connected cars

Emerging Futures: Connected Cars and their Impact on our Cities

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The term “connected car” is often mistakenly seen as synonymous with “autonomous car”. This is wrong: while most autonomous cars are “connected”. A connected car is not inherently autonomous. So what exactly is a connected car? Standard definitions tend to define it like a normal car that has been made “smart” through the Internet of Things (IoT).

If the Internet of Things is a set of physical objects embedded with sensors and/or actuators and connected together through a network, then a connected car is one of these physical objects embedded with intelligence and sensing capabilities through low-cost sensors, low-power, high-capacity processors, cloud computing, and wired and wireless connectivity. Connected vehicles are able to optimize their own operations and maintenance as well as the convenience and comfort of passengers using onboard sensors and internet connectivity.

A 2016 report by Gartner suggested that connected car production would increase rapidly over the next 5 years. In 2018 we see this prediction becoming a reality, with the total number of connected cars and trucks likely to reach around 220 million by 2020.

When you Google search “connected car”, most of what comes up is about commercial IoT – in other words, how connected cars will change the lives of the individuals who own them.

However, connected cars also offer possibilities in terms of smart urban traffic and parking management, and incident and security monitoring and response. They can help city leaders to comprehensively manage all car-related operations across urban districts – particularly through the capacity of connected cars to “talk” to statically connected infrastructure through V2X (“vehicle-to-everything”) communications systems.

By gathering data from all the connected cars on the road – such as weather data, surface conditions, traffic conditions etc. – transportation authorities can analyze and share information about road conditions with connected vehicles, creating more efficient traffic flows, reducing congestion and emissions, and preventing accidents. In this article, we will examine how connected cars are providing alternative ways for city leaders to improve their operations and make urban roads safer and more efficient.

Parking Management

The average time spent looking for on-street parking is approximately 10-15 minutes. According to a recent study by San Francisco City Council, vehicles circling the city looking for somewhere to park makeup roughly one-third of weekday traffic. This means that a lot of inner-city traffic could be reduced if people were able to find parking spaces more easily, presenting city and parking operators with a pressing need to facilitate parking space availability and “findability” – not only for the sake of cutting carbon emissions but also in order to improve quality of life for urban residents.

Parking fraud management is currently difficult for city operators, who have limited resources and often rely on unreliable, costly manual readings. For this reason, smart parking solutions are increasingly being taken up by public and private sector parking operators worldwide. There is a real need for a more streamlined, comprehensive solution to both parking space availability and parking fraud. Connected cars are integral to smart parking solutions because they can act both as moving sensors, detecting parking occupancy across the city, and also as devices that allow drivers to find a parking space more easily. Volkswagen, for example, has launched a pilot project using the existing ultrasonic proximity sensors used by cars for parking to assess the availability of free parking spaces on the side of the road when the car drives along a street. This data is transmitted and uploaded in real-time and matched against map data to eliminate false positives (for example if the parking space is only for disabled people or permit-holders).

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Bosch’s community-based parking solution (photo courtesy of Bosch)

Similarly, Bosch has come up with the “community-based parking” solution through which, via sensors and connectivity hardware, cars can identify available spaces themselves as they drive past. Drivers looking for parking benefit from the data acquired by the “community” – in other words, the other connected cars using Bosch’s smart parking solution – and can be guided to available spaces using the information displayed to them in real time. This saves drivers a lot of wasted time and cuts down on inner-city traffic – and carbon emissions – in the process. Bosch’s solution is particularly useful because it can accommodate the requirements of individual drivers, with a filtering feature allowing drivers to preselect criteria such as parking space size or availability of electric charging stations.

As such, connected cars serve two crucial functions: they can both gather and transmit data that automakers, city leaders, and parking operators can use to better manage traffic and parking around the city, and allow vehicle-users to make evidence-based decisions about where they will park, or the route they will take, through real-time data aggregation and sharing.

Traffic Monitoring

If all cars are one day connected, they will theoretically offer city leaders a comprehensive overview of all traffic in the city, serving as moving “sensors” who report real-time data to a central server. Even with the limited (but growing) number of connected cars out there, city operators can already begin to capitalize on their integrated navigation systems. These systems combine geospatial data with real-time traffic information to help the vehicle find its end destination. They primarily rely on global positioning systems (GPS) receivers, which receive signals from multiple satellites in order to calculate a vehicle’s position (with a 10-meter accuracy).

The reliability of these systems is only likely to improve with time, as researchers create highly precise GPS tracking methods and systems that can capitalize on existing signals, such as cellular and Wi-Fi.

These systems use these tracking methods to automatically reroute a car around traffic jams – offering drivers information about weather, parking, and other points of interest on the road. As such, if connected to a central traffic and congestion management system, they give city operators the opportunity to redirect and redistribute traffic, preventing congestion from building up in certain parts of the city and at certain times of the day. The parking management capabilities of connected cars also help with this.

