections tend to be both the choke point and the number one place where fatalities tend to happen. Not surprisingly, it’s very intuitive, traffic intersection is where cars are heading in different directions, pedestrians and vehicles are hopefully interacting in a smooth manner, but that’s where the possibility of an incident is the highest.
In addition to what Ken described, I think there is an existing opportunity to connect both the sensing part and the control part at the traffic intersection. Let me expand on that. Today you literally have two different systems. You’ve got roadside units and roadside equipment, which may be sensing what’s going on using cameras. The primary use cases today are, is somebody jumping the red light, is traffic congestion starting to happen, just basic fundamental analytics. And then you have a second system, which is controlling the red light, green light timings at an intersection. Now, on average for a US intersection, these timings are adjusted, based on the studies Ken described, once every seven years. Ideally, they should be done once every six months, and preferably, they should be done real-time. We have everything we need, the control system, the sensing system, right there at an intersection, we just need to glue them together, and that’s where I think the combination of compute capabilities like computer vision, but also connectivity, whether it’s today, it could be an LTE, tomorrow it could be public 5G, that allows us to connect all these capabilities to each other, but also to the cloud to do real-time analytics. Batch analytics in the cloud, real-time analytics at the Edge becomes critical.
The second thing, your question was about forward-looking view. Today’s computer vision, I think we’re seeing increased adoption of capabilities like LiDAR and RADAR, creating what we call sensor fusion capability at the Edge. That’s giving us even more fault-tolerant data on what’s actually going on at the intersection. So, I think there’s a ton of such innovations that’s already available today, and a ton more coming our way.
The final thing I want to add to this is C-V2X I think will be a very critical technology. It’s going to take some time to happen, and C-V2X refers to the fact that vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to understand what’s going on, and intelligently interpret and adjust the overall traffic flow is going to become the default way of operating in the future.
Before I wrap up, there’s something I want to share, extend… say to extend something that Maurizio talked about on the EV charging side. I’m part of what is called the MIT Mobility Initiative, and Professor Sadoway challenged us in one of the sessions we had on rethinking about the EV charging infrastructure, and his statement was quite provocative, which I’m happy to share with the audience here. He said, do you think when you fill gasoline into your car, that pump is directly connected to the refinery? And that made us rethink how EV charging and the ability to charge needs to be a bit more distributed than the current model of everything taps into the electric grid all at the same time, versus having a more distributed system that doesn’t put all this load on the electric grid when at 5:00 p.m. people come back and they all start charging, and so to manage supply matching using the distributed model will be another interesting thing to look at, as we look towards the future.
Christina Cardoza: Absolutely, and I can definitely see the benefits and why these changes need to happen now. But Maurizio, I’m wondering, as we’re making these changes, as new technology comes available, I think there’s always a concern as are these changes going to support us into the future. Is building out the electric vehicle infrastructure going to be relevant in a couple of years? So, I’m wondering if you can expand on how we can ensure the changes we make today really benefit the transformation landscape of tomorrow.
Maurizio Caporali: Yes, more in general, the important aspect regarding this is the flexibility and the power of the Edge devices. This can be related on EV charging, but also can be related on specific Edge devices for traffic management or status in the Smart City for different kinds of applications. In the same way what happened in the last period from an electronics point of view is the important change that is done by the power of the chip, the less consumption, and the possibility to perform a real-time analysis from different kinds of sources. This is very important, and also for EV charging, you have a set of input devices that is cameras, ambient sensors, that is microphones, and output display, audio, et cetera. This technology can help to manage all the sensors and all the information there are in the physical space, and the final new kind of service. But it’s something very similar to what happened on the actual smartphone, because we have CPU, GPU, and AI chip integrators, and the possibility to analyze a big quantity of data to define a new application. On the same way, also, for EV charging, the future could be the possibility to have an application that will change during the time, the possibility to define a new application and new services that can be deployed in a specific part of the city, for example, for a specific event and the specific – there is an event in the stadium and there is the possibility to update the EV charger nearby the stadium with different kinds of services and different kinds of applications that can appear on the display, or directly the application to manage the device.
