Earlier this week, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, together with General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, took the stage at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco and discussed the future of smart cities. Smart devices and the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) are gaining more popularity every day, but as years go by, the industry expects smart technology to become widely spread to the point where we might end up living in “smart cities”. During the conference, the two CEOs have explored this future and revealed some of the first steps that would lead to implementing smart technologies to such a large scale.
According to General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt “We are at a line of demarcation where you embrace the future or you are unable to satisfy the needs of your customers. Every industrial company has to transform itself into a digital company”. As such, the beginnings of smart cities will be traced back to smart buildings, specifically smart headquarters and smart factories belonging to companies. According to Intel’s estimates, every individual will use an average of 1.5 GB of data per day by the year 2020. At the same time, a smart hospital will use around 3,000 GB of data per day, and a smart factory could top 1 million GB of data in a single day. However and as previously mentioned, these smart buildings might represent only the beginnings of smart cities. General Electric’s Current division has developed “Predix”; software that uses Intel’s Internet of Things platform to gather data from all the sensors in a smart city and analyze it for patterns. For example, the system could be used to better guide supply trucks, and in turn, this can potentially lead to a smarter infrastructure and reduced management costs across a smart city. Another example would be for General Electric to enhance their energy-efficient LED street lighting to use an array of sensors for collecting data, including gunfire locations, which could then be passed along to gunshot detection systems including ShotSpotter.
It should be noted that, according to the Chief Digital Officer of General Electric’s Current division, John Gordon, Predix collects only metadata, and does not collect identity information. “Metadata is the secret to this” (smart cities), as it can be used for the aforementioned examples and ultimately, in a quest to improve city management, reduce costs, lower crime rate, reduce traffic congestions and so on.