Incident Management

Connected cars are less likely to be involved in accidents because they contain diagnostics systems, which allow for predictive maintenance of the vehicle. They also tend to have blind-spot detection systems, which again help to prevent collisions. In addition, in most connected cars, V2X systems convey important information to the driver about road conditions, such as accidents or oncoming ambulances or police cars. Emergency vehicle warnings are particularly useful as it can often be difficult for drivers to move out of the way of first responder vehicles, particularly at risky intersections where oncoming traffic is unaware of the emergency vehicle. Several cities— for example, Palo Alto—are already working with the company HAAS Alert to alert drivers in real time about upcoming ambulances, police cars, and fire trucks through V2V communications. These systems can send automatic warnings to cars, letting the driver know that an emergency vehicle is behind them and that they should move over.

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GM’s OnStar Crash Response (photo courtesy of GM)

Connected vehicles also help with crash responses. Some connected cars have crash response systems, such as GM’s OnStar, which contain built-in sensors that can predict the severity of injuries from the crash and direct emergency services in the right direction in the event of an accident. Moreover, other connected car services, such as smartphone apps (see SOSmart and CamOnRoad) use smartphone sensors and past crash data to detect when a car is in an accident, find nearby hospitals, and notify authorities. Many automakers are also now including electronic data recorders (EDR)—also known as “black boxes”, like those in planes— in their connected cars. These boxes record information about the vehicle and driver behavior during an accident – for instance, car speed, whether braking occurred, and whether the people in the car were wearing seatbelts. These technologies will probably all eventually be used in conjunction with each other, perhaps as part of an overarching V2X communications system, warning drivers of approaching accidents, potential collisions, upcoming traffic, dangerous road conditions, and other dangers. We are also likely to reach a place fairly soon where connected cars will call emergency services automatically in the event of an accident.

Connected cars can also be linked to roadside assistance applications, which quickly connect drivers to the nearest available tow truck. For example, Urgent.ly and Honk offer on-demand roadside assistance services, using systems which locate the driver and the nearest facility or vehicle assistance truck, often charging based on distance. Where Honk only offers connectivity through drivers’ smartphones, Urgent.ly has just been integrated into some connected car platforms – such as AT&T’s systems. This kind of integration is likely to happen more and more in the future.

Security Management

In the past, if a car was stolen the only way to locate it was through number plate recognition, CCTV and eyewitness accounts. Nowadays, with the advent of connected cars, vehicle recovery systems allow drivers and authorities alike to track the position of the stolen vehicle in real-time and piece together the history of where a vehicle has been, in order to track down its current position.

Vehicle manufacturers offer a range of vehicle recovery systems, such as GM’s OnStarBMW Assist, and Toyota Safety Connect. Alternatively, some companies offer post-purchase options, such as LoJack and Zoombak. Most current vehicle recovery systems use a GPS transmitter and cellular transmitter to locate a vehicle’s position. Others, like LoJack, use a radio transmitter and a series of radio receivers to track and recover a vehicle.

As the technologies in connected cars improve and they become ever more connected to each other and other assets/devices, new anti-theft measures – like engine ignition cutoff and remote control and locking – are becoming more viable. Combined with geolocation information, these new measures are offering automakers, drivers and authorities new tools to stop thefts and locate stolen vehicles. For example, BMW located and disabled one of its cars through its ConnectedDrive platform when it was reported as stolen in 2016, trapping the thief inside until police arrived. The new technologies employed by connected cars, therefore, promise to significantly restrict the ability of thieves to successfully steal cars.

Future of IoT

The Future of IoT

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Future of IoT

Mobile World Congress brings together thought leaders in technology from around the globe. The side conference 4 Years From Now is held with the objective to connect promising startups and founding partners.

Apart from upcoming companies pitching their ideas and showcasing their prototypes, panel sessions are held on topics as diverse as women in tech and the future of technology, or how 5G will influence how we interact with mobile technology, or what the Internet of Things (IoT) will look like four years from now. These are just some of the session titles discussed at the conference center in Barcelona.

Using IoT in Consumer and Commercial Contexts

Belron is one of the leading vehicle glass repair and replacement companies. With a fleet of 9,000 services vehicles, 13,000 technicians who use 30,000 tools and over 9 million parts, Nick Burton, Chief Information & Digital Officer,  can imagine many ways to leverage IoT technology within his organization:

  • To connect the company’s own vehicles to the IoT and track routes and other KPIs to improve fleet management and feed experiences with glass repairment cycles back into the organization and embed this vehicle knowledge into the Customer Experience.
  • To place sensors on windshields to monitor behavior.
  • To – essentially – receive the right data at the right time and make the most out of it.

