SWITCH­ING ON CON­NEC­TIV­ITY

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and smart ap­pli­ca­tions will con­tinue to push de­mand for in­fras­truc­tural up­dates

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

WITH the ubiq­ui­tous in­flu­ence of ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence, our ev­ery­day life has en­tered the en­chanted realm of hy­per-con­nec­tiv­ity. We live in a time of mas­sive op­por­tu­nity in the dig­i­tal space, to lead bet­ter, eas­ier and more con­nected lives.

The ap­pli­ca­tion of the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) has be­come a main­stay of con­tem­po­rary life. With the con­stant ob­ses­sion over “smart”-ev­ery­thing, we seem to be on the precipice of a utopia of dig­i­tally-as­sisted liv­ing. The world has never re­volved around our needs more than it has right here, right now. In the de­vel­oped world, the fu­ture is al­ways re­leased a sea­son ahead. Any­thing that can be con­nected, will be con­nected.

How­ever, in the emerg­ing world, fo­cus­ing on the IoT ap­pears to be putting the cart be­fore the horse. Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion shouldn’t be about things — it is about peo­ple. We need to fo­cus on the In­ter­net of Peo­ple (IoP).

The over-re­liance on smart de­vices and cap­i­tal-in­ten­sive tech­nol­ogy has given the emerg­ing world lim­ited ac­cess to new world con­nec­tiv­ity. Pri­vate smart de­vices are not the only gate­way for in­di­vid­u­als to step into a col­lec­tive dig­i­tal con­scious­ness. We need to en­sure our pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture is as con­nected as the tech­nolo­gies we use in our daily lives.

The re­cent em­pha­sis on dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion and col­lec­tion of data as an as­set has brought another es­sen­tial build­ing block of the fu­ture into the spot­light. Light­ing is a much over­looked phys­i­cal pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture al­ready in place that could put us on the high speed road to a well-lit, sus­tain­able fu­ture.

Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion does not al­ways have to re­quire sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal out­lay or an over­haul of ex­ist­ing in­fra­struc­ture. There are turnkey so­lu­tions in the mar­ket where cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture can be retro­fit­ted with newer tech­nolo­gies.

Case in point: Con­nected light­ing is a fu­ture-proof “plug-and­play” plat­form for data col­lec­tion and ur­ban sens­ing, man­aged through smart con­trols in the IoT.

With an es­ti­mated num­ber of 59.2 bil­lion light­ing points avail­able by 2030, the op­por­tu­nity of an in­tel­li­gent light­ing sys­tem as a path­way to con­nect cities and in­di­vid­u­als to the dig­i­tal ecosys­tem is phe­nom­e­nal.

Con­nected light­ing has the po­ten­tial to trans­form each of the es­ti­mated 300 mil­lion street­lights world­wide from be­ing an out­put point for light to an in­put point for in­for­ma­tion. Each light­ing point can col­lect data about its sur­round­ings and in­hab­i­tants. These light poles can then start to pro­vide in­put on hu­man and ve­hi­cle traf­fic flow, air qual­ity, crowds and se­cu­rity risks, en­ergy con­sump­tion, waste, trans­port and other crit­i­cal func­tions.

In the United States, 4G LTE wire­less telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy is be­ing merged with en­ergy-sav­ing LED street-light­ing in Los An­ge­les to pro­vide an ar­chi­tec­ture that can help res­i­dents im­prove cell ser­vice — with the scal­a­bil­ity for fur­ther in­te­gra­tion with new tech­nol­ogy in fu­ture. For ex­am­ple, the city of Los An­ge­les is test­ing out street­lights out­fit­ted with in­te­grated sen­sors that can wire­lessly de­tect gun­shots and other noises to boost pub­lic safety, and may ex­pand the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of these cen­sors to recog­nise air pol­lu­tion and earthquakes.

In Southeast Asia, con­nected street-light­ing has been a core com­po­nent of the trans­for­ma­tion of cities like Me­laka and Jakarta into the re­gion’s smart cities. For in­stance, as part of Me­laka’s Green City Ac­tion Plan to make the city a Green Tech­nol­ogy State by 2020, con­nected street light­ing man­age­ment has been im­ple­mented in the cen­tral parts of Me­laka and ma­jor ar­ter­ies into the city. Each light point is con­nected and per­for­mance data will be sent through cel­lu­lar net­works to the city’s light­ing of­fice. The data will en­able the city of­fi­cials to ef­fi­ciently mon­i­tor the city’s in­fra­struc­ture by district.

