Since receiving a Readiness Challenge grant from the Smart Cities Council in February, Philadelphia has been abuzz with ideas on how to improve the city with technology. And with machineQ — Comcast’s latest Internet of Things (IoT) development — we may soon start to see a fair amount of these Smart City ideas in action.
This week the company will host an Internet of Things hackathon with Technical.ly to give developers a chance to start building machineQ-based solutions. Comcast first announced machineQ initiatives last October as a new business trial venture in Philadelphia. According to the company, the B2B platform, a Low-Power Wide-Area Network (LPWAN) that utilizes long-range (LoRa) technology, allows partners to gather, transmit and analyze data from connected devices all across the city. This means developers that create LoRa sensors for any number of infrastructural points (think cameras, dumpsters, water meters) can connect the sensors to the machineQ network and collect specific data from each individual sensor. The Philly trials over the past few months have focused on use cases like utility metering, asset tracking, and environmental monitoring for factors like temperature, pollution and noise.
In a blog post titled “MachineQ Ready to Meet IoT Demand in Philly,” Alex Khorram machineQ’s general manager said the team has already partnered with the University of Pennsylvania’s Pennovation Center to develop IoT tech. And according to Bryan Witkowski, product strategy lead for machineQ, a group of students at the school have experimented with machineQ, using it to build an accelerometer prototype to test bridge stability, he told Technical.ly.
What they’ve found so far is that, “LoRa technologies are able to send a small bit of data a very long range and do it very efficiently in terms of cost and battery life,” said Witkowski. The simplicity of LoRa technologies means that machineQ is almost endlessly versatile when it comes to its potential applications. “Weather patterns, air quality — we can pull this data together for others to innovate on top of,” said Witkoswski. “There are a lot of data scientists chasing the IT. This is an enabler to get so much more data back to the digital world.”
Where Philly can go with these IoT advancements is a question that Comcast will address over the next week through a series of “Smart City” events, including the Smart Cities Summit and the LoRa Alliance Global All-Members Meeting, both being held at The Franklin Institute. Find out more here.
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