While Burton sees a lot of potential, certain barriers to fully adopting IoT in organizations still exist. In the future, we may find:

  • Access to IoT technologies will be less difficult. It is currently costly and complex to manage connectivity.
  • We will experience a trend toward subscription-based models. For this to happen, the interoperability between devices has to be a no-brainer. Developing technology based on a microservice architecture could pave the way. For the time being, it remains a challenge to set up and configure solutions and inconsistent standards make integration of IoT solutions hard.
  • Low-power networks which cover wide areas (aka LPWA networks such as LoRa and Sigfox) are enablers for this development, but Burton would love to see them expand even further to something he calls “Sigfox on Steroids”.
  • Being able to deploy IoT hardware quickly and easily through a plug-and-play approach will also accelerate the market adoption of IoT products and solutions. At the moment, most IoT hardware is expensive.
  • Last but not least, IoT will continue being the foundation for developing creative ideas and new concepts to create products and grow businesses.

Trends for investing in IoT and IIoT

Momenta Partners is an international VC focused on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The globally active company invests in early stage “Connected Industry” startups. While they see IoT today being about connecting devices and assets to the internet, Alberto Cresto, Associate at Momenta Ventures, believes that : “Four years from now we won’t be using the term IoT any longer, but will be talking about “connected industries” instead.

While the market for IoT platforms is already consolidating, he sees the area of predictive maintenance and remote asset management as being the next to mature. We will pass the hype stage and will enter the incubation phase where we will see true ROI being generated. Four years from now, however, the VC industry will still fuel IoT startups as VC is about giving advice and having domain knowledge.

In general, Cresto identified eight IoT trends for 2018:

  1. Augmented reality will get more real in Industrial IoT (IIoT).
  2. Intelligent edge computing will gain traction.
  3. Low-power wide-area networks (LPWAN) will gain ground.
  4. The IoT platform market will consolidate.
  5. Blockchain will be more relevant in IoT.
  6. Cybersecurity will remain a “top-of-mind” topic in IoT.
  7. Growing investment in IoT technologies will drive real ROI.
  8. We will witness a progress on developing and implementing common standards, but it will take time until we have reached fixed regulations.

Winning the IoT Platform War

With the IoT expected to generate billions of dollars in economic value in the next ten years, companies have been developing IoT platforms with the goal to become the go-to vendor.

According to Ignasi Vilajosana, CEO and co-founder of Worldsensing, a globally recognized IoT pioneer, IoT platforms currently show very few differentiations. Although the market is consolidating because some of the big players are trying to impose their own reference architectures, OT, IT and IoT players alike are trying to establish their own vision to determine IoT platform standards.

Vilajosana believes that: “The barrier for adopting IoT technologies is not created by the lack of available IoT technologies, but by the hesitation of organizations to adopt IoT products and solutions.”

Due to the lack of determination on the part of boards of directors who don’t push for digitizing their organizations, IoT adoption is slowed down in general. Their hesitation is based on not having a clear idea about the cost-benefit ratio IoT implementations could bring to their companies, due in part to the fact that IoT vendors are still failing to highlight and sell the improvements IoT could offer. But if company boards are not willing to take the risk and push for it internally – who will?

Due to missing common standards and an ROI validation, many companies have started to co-develop IoT products and solutions to share and reduce risks. The issue many are facing is that while most IoT platforms can connect any kind of object or data source, they don’t generate value for customers because they don’t solve their problems. This is why we will see a rise of Operational Intelligence (OI) solutions in the next couple of years, because they address specific business cases and tangible pain points to deliver operational value.

Vilajosana believes that four years from now, the IoT will bring about the following developments:

  • The market will further consolidate due to tangible use cases which will prove the ROI of pilot projects and will enable full deployments.
  • We will see an increased focus on pain point solving and IoT solutions being built around these pains to solve them.
  • While currently, only about 5% of IoT technology providers offer outcome-based contracts, this number will increase to approximately 20% by 2020.
  • Vendors will need to continue building strong ecosystems where every partner offers specific domain knowledge and has a deep understanding of their respective field.

Why is no-one building open platforms?

As the panel discussion moved on, the audience was keen to find out why no standardized open platform architecture is being built to ease operational issues customers are facing. Vilajosana pointed out that: “Driven by the IoT platform war, everyone is fighting for a different standard – their own standard.”

Commercial platforms or current B2C IoT technology are not mature enough to drive this process. It will be interesting to see how this topic will develop in the coming years.

Why are there no IoT unicorns?

While Silicon Valley and internet-related products and solutions bring about a vast variety of unicorns (startup companies valued at over 1 billion USD) the IoT is developing at a different pace. As opposed to the straightforward internet world, where developing apps or setting up e-commerce platforms can be done by one single company or a startup partnering with different corporations to realize their concept, IoT players need to build an ecosystem of equally knowledgeable and experienced partners to deliver real value. “Having to use partner ecosystems to deliver a project makes market access and generating value a more complex undertaking.”

At the same time, deploying IoT products and solutions requires taking into account the legacy systems customers are using. Providers can’t expect companies to replace all of their devices. They need solutions which allow for the integration of both existing systems and new data sources in order to adapt gradually. The key will be to foster interoperability between devices and systems to generate easy of use for end-users.

