Jim Nolan, EVP, IoT SolutionsSilverstone Racetrack hosts the UK leg of the Formula One Grand Prix, which saw a footfall of over 400,000 over a period of three days in July 2016. This typically jam-packed venue poses grave challenges to the local transport authorities: spectators arrive at the venue through multiple routes greatly straining traffic management systems. In an amazing feat, four UK local authorities, in conjunction with the UK’s highways agency and a number of other partners, are tackling these type of ‘roadblocks’ using the oneTRANSPORT initiative.
The overall premise is an intelligent transport data exchange that aggregates multiple data streams in an effort to better understand and optimize both traffic and user experience around it. Various sources of data include the volume of traffic, the speed of cars, parking lot occupancy, and signals from the entry/exit gates. The consolidated approach gives authorities the power to more efficiently manage and route the traffic, with real-time insights into the matrix. The backbone platform powering the oneTRANSPORT initiative is provided by InterDigital. “This is where our value proposition comes in—our ability to integrate, aggregate, and federate data from disparate sources, and make that data available to different application types that perform different functions,” says Jim Nolan, Executive Vice President, IoT Solutions at InterDigital.
InterDigital’s unique positioning as an expert in consolidating sporadic data points into a single environment has been an anchor point to the oneTRANSPORT initiative for almost two years now. InterDigital’s platform brought together close to 300 data sources containing at least 20 unique traffic data types and integrated them into a single platform accessible via a unified web interface. “Although individual IoT implementations may render some immediate benefits, cities simply accumulate complexities from multiple systems and lose the value in terms of data and insights— essentially the ‘bigger picture’—which can drive decisions in management, control, and usage of the assets,” says Nolan. “When we talk to new cities, they also find comfort in our ability to arrange discussions with local authorities who have gone through similar growing pains,” adds Vanja Subotic, Director of Product Management, IoT Solutions at InterDigital, “it is that experience, systems knowledge, and advisory aspects of deployments that make us stand out.”
The universal standards we work with overcome major drawbacks of proprietary technology: vendor lock-ins and lack of interoperability
While working toward the creation of smart cities, integration of new IoT systems with traditional legacy systems is another major agenda for government authorities. The future-proof architecture of InterDigital’s offering implies that the users can evolve their solutions. As Nolan explains, “Our scalable architecture allows integration of various systems and applications. Our standards-based approach works to overcome major drawbacks of proprietary technologies: vendor lock-ins and lack of interoperability.”
InterDigital couples this level of scalability with end-to-end solutions developed in collaboration with partners. For example, Nolan believes that security is a pervasive requirement. InterDigital’s solutions are designed with this in mind, but also coupled with strong security offerings from best-in-breed partners.
Apart from providing asset management efficiency for cities and enhanced quality of living for its residents, InterDigital’s proficiency drives another natural evolution for their clients: the concept of a data marketplace. InterDigital is currently working to enable counties to monetize their data by allowing multiple parties to both contribute and consume data. “The county, through a marketplace concept, can not only have their data protected and managed, but also sell that data to innovative application developers and other benefactors and get a revenue share,” summarizes Nolan.
With a strong mix of highly-educated research and development staff who constantly ideate, along with a team of world-class developers who roll up their sleeves to implement these ideas, InterDigital is, in fact, taking their vision of the “Living Network” to reality.