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Smart City initiatives around the world are leveraging connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors to transform cities, accelerate economic development, improve sustainability and provide a higher quality of life for their citizens. To build truly powerful smart cities, an orchestration platform is required to receive, analyze and act on any sensor, device or input.
Smart City Demo – Can it be Done? In early June, a large IT conference was held in Tel Aviv, Israel with the main topic of the conference revolving around smart cities. Two weeks before the event, Axonize was approached by Bynet, one of the largest systems integrators in Israel, and the organizers of the conference with a question – “Can we use the Axonize IoT orchestration platform to live-demo real smart city scenarios?” The answer was a very confident and clear ‘YES’!
To showcase a smart city demo scenario, we wanted to integrate numerous device types from different manufacturers and orchestrate between them with powerful rules and logic that brings value to the city and its citizens.
Connecting the Smart City First, we needed to connect the devices to the Axonize platform. Some devices communicate by HTTP, others by TCP, and others yet by Modbus or IoT protocols such as AMQP or MQTT – the issue being, we can’t force the manufacturers to work with the same communication protocol. But this was not a problem for us.
Within less than a week, 12 different device types, utilizing different communication protocols with a plethora of data structure, were integrated into the Axonize platform, proving interoperability.
In some cases, the device connected directly to the Axonize platform, while in others we performed cloud-to-cloud integration.
The following smart city sensors were integrated into the platform:
- Smart parking (@ASN)
- Smart garbage collection (@GreenQ) – trash cans and garbage trucks
- Smart water meters (Miltel)
- Smart sewage (Miltel)
- Security cameras (@Cisco)
- Smart locks (Pegasus)
- Smart lights (Comexys)
- License plate recognition (HTS)
- Street assets management – electric cabinets, telecom cabinets, etc. (Miltel)
- Municipality call center CRM system (@Bynet)
- Smart irrigation systems (@GreenIQ)
- Environmental sensors (Miltel, @GreenQ) – CO2, RF radiation, air pollution
Smart City in ActionThe true power of IoT, in general, and smart city applications in particular, comes from the ability to receive events from any device, analyze, generate insights and execute actions and commands on any devices and services of varying types and nature. While each of these devices may have a good backend server to retrieve the data and act upon it, only with an orchestration platform that provides cross-application insights and actions on any device or data point is the true power unleashed.
For example, while a smart streetlight system can control the lights according to the actual lighting or weather conditions, a more powerful value comes from ‘CrossApping’ smart lights with smart parking devices to make the surrounding lights brighter for a couple of minutes when someone parks their car.
Another example is ‘CrossApp’ digital signage, with emergency shelters and Wi-Fi access points providing directions to the nearest shelter. This enables the opening of all the shelter locks and sends a notification to the civilians with specific instructions in case of an emergency.
Within a few minutes, these and many more CrossApp rules and actions were set up and tested on the Axonize platform, triggered by events from any device or application. The platform also executed actions on the devices, application, 3rd-party services and notifications such as SMS, email and push notifications.
The value of the orchestration platform was evident and the smart city demo was a great success. We received rave reactions from City Mayors, City General Managers, and City CIOs.