IoT trends hitting the market

The three main IoT trends that have hit the market

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The IoT industry is an exciting space to be in right now. The Internet of Things is being hailed as the solution to everything from traffic and congestion, to managing domestic energy usage, to farming productivity. As a new, growing market, there is plenty of opportunities both to become an emerging vendor and to capitalize on these new technologies before your competitors do. Some new IoT trends offer to make organizations – whether public or private sector – more productive and efficient, ultimately leading to higher profits.

In addition to this, the IoT signals a move away from siloed and inefficient working towards a world of greater connectivity and collaboration. Although a nascent space, key trends are already starting to emerge in IoT, as we will explore in this article.

IoT trends: Dashboard-centric solutions vs. Insight service providers

Dashboard-centric vs. insight service providers expresses the opposition between different types of vendors of IoT solutions. The former offer solutions that show aggregated data in a dashboard (interface), whereas the latter offer products that help users to act on this data. Sometimes, people look at the dashboard-centric/insight-centric binary as an IoT platform provider/IoT application/solution provider opposition.

To clarify: dashboards can show, for example, real-time traffic; the location of police officers; traffic lights; and other city infrastructure. However, dashboard-centric solutions often fail to convert the data shown into actionable insights. Insight service-providers, like business application providers, go beyond simply visualizing, and offer insights, recommended actions and expected outcomes. The latter is usually seen as more useful for businesses and other organizations. Simply seeing that things are happening (across a city’s streets for instance) on a dashboard is not enough: the true value of an IoT solution lies in its ability to offer analytical and decision-making guidance, giving predictive models of what might happen if any number of decisions are made, and assessing which decision will best meet the user’s goals.

It is important to note that dashboard-centric solutions can work alongside insight-specific solutions. For example, some service-providers offer subsystems, such as business applications, and dashboard agnostics, meaning that clients can integrate existing systems and dashboards. As such, although there is a growing trend to think of the two as different things, in some cases they can actually be used alongside each other.

IoT trends: Outcome-based contracts to mitigate risks

Gartner estimates that by 2020, 20% of all new IoT projects will include outcome-based contracts, up from less than 5% today. An outcome-based contract is essentially one where the buyer only pays once the product starts generating beneficial results. The provider, therefore, offers to do everything for free – for example installing 200 sensors, which will increase revenues lost due to parking fraud, which only takes (complete or partial) payment once the first results come in.

This kind of contract is increasingly popular, along with proof of concept, because spending on IoT solutions can be difficult if there are no proven outcomes – especially in not-for-profit or public-sector organizations. Proof of Concept (PoC) is another trend which goes hand in hand with outcome-based contracts, and describes what they do. It is a stage during IoT implementation where businesses “test out” an IoT solution as a pilot project in a limited area of their operations – or, in the case of the city, in a limited physical area. Only once the solution has proved its worth can it be scaled across the business/city, and this is also usually the point where they will be charged. Although the two are not inextricable, so that a PoC can sometimes happen without an outcome-based contract, the latter rarely happens without the former so they are frequently found together.

The financial barriers to adopting new technologies can thus be eradicated, or at least partially negated, by the use of PoC and outcome-based contacts.

IoT trends: The Digital Twin Concept

A digital twin is essentially a digital replica of physical assets, processes and systems, for example of a city or a mine, which provides a representation of both the core elements and the dynamics of IoT devices used within the space and system depicted. Digital twins use AI (artificial intelligence), machine-learning (a subset of AI) and software analytics with data to render real-time (otherwise known as “living”) digital simulation models that can update and change as their real, physical counterparts, or “twins” change.

To make it simpler, it basically means that a real-time “video game” version of a city, mine, or warehouse is created, digitizing this space in a way that produces interaction between the real and the virtual. These systems can be used to optimize the operation and maintenance of physical assets, systems, and processes in real-time.

Operational Intelligence (OI) can pave the way towards building digital twins. OI can be defined as a form of real-time business analytics that delivers visibility and insight into business operations.

The insights produced by real-time intelligence enable operators to understand the performance of distributed infrastructure, make predictions, improve efficiency and even prevent disasters. This gives them greater capacity to make the right operational decisions. Importantly, OI offers the possibility of partially digitizing operations or only digitizing sub-operations, like parking management, rather than digitizing the whole city at once. As such, OI allows city authorities to take a step-by-step approach to digitization: instead of suddenly installing a digital twin, they can decide which areas need digitizing first, and gradually build up a digital version of the city over time. This is often more aligned with internal budgets and innovation processes.

Operational Intelligence is thus one catalyst for the digital twins concept because it allows us to digitize infrastructure, monitor operations in real time, predict events, take actions based on intelligence, and engage with important stakeholders – for example, the city’s citizens. Cities are currently far away from this concept – it will probably come into being in around 5 – 10 years time – but mines are already ahead of the game and are using digital twins as part of their operations.