The true added value in bring­ing light points into the IoT is that con­nected light­ing is an ideal plat­form for ur­ban sens­ing. A smart city’s sys­tems need to be open to be con­nected. The abil­ity to in­te­grate with in­fra­struc­ture us­ing stan­dard­ised in­ter­faces presents the op­por­tu­nity for a city to de­ploy new ap­pli­ca­tions quickly as tech­nolo­gies evolve, al­low­ing cities and their cit­i­zens to pur­sue new pos­si­bil­i­ties in the fu­ture.

In a world where tech­nol­ogy con­tin­u­ally mod­i­fies our ev­ery­day ex­pe­ri­ences and the phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment around us, an over­ar­ch­ing in­fra­struc­ture con­ven­ing peo­ple, as­sets and data will serve to grad­u­ally nar­row the di­vide be­tween the built en­vi­ron­ment and the vir­tual en­vi­ron­ment we re­side in.

What the con­nected con­sumer needs is a phys­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment that can au­to­mat­i­cally learn more about its in­hab­i­tants as they spend more time in it and an­tic­i­pate their con­sump­tion needs, pref­er­ences and pat­terns. A con­nected light­ing in­fra­struc­ture, as a plat­form for data col­lec­tion, can cre­ate an auto-learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for the spa­ces we live, work and play in.

The pair­ing of vis­i­ble light com­mu­ni­ca­tions with in­door po­si­tion­ing tech­nol­ogy is reimag­in­ing the phys­i­cal re­tail ex­pe­ri­ence. Light­ing fixtures in stores can be em­bed­ded with sen­sors that can col­lect data about con­sumers for anal­y­sis — where they are, what time of the day they are most likely to visit the store and which aisles they are spend­ing time at. The sen­sors can also de­tect shop­pers’ smart­phones across the shop­ping floor to de­liver ser­vices, such as wayfind­ing, dig­i­tal store map­ping, no­ti­fi­ca­tions of pre­vail­ing sales pro­mo­tions of in­ter­est to the client, per­son­alised shop­ping as­sis­tance and rec­om­men­da­tions, and lo­ca­tion-based in­for­ma­tion and rec­om­men­da­tions.

In the near fu­ture, we can also ex­pect our of­fices to run on con­nected light­ing sys­tems adapted to each user’s per­son­alised pref­er­ences for light­ing and tem­per­a­ture set­tings. In-built room lu­mi­nar­ies can track ac­tiv­ity pat­terns and day­light lev­els, col­lect hu­man oc­cu­pancy and foot traf­fic data through­out the day.

For the con­nected con­sumer, the true mean­ing of “vir­tual re­al­ity” hinges on a hy­brid ex­pe­ri­ence that pushes phys­i­cal and vir­tual en­vi­ron­ments to adapt to their in­hab­i­tants’ chang­ing ex­pe­ri­en­tial con­sump­tion pat­terns. As tech­nol­ogy con­tin­ues to trans­form the way we re­late to and en­gage with the spa­ces we in­habit, ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and smart ap­pli­ca­tions will con­tinue to push the de­mand for in­fras­truc­tural up­dates that can sup­port our evo­lu­tion into a smart na­tion.

This is my the­ory: the cat­a­lyst of the next big bang will not be un­like the first one. Let there be light, and there was light.

The abil­ity to in­te­grate with in­fra­struc­ture us­ing stan­dard­ised in­ter­faces presents the op­por­tu­nity for a city to de­ploy new ap­pli­ca­tions quickly as tech­nolo­gies evolve, al­low­ing cities and their cit­i­zens to pur­sue new pos­si­bil­i­ties in the fu­ture.

FILE PIC

Con­nected light­ing has the po­ten­tial to trans­form an es­ti­mated 300 mil­lion street­lights world­wide from be­ing an out­put point for light to an in­put point for in­for­ma­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.