3D laser de­tec­tion sys­tem to re­duce bridge col­li­sions

Cape Argus - - METRO - PHIL SCHILLER Ap­ple mar­ket­ing chief Bloomberg WES­LEY FES­TER Staff Re­porter

$999, some an­a­lysts were scep­ti­cal that peo­ple would pay so much, but it has been the com­pany’s best-sell­ing smart­phone. Now Ap­ple is mak­ing the core fea­tures avail­able on a range of de­vices that ap­peal to dif­fer­ent bud­gets.

The va­ri­ety of mod­els show how the com­pany is ad­just­ing its strat­egy.

Rather than lur­ing mil­lions of new iPhone users, Ap­ple’s goal is to steadily raise av­er­age prices while ex­pand­ing the to­tal num­ber of ac­tive de­vices to sup­port sales of ac­ces­sories and dig­i­tal ser­vices such as iCloud stor­age, stream­ing mu­sic and video.

Ear­lier this week, the com­pany signed two deals for movies to stream via a forth­com­ing on­line video ser­vice.

Wall Street has em­braced Ap­ple’s evo­lu­tion from a con­sumer hard­ware com­pany into a more di­ver­si­fied tech­nol­ogy gi­ant with an in­stalled base of 1.3 bil­lion de­vices sup­port­ing a grow­ing ros­ter of dig­i­tal ser­vices. The stock has jumped more than 30% this year, mak­ing Ap­ple the first pub­lic com­pany worth $1 tril­lion. On Tues­day, UBS raised its price tar­get to $250, ar­gu­ing a grow­ing stream of re­cur­ring rev­enue from ser­vices and other of­fer­ings de­serves a higher val­u­a­tion than the more cycli­cal hard­ware busi­ness.

The three new iPhones have an av­er­age start­ing price of $949.

The iPhone ASP was $724 in the most re­cent quar­ter. The iPhone Xr will be the main driver of Ap­ple vol­ume, with 100 mil­lion units pro­jected to be sold in the next year, ac­cord­ing to an­a­lyst Neil Shah.

“It’s a great up­grade prod­uct in the tra­di­tional iPhone price range for the two year-old iPhone or An­droid users,” he added, pre­dict­ing a “run­away hit”. | NOT many peo­ple as­so­ciate a glass of milk with ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy, but in re­al­ity there is an ex­tra­or­di­nary amount of cut­ting-edge tech­nol­ogy at play to get that glass from the farm to our ta­bles. For ex­am­ple, UK-based tech com­pany DairyMaster pro­duces MooMon­i­tor, which is a de­vice that con­nects cows to the in­ter­net.

Dairy cows are ex­tremely sen­si­tive crea­tures, and the slight­est ill­ness or ex­cite­ment can stress them out and ad­versely af­fect their milk yield, re­quir­ing farm­ers to mon­i­tor them 24 hours a day. This is fine when you have a hand­ful of cows, but how do you mon­i­tor hun­dreds of cows si­mul­ta­ne­ously?

This is where the MooMon­i­tor de­vice im­plant comes in. It is a tiny im­plant that con­stantly mon­i­tors each cow, keep­ing a close watch on its health, move­ments and stress lev­els. It up­loads vital health data to a server with spe­cialised ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence soft­ware that looks for ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties in the cow’s health and be­hav­iour.

The in­stant it de­tects some­thing amiss, like an ir­reg­u­lar heart rate or a cow mov­ing slug­gishly, it alerts the farmer and pin­points the cow’s ex­act lo­ca­tion. The im­plant also tracks the amount of milk each cow pro­duces over its life­span, be­cause a slight drop could point to a health is­sue.

MooMon­i­tor is just one ex­am­ple of what is known the “in­ter­net of things”, com­monly ab­bre­vi­ated as IoT, NEW tech­nol­ogy em­ployed by the City hopes to re­duce the num­ber of ve­hi­cles that crash into over­head bridges.

The City’s Trans­port and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Author­ity is us­ing a 3D laser de­tec­tion sys­tem, thereby keep­ing a closer eye on driv­ers of over-height ve­hi­cles who dis­re­gard the warn­ings is­sued. Ed­die An­drews, Mayco mem­ber for area south, vis­ited the in­tel­li­gent trans­port sys­tem (ITS) in­stal­la­tion which has been in ef­fect on Baden Pow­ell Drive since June, and has been in oper­a­tion along Main Road and At­lantic Road since 2016.

“The rail­way bridge cross­ing in At­lantic Road, Muizen­berg, is known for ve­hic­u­lar crashes mainly be­cause road users of­ten un­der­es­ti­mate the height of their ve­hi­cles when driv­ing un­der the bridge.

“Since the in­stal­la­tion of this ITS in 2016, we have seen a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion which is a phe­nom­e­non where things be­sides com­put­ers and smart­phones are con­nected to the in­ter­net.

Ma­chin­ery, fur­ni­ture, cloth­ing, ve­hi­cles, kitchen ap­pli­ances – and now cows – are now con­nected.