Conclusion

Although the IoT market is a relatively new space, it is an incredibly dynamic one. As such innovative partnerships between smaller and larger vendors are prevalent, and new start-ups are constantly appearing with disruptive products that offer more bespoke solutions for their clients. It is unsurprising then that forward-thinking trends – such as digital twins and outcome-based contracts – have already started to appear in this industry.

These IoT trends indicate where the market is heading, signaling a shift towards insight-centric, highly-adapted IoT services that aim to not only to give clients data visualization capabilities but also offer them AI-enabled recommendations and future predictions, as demonstrated by digital twins. There is also a shift towards transparency and accountability, particularly for vendors targeting public-sector organizations, as is shown by the increasing popularity of PoC and outcome-based contracts. IoT innovation is, therefore, happening on two fronts: digital technology and business models. In the future, we should see an increase in innovation in these areas, with more sophisticated products – such as digital twins, and beyond – and new, creative ways of doing business that enable more companies to reap the benefits that IoT brings.

Coronavirus, Barcelona Traffic impact

Corona traffic analysis confirms compliance with confinement in Barcelona

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OneMind Technologies uses real-time traffic detection data from its IoT solution platform, OneMind, to analyze the effects of the COVID-19 confinement on the mobility in Barcelona.

In this article, we present a summary of the data analysis provided by our intelligent IoT solution builder, OneMind, which ingests and visualizes data from traffic flow monitoring devices deployed around the main ring roads across Barcelona.

1- The general confinement of the population has resulted in a 72% decrease in vehicle traffic on weekdays compared to a normal week, and close to an 85% reduction on weekends.

2- A significant amount of displacement was observed at the beginning of the first week of confinement, showing last-minute movements on the major routes in and out of the city.

3- The decrease associated with Extended Confinement (only essential activities permitted) has been an additional 6% compared to the previous weeks of confinement, for weekdays and weekends.

4- Traffic levels after the lifting of Extended Confinement have consistently returned to those observed during the first two weeks of General Confinement.

5- Traffic on Easter Monday, traditionally a day of very low mobility in the city, was half the normal for the day, and down 90% over a typical Monday.

This analysis has been carried out by compiling traffic detection data provided by the OneMind Technologies sensors deployed in the city, specifically at the points Ronda de Dalt / Mundet; Ronda de Dalt / Valldaura; Ronda de Dalt / Av. Meridiana (Trinitat Vella – entrance and exit); and Ronda de Dalt – Sortida 8 (Vallvidrera Tunnels), totaling 13,777,830 detections in the study period (March 2nd – April 30th).


artificial intelligence in transportation

OneMind Technologies at the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Applications in Transportation (AITC 2020)

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  • This year, the University of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam nvited OneMind Technologies to the International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Applications in Transportation. 

The company was invited to present the benefits of implementing operational intelligence platforms to manage the future of mobility.  

A conference, digital and presencial, to discuss various topics related to the use of Artificial Intelligence in transportation 

The conference would normally be held in April, on the campus of Ho Chi Minh University. Due to the coronavirus pandemic that significantly affected the whole world, it was postponed until December 11, 2020.  

The organizing committee took the decision to hold the conference both online and offline.  

The topics of the conference are diverse: Big Data Analytics, Artificial Neuron Networks, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Cognitive Computing, Image processing and identification technology in intelligent transportation systems, Solutions to improve road safety, mega-data processing to evaluate the quality of transport work, intelligent control of transport vehicles, technologies and applications in intelligent cities, Internet of Things, Logistics, Transport optimization, Traffic behavior analysis, Intelligent technologies, Applications, and Services for life. 

The solutions offered by OneMind Technologies make sense in several of these topics but the company was invited to talk specifically about the benefits of implementing operational intelligence platforms to manage the future of mobility. 

The answer for cities to manage the future of mobility? The power of data! 

OneMind Technologies, through the voice of Michael Rohrer, head of product, is thus digitally present to explain the impact and strength of data in decision making

Southeast Asia is keeping pace with the global trend of using the Internet of Things (IoT) across different sectors for the most innovative uses. Local authorities and regional governments are taking full advantage of the technology to enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). 

However, when it comes to the use of IoT technologies and related data, private actors are more advanced than cities.  

It’s time for cities to regain control of their public services through better data collection, analysis, and centralization of this data on dedicated platforms, and then the creation of new policies to ensure equality and quality of the public services to their citizens.  

Within cities, a multitude of actors are present in the field of mobility. Each department has its own systems, and each system manages its own operations. Data is therefore processed in silos and is difficult to access and it gets difficult to centralize and standardize the systems. 

This creates a lack of communication between city departments, making it difficult to unfy the process, the language, and the operation. 

OneMind brings a solution to cities to improve their daily decision-making processes by using IoT technologies. With its Intelligent IoT Solution Builder, it allows cities to maximize the use of their systems and equipment introducing operational intelligence. OneMind allows different data from all existing sensors and systems to be combined in a single platform.  