This, for me, is a very important, key point for the future of the system, because it’s something that changes during the time. It’s not a device that has a specific functionality, and this functionality will stay the same during the time. Also, this functionality can be changed, respect the data that are acquired in the physical space. This is another important aspect because we can change the way to approach the EV charger or the infrastructure, the specific city infrastructure, respect the data that are taken during the time, and this can change the way to interact with the end user, and this could be one of the key points for the future.
Christina Cardoza: So, I love hearing all the changes in the technology necessary to go into all of this, but one of my favorite things in talking about this is learning how this is actually being put into practice.
(On screen: Paving the Way to Smart City Traffic Management with image of a road being paved)
So, I would love to hear, Maurizio and Ken, if you have any case studies or customer examples you can share of how they’re implementing your technology, what the benefits have been, and how you continue to work with them. So, Ken, I’ll start with you on that one.
Ken Mills: I’ll give you two good examples. One, Sameer talked about that vehicle-to-infrastructure communication opportunity. We were very fortunate to work with the City of Sacramento and Verizon on one of the first ultra-wideband 5G examples of this in the real world. So, what the City of Sacramento did to really help impact Vision Zero is build, from what I’m aware, one of the first early solutions where the traffic signal through computer vision cameras would identify vehicles coming into an intersection, identify pedestrians crossing the intersection, and if they saw a situation that could be at risk, would actually communicate to the vehicle directly through ultra-wideband communication to get that very quick, almost near real-time communication tp the vehicle to, hey, you need to stop because you’re about to intersect with a person and potentially cause a pedestrian fatality. So, that was a great example of taking connectivity, sensor data, computer vision, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication to deliver a very meaningful outcome. Now, that was only across the city vehicles, think about how that would impact the entire community if it went across all vehicles, which is where I think the future is going.
Another example is bringing that sustainability aspect into it. So, we worked with another city, the City of East Point, where they were looking at their infrastructure as a whole from a safety, traffic utilization, pedestrian utilization, but they also wanted to know what the air quality implications were at their intersections, and air quality data by itself at the intersections was interesting, but it didn’t really tell them why they’re having an air quality situation where it’s going worse or better. Tying that to computer vision at the intersections, you can then get real context as to what actually is happening at the intersection, what’s actually driving that negative change in air quality. Is it a large congestion of semi-trucks, is it a large congestion of traffic that’s different than you expected, back to those seven-year studies that Sameer talked about? How do you get real-time data and maybe divert trucks to a different path based on what impact it’s having on air quality in the community around those intersections?
So, these are things that cities are starting to think about, and starting to deploy, that can have really meaningful impacts for their constituents, and really change how people move about and interact with their intersections and infrastructure, and get even more benefit from them.
Christina Cardoza: Yes, I love that example, because it’s not – this technology is not just solving one thing. It’s not just solving the pedestrian safety or traffic management issues. It’s solving air quality. These things are all connected together and it’s finding, like you guys have all mentioned, the right tools and flexibility to be able to collect all this data, make sense of it, and then make actionable insights and decisions. Maurizio, did you have any customer examples or use cases you could share?
Maurizio Caporali: Yes, sure. One of the main important examples for our customers is the possibility for first to manage the status of the device remotely, in some way with respect to the service team with the possibility to analyze and to have information about all the devices. There are thousands of devices that are distributed geographically, and this is a very important aspect because it gives the opportunity to the service to have all the information, all the data directly remotely, and to also have specific AI algorithm and classification models that can help the team to take decisions in a fast way, in a simple way. And this is very appreciated by the customers because for a reduction of cost in some way different – from a different level. Also, with the possibility to go in the analysis to update the machine remotely and to solve the problem directly, or on the other end, to give the… In a rapid additive way to give the solution for a specific problem for the device.
Another important aspect is related on the possibility to update some specific… some specific application information. For example, the price for EV charging is possible to manage the pricing for different zones, from different geographical zones, or for the changes during the time period of the years, is possible to do this immediately. Not only in… by the service team, but also in an automatical way thanks to the possibility to connect with all different kinds of sources that came from the system and the fleet of devices on how to change the pricing, and this is also a very impactful service.
