Comcast-Pennovation Challenge Winners Want to Upgrade Philly’s Bridges

Back in November, Comcast and the University of Pennsylvania announced the Comcast-Pennovation Challenge, a joint initiative out of Penn’s Center for Innovation (PCI) that motivated teams of students to develop Internet of Things technologies using Comcast’s machineQ network.

On Monday, Comcast and PCI announced that a team of students behind an infrastructural solution called Viewpoint became the competition’s first winners. 

The results were announced after more than six months of project development. The Viewpoint team, graduate students from Penn’s Integrated Product Design and Historic Preservation departments, used the time to develop their machineQ application, which can effectively collect live information on the structural stability of a city’s railway and roadway bridges.

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Comcast to Roll out machineQ Network in 12 More Major Cities

Image via Comcast

The next step for Comcast’s machineQ network service is a big one. After conducting trials of the network last year in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and a subsequent launch in Chicago, Comcast announced this week that it will expand machineQ to cover 12 additional major U.S. cities.

As we’ve noted before, the expansion could lead to an uptick in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that can solve urban problems. While factors like high cost and limited coverage may have previously prevented some businesses and cities from pursuing large-scale IoT solutions, the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology used by machineQ eliminates many of those restrictions.

“We believe that Comcast has a unique opportunity to leverage our existing network assets and Semtech’s LoRa technology, to fuel IoT innovation with disruptive new business models and smarter cities,” said machineQ GM Alex Khorram. “We’ve seen excitement about a Comcast solution that is opening a whole new world of use cases that were previously not commercially viable.” Read more »

Kenney, Comcast Champion IoT Tech at Philadelphia Smart Cities Summit

Mayor Jim Kenney addresses the crowd at Philadelphia’s Smart City Summit, June 14th. Photo by Haley Weiss.

This week Mayor Jim Kenney welcomed representatives from tech and other industries across the globe to Philadelphia at the Smart City Summit, the culmination of a packed week of industry events hosted by the LoRa Alliance and Comcast’s machineQ. The summit followed up the 8th LoRa Alliance Open House & Marketplace, which showcased some of the world’s top data technologies.

While addressing attendees at the Franklin Institute, Kenney, who continues to show his support for Philadelphia’s growing technology scene, highlighted the importance of making the city’s growing innovation space inclusive and accessible.

“Philadelphia is the poorest big city in America,” he said, encouraging tech leaders to act as mentors for future innovators in Philadelphia’s schools. “Over the next thirty to forty years, unless kids in our struggling neighborhoods have access to technology and innovation, that poverty needle will never move.”

Kenney’s Rebuild program, which would renovate the city’s recreation centers, libraries, and city parks, will be an opportunity for the city to integrate technology into those spaces. The $500 million program was approved by Philadelphia City Council on Friday.

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Comcast’s New machineQ Tech Could Revolutionize Philly’s Smart City Effort

Image via Comcast.

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 machineQComcast’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. Read more »