The result is a set of real-time geolocated information, analytics and performance indicators (KPIs), anomaly detection, and display of alarms and response plans, among other features. 

Applications powered by OneMind provide construction site managers and directors of operations in cities with instant intelligence and response plans to make smart decisions and manage teams and processes more efficiently


If you want to find out more about how smart technology and the use of data can improve the urban mobility, we suggest you read our article: Reducing traffic and congestion through Smart City Technologies 


About Michael Rohrer, our speaker at AITC 2020 

Michael Rohrer was born in Austria. He graduated from the University of Innsbruck, Austria, in Business Administration with speciality in Strategic Management and Business Informatics. 

He has 15+ years’ experience in business strategy, agile product development and marketing, with a proven track record in building multiplatform B2B and B2C products on international markets. His domain expertise is focused on smart cities and IoT. 

Michael is currently the acting Head of Product at OneMind Technologies, Barcelona, Spain. He leads the software product strategy and owns the software product roadmap. 

trafic congestion

Reducing traffic and congestion through Smart City Technologies

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Traffic and congestion affect all urban centers, and their impact on city life will continue to grow as cities do. In fact, the UN estimates that around 70% of people will be living in cities by 2050. A large proportion of these cities will be in the developing world, where growing economies mean increasing private vehicle use. Therefore, there is an acute need for effective traffic and congestion solutions. Recent studies have shown traffic and congestion have a major effect not only on cities’ overall greenhouse gas emissions but also on the mental and physical health of urban citizens.

Cities that “get smart” and invest in intelligent mobility technologies can help reduce the toll of traffic and congestion on the environment, citizen health, and quality of life. They can also save money overall by reducing the rate of traffic incidents and assuring that those that do happen are attended to rapidly. Smart technologies can help local authorities modernize workflows, helping to centralize their management of urban mobility, security, and other public services into a single overarching system.

The impact of traffic and congestion on cities

Poor Emergency Response Rates

Clearly, a principal cause of traffic jams and delays is congestion, but less well-recognized is the link between congestion and low incident response times. It is widely accepted among academics and professionals working in the police and public health services that congestion severely affects response times, putting citizens’ lives at risk. After all, a few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.

Climate Change

Traffic and congestion not only increase the risk of road accidents but are the central cause of urban air pollution too. Cities are major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, with transport making up 26% of emissions – a more significant contribution even than the energy sector in countries like the UK. In the face of rising national pressure to cut emissions to comply with the worldwide COP21 agreement to cap global warming at 2 degrees, cities must start reducing traffic and congestion now to meet this target.

Public Health

The visual, sound, and air pollution caused by traffic and congestion has a significant effect on public health. Air pollution provokes and exacerbates long-term respiratory problems in urban citizens, with the European Environment Agency estimating that it causes around 400,000 premature deaths in Europe each year. Mentally, the effects of traffic-induced pollution are widespread too. Current research indicates that aside from the primary stress and anxiety caused by being delayed by traffic-jams, traffic and congestion can actually have a major contributing effect to apparently unconnected broader societal issues, such as domestic violence.

Economic impact

Aside from the petrol money that traffic wastes, it also makes things late – people going to work, children going to school, deliveries on their way to customers. Lateness costs money, both directly and indirectly. Workers waste possibly productive times in jams; moreover, the stress caused by traffic may impede their overall productivity over time. If this stress gets too much, and congestion actually causes people to move away from the city, then the urban economy takes a real hit as its ability to attract and retain relevant talent decreases. This is also true of tourism: if congestion is so bad as to discourage people from visiting the city, the economy loses out as tourism declines.

Unsuccessful delivery attempts (UDAs) are also in part caused by traffic and congestion; it is estimated that UDAs cost around €850 million (1050 dollars) a year to e-commerce companies. Just imagine the money that could be saved if even a fraction of these were prevented.

 fastprk-product-worldsensing

How smart technologies lessen these impacts

Smart mobility management systems

City mobility management systems, as a form of operational intelligence solutions, provide an umbrella approach to overseeing and monitoring urban mobility. They cover traffic flow, critical infrastructure, parking management and construction sites.

This approach means that city councils and transport operators can cut across departments, integrating existing operating systems into one overall platform that gives them the ability to see how the entire urban mobility system is working in real-time. City operators can use this real-time knowledge of traffic flows to generate insights, and consequently improve operating efficiency in the present and the future.

These insights allow local authorities to detect and deal with unforeseeable traffic issues and incidents faster, redirect traffic away from busy areas, provide alternative routes during construction work, manage parking throughout the city, and, most importantly, share the data with emergency services, allowing them to pick the best routes – ones that save more lives in less time.

Smart public transport systems

Improving public transport networks through smart technologies makes this infrastructure more efficient, usable and appealing. This reduces traffic and congestion as more people choose to switch from private vehicle use to public transport alternatives.