Christina Cardoza: Hearing some of these examples, one thing that comes to mind is it’s not even one company that’s doing this alone. It really takes partnership and collaboration with others to be successful in this Smart City management. Smart Cities are huge communities sometimes and there’s a lot going on, so it makes sense that there would be a lot of players in this, and Intel I know does a really great job of involving the ecosystem and working with partners. So, Sameer, I’m wondering if you can touch on the importance of working with others to make all of this possible.
Sameer Sharma: I would say I would qualify this as not just important but fundamentally critical, this idea that there needs to be a thriving ecosystem to make it all happen. And I’ll look at it from a couple of angles. The first is a partnership with ISPs, ODMs, OEMs, telcos, ODSIs, and so on, so forth, because this stuff is too important and too big for one or even a small group of companies to work together and implement everything. And certainly, I think, for me, the definition of our team’s success is simply our partners’ success. So, when Ken, when Maurizio come here and talk about the Intel platform, leveraging OpenVINO, the computer vision capabilities, the connectivity, to me that’s the definition of my success, to have them say that the work Intel is doing is helping them, is making life easier for them, is helping them deploy their solutions quicker, faster, at scale.
But there’s another angle to partnership, which is public-private partnerships. I mean, we touched on it a little bit, the government angle. I think it’s very, very important that both on the government side, as well as the private sector side, people reach out and build more bridges to understand how the government can facilitate, can be an enabler, whether it’s establishing standards, making infrastructure investments, or in general, simplifying the regulatory landscape to help the deployments happen faster. I’ll give you a simple example.
We partnered with the US DoD in the US, here in Virginia, and then also partnered with the local transportation agencies in Turin in Italy, for the world’s first multi-telco, multi-OEM trial of a smart intersection, and the idea was that irrespective of where your connectivity is coming from, because in most countries there are multiple telcos providing connectivity, you will be able to enable that safety use case that Ken touched on a little bit. So, I think public-private partnerships as well as a thriving ecosystem, both of those are absolutely critical, and if I take a step back the work we’re doing is about technology, it’s about things like revenue and margins, because that’s how companies run, but there is something more fundamental and more appealing in the work we’re doing. This work is going to touch virtually every citizen on this planet in terms of improving their lives, and to me, that’s the very definition of a partnership and the impact that partnership can have.
Christina Cardoza: Great, and Maurizio and Ken, you mentioned a little bit throughout the conversation how you’ve been working with Intel, and some partnerships that you’ve had. So, I’m just wondering if there’s anything you wanted to add about the value of your relationship with Intel or the partnerships you are working on throughout the ecosystem. Maurizio, I’ll let you start with that one.
Maurizio Caporali: Yes, the main aspect related to Intel is that Intel is an ecosystem of technology solutions. This is very important for us because it is extremely flexible from an electronic point of view. And on the other hand, also, from a software point of view. Our R&D works together with Intel for electronic parts, and also software R&D work on OpenVINO frameworks on the defining of examples and models that Ken and Intel give us. On the other hand, we have the possibility to re-design a solution to work together with Intel, and also to have very good support regarding this.
Another important aspect is the flexibility of this solution, of Intel’s solution, because we go from different kinds of projects that can be applied to our customer needs, and also with different levels of acceleration for AI, inference, with the possibility to adopt specific AI acceleration based on the Intel ARBOR that is very optimized and very good for our application. In this way, there is on top of these the possibility to collaborate on a specific service and define a specific vision for new products and new applications.
Christina Cardoza: Great, and since the power of partnerships are fundamental, like Sameer mentioned, Ken, is there anything you wanted to expand on about your work with Intel or other partners in the ecosystem?
Ken Mills: Yes, I’ll echo the flexibility. I mean, in this supply chain challenge that we’ve had, it’s a nice way to put it, it’s been great to be able to leverage the large ecosystem of partners that Intel has to be able to ensure that we can get the Edge compute infrastructure necessary for our customers so that they can deploy their solutions as quickly as possible on their timeline, versus being dependent on extended, unreasonable supply chain timelines that have hit a large part of the technology industry. So, that flexibility has allowed us to adapt and not have a situation where we couldn’t meet customer demand. So, that’s really been super important to us from a business perspective.