Com­puter chip man­u­fac­turer In­tel de­scribes IoT as “a ro­bust net­work of de­vices, all em­bed­ded with elec­tron­ics, soft­ware, and sen­sors that en­able them to ex­change and an­a­lyse data”.

In other words, these de­vices are able to talk to one an­other and ex­change valu­able data which is then used to make real-world de­ci­sions.

An ex­am­ple of IoT is the “smart home”, which will be able to ad­just it­self for your op­ti­mum com­fort. As you drive home af­ter work, your cell­phone will de­ter­mine your mood by analysing a num­ber of things like your cal­en­dar, your heart rate and even the way you drive. It will then com­mu­ni­cate this data to your smart home, which will use this and other data to pre­pare it­self for you.

Let’s say it has been a warm day and you’ve had a rough day at the of­fice. You are to­tally ex­hausted and some­what stressed. Your smart home will kick into ac­tion: your air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem will ad­just it­self to an op­ti­mum tem­per­a­ture, your home en­ter­tain­ment sys­tem will play a sooth­ing track and your espresso ma­chine will mix you a de­li­cious “pick-me-up”.

At your front door an ar­ti­fi­cially in the num­ber of over-height ve­hi­cles get­ting stuck or crash­ing into the bridge. How­ever, de­spite the in­tel­li­gent fa­cial-recog­ni­tion cam­era sys­tem will recog­nise you and dis­able the home se­cu­rity sys­tem and un­lock it.

The con­cept may be a vi­sion of the fu­ture, but there are as­pects of it that are al­ready in ex­is­tence, and have been for some time. For ex­am­ple, most se­cu­rity and cam­era sys­tems al­low us to mon­i­tor our prop­er­ties from any­where in the world with noth­ing more than a smart­phone with a browser. These are IoT de­vices.

IoT has been around for nearly two decades and has gained in­cred­i­ble mo­men­tum in the past few years, thanks to smaller, more pow­er­ful com­put­ers and faster in­ter­net.

But de­spite its phe­nom­e­nal growth and huge im­pact, IoT it is still con­sid­ered an “emerg­ing” tech­nol­ogy whose full po­ten­tial we are far from tap­ping. nu­mer­ous warn­ing sign­boards, we still av­er­age two cases per month, but these are two too many, con­sid­er­ing the IoT is big, and get­ting big­ger.

And it has some in­cred­i­ble eco­nomic ram­i­fi­ca­tions. The In­ter­na­tional Data Cor­po­ra­tion pre­dicts a to­tal world­wide spend on IoT of $772.5 bil­lion (R11.3 tril­lion) this year alone, and ex­pects a sus­tained world­wide spend­ing growth rate of 14% un­til to­tal spend­ing peaks at $1 tril­lion by 2021. This is huge by any stan­dards.

But not only that, IoT is also a ma­jor driver of the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion. IoT, and by ex­ten­sion the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, presents tremen­dous po­ten­tial for eco­nomic growth.

The ques­tion is, will South Africa po­si­tion it­self to tap this po­ten­tial? Will we ride the wave of the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion, or as in the pre­vi­ous in­dus­trial revo­lu­tion, will we largely miss out?

No one re­ally knows the an­swers, but there are cer­tain in­di­ca­tors. We can start with a few ques­tions like: do our schools teach kids com­puter sci­ence skills? Do our kids learn about cod­ing, ro­bot­ics and IoT?

Do our uni­ver­si­ties pro­duce soft­ware de­vel­op­ers and engi­neers who are ready for the Fourth In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion? Are our grad­u­ates ready to com­pete in a global arena? Is there a thriv­ing start-up com­mu­nity fo­cused on IoT?

If our an­swers are in the neg­a­tive, then we are in se­ri­ous trou­ble.

We want to reach as many cus­tomers as we can with this in­cred­i­ble tech­nol­ogy MooMon­i­tor is a tiny im­plant that con­stantly mon­i­tors each cow, keep­ing a close watch on its health, move­ments and stress lev­els.

in­con­ve­nience and the risk to pub­lic safety,” said An­drews.

The first phase of this sys­tem, com­pleted last year, cov­ered the north­bound ap­proach on Main Road, which saw a re­duc­tion in the num­ber of crashes, and this led to the roll-out of phase two along Baden Pow­ell Drive.

The 3D laser-de­tec­tion sys­tem mea­sures the height of ev­ery ve­hi­cle ap­proach­ing the bridge. Should it de­tect that the high­est point of a ve­hi­cle in ei­ther of the two lanes is greater than 2.5m from the road sur­face, a warn­ing sys­tem is ac­ti­vated, which in turn trig­gers two bright orange flash­ing bea­cons on a warn­ing sign­board.

The bea­cons re­main flash­ing for about 30 sec­onds to in­di­cate to the driver that an al­ter­nate route should be used and that the ve­hi­cle is too high to pass un­der the rail­way bridge. |

NEW tech­nol­ogy aims to pre­vent ve­hi­cles crash­ing into over­head bridges. |

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