Intelligent transport systems, which include smart mobility systems for traffic and congestion, can integrate all forms of urban public transportation, and physical and digital infrastructure, to make public transport more efficiently managed, more passenger-centric, and autonomous. This often results in passengers traveling on the same ticket or subscription, whether via bus, bike, taxi, tram, or tube. The replacement of single-vehicle use with buses, bikes or trains reduces CO2 emissions and congestion and lowers noise levels.

Smart public transport systems are also more likely to be reliant on renewable, rather than fossil-fuel, energies. This means that, aside from cutting down pollution by reducing reliance on petrol or diesel road vehicles, smart public transport systems reduce the overall fossil-fuel emissions of city transport.

Citizen-led smart initiatives

Citizen-led apps that allow the public to report incidents and share traffic information, or that encourage users to walk, run or cycle instead of driving, are also providing new ways of reducing traffic and congestion and improving urban mobility. Traffic information-sharing apps like Waze, for example, allow citizens to share real-time information about traffic incidents and congestion, resulting in an interactive citywide map that is not only shared but constantly co-created by the community. Others, like Ciclogreen and Social Cyclist, offer users incentives to leave their car keys at home and take up cycling instead. These incentives range from discounts and points for every mile they cycle, to social meetup facilitation.

The Social Cyclist is particularly “smart” in that it gives citizens a direct platform through which they can let their local authority know about problems that they encounter while cycling – from potholes to antisocial behavior.

This kind of data, along with the traffic incidents reported in Waze, can be integrated into an overarching smart mobility system, bringing authorities “closer” to citizens as they begin an open and direct dialogue with the local community. This means improved civic participation in advancing the city’s mobility infrastructure, improved incident-response times and overall traffic flow, and more targeted and direct responses to citizens’ complaints. Alongside running communications campaigns, local councils and transport operators can thus also use smart technologies, such as citizen apps, to actively give the public a voice in how urban mobility is managed in their city, and also to incentivize them to reduce their private vehicle use, in turn decreasing traffic and congestion.

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OneMind Technologies is present at GITEX 2020

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Every year, more than 150,000 persons attend the Gulf’s information technology trade show: the GITEX.  

OneMind Technologies is present in Dubaï this year for this 2020 edition.  

This year, Gitex celebrates its 40th anniversary. The international trade fair, specialized in technology and innovation, started yesterday and runs until Thursday.  

As a result of the health crisis that shook the world this year, many trade fairs and exhibitions of the same kind had been canceled or converted into digital events. The Gitex organizers have chosen to keep the event on-site to allow companies, entrepreneurs, investors, administrations… to meet and discuss in person.  

This 2020 edition focuses on « the transformational ideas that will shape the future of government and business in the next decade ».  

That is why OneMind Technologies is there!  

The CEO, Stephane Eyme and Francesc Domingo, head of business development, arrived in Dubai the day before yesterday to present the company’ intelligent solution.  

For Stephane Eyme, this show is an opportunity for the company to “[…] present the intelligent solutions we develop. Whether in the field of smart cities, smart constructions or urban mobility, in which we already have an extended experience, but also for future projects, airports or any other space where our customers need to make smarter decisions based on real-time and multi-domain intelligence.” 

Francesc Domingo adds “Things are moving very fast in the Middle East. We want to present how our different solutions can be adapted to the regional needs providing direct support to our ecosystem. We are delighted to be present at this year’s Gitex.” 
 

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Understanding the IoT ecosystem: Platforms, Applications, and Solutions

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The IoT ecosystem includes all those technologies that enable consumers, businesses, and governments to connect, control and derive value from their connected objects in diverse environments, including manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, smart cities, construction, oil, and gas.

According to Forrester the total number of internet-connected devices will be 34 billion by 2020, up from 10 billion in 2015. IoT devices will account for 24 billion of these, while traditional computing devices such as tablets will comprise 10 billion. It is estimated that nearly $6 trillion will be spent on IoT solutions over the next five years.

It is clear then that the IoT market is a huge and expanding space which offers opportunities but threatens confusion, as the number of IoT products proliferates and it becomes less clear what distinguishes them.

This confusion is not helped by the fact that the IoT platform market remains fragmented: with over 600 different vendors, the market is split between IT players like Cisco, IBM, and SAP, IoT players such as startups, and OT players like Siemens, GE, and Bosch. Enterprise software and service companies and IoT startups account for the largest proportion (22% and 32%, respectively) with industrial technology providers following behind (18%), and internet companies and telecommunications companies making up the remainder.

Although some companies are emerging as leaders in this sector, understanding the difference between the different types of IoT product out there can be difficult with such a plethora of options available. Furthermore, the excitement around IoT platforms has led to a distorted picture of what is actually out there.

Most businesses do not know that the majority of IoT platform vendors do not offer general IoT platforms: instead, they tend to sell either IoT applications for specific use cases or “partial” IoT platforms, which technically only contain aspects of full IoT platforms.

In this article, we are going to explore the differences between the three main types of IoT product – platforms, applications, and solutions – in order to clarify what they do, and what they can offer businesses. We will start with a general overview of the IoT and the IoT value chain, and then move onto an examination of the different IoT products out there.