On the technology side, being able to leverage CPU with OpenVINO, and then extend that to the Intel GPU aspect, and seamlessly move the workload between the CPU and GPU, and really be able to optimize around when we need a CPU, when we need a GPU, when we need both, has really given us a technology, again, advantage and flexibility that allows us to maximize the Edge, take advantage of a MEC, take advantage of the data center, maybe a private cloud, public cloud infrastructure, without having to refactor our inferencing platform to move between different inferencing stacks. So, being able to have a consistent set of APIs, a consistent technology integration to the Intel set, has really made it easier for us to deploy solutions where and when customers need them. So, flexibility, choice, and adaptability have been the big benefits of our partnership with Intel.
(On screen: The Future of Transportation slide with illustration of data points over highways)
Well, this has been a great conversation, guys. Unfortunately, we are nearing the end of our time, but before we go, I just want to give a chance to throw it back to each one of you to talk about any short-term or long-term changes we can expect where this is all going in the future, as well as any final key takeaways or thoughts you want to leave our attendees with today. Sameer, I’ll start with you.
Sameer Sharma: Well, I would say, look, I mean, in the last 40 minutes, you heard both from Maurizio and Ken how we are working together to not just predict the future, but to build it together, and I think that to me is the very definition of taking on responsibility on behalf of the society, the community. We’re not here just to create a profitable business. We are here to create solutions that impact everyone’s lives.
So, when I see this partnership, it makes me very, very bullish and hopeful for the future. We have challenges in front of us, and I think in face of those challenges, we can either throw our hands up in despair, or we can say these challenges are our challenges, we own them, and we own solving them, and I think what I see happening in the ecosystem is that desire to come together, to work together. And my final hope is that the work we do will benefit multiple generations. I love it when my son, when I’m dropping him to the school, he’s constantly asking me, dad, you keep talking about these smart intersections, yet here we are waiting, staring at a red line, and the other side, like the other lane is green, and when is that all going to happen? And I love that impatience, I love that desire to see the impact here and now, that should hopefully spur all of us to work together even more faster, at scale, to make this a reality.
Christina Cardoza: Absolutely. Maurizio, are there any final thoughts, key takeaways, or predictions for the future you want to leave us with?
Maurizio Caporali: The important aspect I think for the future is the possibility to define specific service applications thanks to the intelligence on the Edge with the possibility to have lots of data that can be analyzed, and can be transforming a service, that can be a… can be a service for citizens, and all the users, the end users. There are parts of the cities to give some different kinds of sustainability also for energy, but also for their lives.
And Ken, since you kicked off the conversation, I’ll let you wrap it up for us. Any final thoughts, predictions, or anything else you want to leave us with today?
Ken Mills: No, no pressure. I’m just really bullish, as Sameer talked about, all this technology coming together in a meaningful way, at critical mass, across all communities globally so that we can actually get to that point where we’re saying, we’ve solved the problem of pedestrian fatalities, we’ve gotten to Vision Zero, and we’ve reduced the number of lives impacted by these needless intersection traffic incidents that not only affect the person that was hit, but also impacts at least one other person, often cases multiple people, whose lives are changed in a very profound, negative way, and if we can work together to solve that, reduce that, and truly get that to zero, that will be amazing, and I’ll be very excited about that, and I do see that trend in the next five years starting to go the other direction in a meaningful way, and I’m very excited that we get to play a role in that.
Christina Cardoza: Well, with that, I just want to thank you all for joining the webinar and for the insightful conversation, and thank you for our audience for listening in. If you want to learn more about Smart City traffic management, please visit the insight.tech website. We have a ton more podcasts and articles for you to look at on this topic, as well as please visit the Intel, SECO, and EPIC iO websites to see more about what they’re doing in this space. Until next time, I’m Christina Cardoza with insight.tech.
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