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Cities: Are you putting your intelligence where it belongs? (At the edge)

Submitted by jesse_berst on October 15, 2014

Image removed.In the early days of this "Internet of Things" (IoT) revolution, most of the intelligence sat in the center of the network in the form of large computers. As we move forward, however -- as we transition from thousands to millions to billions of connected devices -- the centralized approach has to change. We simply don't have the network bandwidth for every sensor to send every signal all the way back to the center. Or the time to wait for the Big Brain to process that signal and send back instructions.

Instead, we need to put intelligence at the edges. The Big Brain still has a role, of course. It sets the general policies and parameters, adjusting them constantly to optimize the system as a whole. But the moment-by-moment decisions are increasingly made by smart devices at the edges. Then those devices send back summaries, exceptions and alerts so the Big Brain is up to date.

Okay, fine in theory, but just how does this work in practice? Glad you asked, because Council Lead Partner Itron has just released a new edge intelligence platform that lets companies put this concept to work. In true collaborative Council fashioned, it is based on open standards IPv6 network and IOx fog computing pioneered by Cisco, another of the Council's founding members. 

It truly is a breakthrough. Whether or not you use technology from Itron and Cisco, you definitely should be using this approach. -- Jesse Berst

Itron Riva is the Liberty Lake, Washington company's new edge intelligence platform that supports sensing technologies and dynamic applications at the device level.

The Itron Riva platform enables easy integration of third-party devices, creating numerous possibilities for realizing the promise of the IoT to empower smarter utilities and smarter cities worldwide. Itron Riva also embeds an operating system and processor into field devices and sensors, enabling real-time decision-making at the device level.

Action at the edge:

    • Reduces network traffic
    • Eases the burden of transmitting high volumes of data back to the utility for analysis
    • Minimizes human intervention to perform tasks that can now be automated

“From utilities to smart cities and far beyond, Itron Riva harnesses the power of edge intelligence while taking advantage of the plug and play capabilities of Cisco’s open ecosystem, making every system more resourceful than ever before,” said Simon Pontin, Itron’s chief technology officer. “As a leading technology provider to utilities around the world, Itron is uniquely qualified to deliver this edge intelligence, building on our relationship with Cisco. With Itron Riva, we are accelerating information sharing and decision processes to improve the efficiency of our world.”

Added Kip Compton, VP, IoT Systems & Software Group at Cisco : “The connectivity of the IoT means more data, gathered from more places, with more ways to increase efficiency and improve safety and security. We are proud to work with companies like Itron to create an ecosystem addressing today’s biggest IoT challenges.”


Jesse Berst is the founding Chairman of the Smart Cities Council. Click to learn about the benefits you receive when you join the Council for free. Follow @Jesse_Berst and connect on LinkedIn.