So, what exactly is the IoT?

Definitions of IoT tend to revolve around Mckinsey’s notion of it as “sensors and actuators embedded in physical objects and devices that are linked through wired or wireless networks, often using the same Internet Protocol (IP) that connects the internet.”

To make this simpler, IoT simultaneously refers to the ever-widening network of physical objects that use an IP address for internet connectivity, and the communication that happens between these objects and other internet-enabled devices and systems, allowing them to exchange data.

If that’s the IoT, what’s the IoT value chain?

From a technological perspective, the value chain of any IoT product includes connected assets, the network used to enable communication between devices, IoT platforms, IoT applications, and IoT solutions.

Connected Assets is the hardware layer – the sensors, actuators, chipsets, MEMS, etc. that are embedded into “smart” physical assets and devices.

The Network is the wired or wireless network involving network equipment, internet protocols, connectivity, network service providers, and device provisioning and configuring. The key standards for these wireless networks are LoRa, NB-IoT (Narrow Band- Internet of Things), restful APIs, (docker) containers, etc.

IoT Platforms vs. IoT Applications vs. IoT Solutions

We are now going to get into the details and take a close look at what the main differences are between the above IoT products, looking in detail at the components that make up the IoT value chain.

What is an IoT platform?

If the IoT is the wired or wireless networks of sensors and actuators, embedded in physical objects, and the communication and data-sharing activities that they carry out via the internet, then an IoT platform, or Enablement Platform, is widely understood as the underlying software that allows devices to share large quantities of data, and ensures that this data can be analyzed and put to use.

One example of an IoT platform is PTC’s Thingworx platform, which is an Industrial IoT platform that allows businesses to source, contextualize and synthesize data while orchestrating processes and delivering powerful web, mobile and AR experiences. This platform is flexible and can be deployed in a variety of ways; it is also supported by a vibrant partner ecosystem.

What is an IoT application?

An IoT application is a software programme that can be added “on top of” an IoT platform, and uses the latter, along with data it aggregates from the connected assets and network, to produce actionable insights for specific pain-point areas (for example, parking occupancy).

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What is an IoT solution?

An IoT solution is an end-to-end service which integrates all of the above elements of the IoT value chain – from the connected assets to the communication network, the IoT platform and the specific business applications.

IoT solutions are therefore made up of a number of parts, which can often be separated and sold on their own (for example as applications), but that together comprise a comprehensive, outcome-based IoT service that is usually adapted to individual organizations’ needs.

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OneMind Technologies joins the Affluence Corporation group

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In this month of November 2020, a great change has taken place at OneMind Technologies.

Worldsensing announced last Wednesday (November 25th) the acquisition of OneMind, now called OneMind Technologies, by the Affluence Corporation Group.

OneMind Technologies SL is now a new entity, a subsidiary of Affluence Corporation.

OneMind Technologies

The company, which has been operating as a business unit within Worldsensing for several years, helps organizations transform their business decision-making and reveal information through real-time, multi-domain intelligence.

Through its intelligent IoT solution builder, OneMind Technologies creates solutions for smart construction and city operations. OneMind is used by organizations in the United States, Latin America, Europe and Southeast Asia to optimize business processes and make real-time decisions more efficient, responsive, and sustainable.

The company is also very active in the Middle East, with several development opportunities, and hopes to announce new contracts in the region in the coming months.

A satisfying transition for everyone

Stéphane Eyme, CEO of OneMind Technologies, presented its ambition following these changes: “[…] Our ambition is to enable any organization to run smarter operations thanks to our intelligent IoT solutions.”

Rohan Chanmugam, CEO of Affluence Corporation, also welcomed the start-up warmly to the group: “We are delighted to welcome the OneMind Technologies team to the Affluence Corporation family. We are uniquely positioned to capitalize on the tremendous growth opportunities offered by OneMind, which combined with our edge-computing solutions will have a significant impact in how business is done across the world in the near future.”

From the Worldsensing side, the CEO Ignasi Vilajosana added that “OneMind Technologies has worked as an independent Worldsensing business unit and internal start-up for some time now. I have no doubt that the team will continue to thrive within the Affluence ecosystem.”

About Affluence Corporation

Affluence Corporation (AFFU.PK) is a diversified technology company focused on edge computing and innovative cloud solutions that capitalize on IoT, AI and 5G technologies. We are investing in mid-market businesses to create a cohesive unit which brings together technology for the next generation of internet.

About Worldsensing

Worldsensing is a global IoT pioneer. Founded in 2008, the industrial monitoring expert works with over 270 engineering partners in more than 60 countries to provide safety through critical infrastructure monitoring in mining, construction, rail, and structural health. 

Worldsensing has more than 80 employees and offices in Barcelona, London, Los Angeles and Singapore and investors include Cisco Investments, Mitsui & Co, McRock Capital and ETF Partners, among others.