Qualcomm has been steadily building up its smart city technology offerings over the past two years in chips and components as well as services.
On Wednesday, Qualcomm announced an IoT Services Suite to aid the digital transformation of smart cities as well as smart connected spaces including education, logistics, construction management and healthcare.
Building on a collaboration with Infinite Computer Solutions announced in June, Qualcomm and Infinite’s Zyter SmartSpaces Platform will integrate chipset subsystems to support middleware, data operations, cloud services, analytics and AI.
In other words, Qualcomm is trying to offer customers, including cities and a range of public and private entities, the whole enchilada of technology and services that it claims other companies are not providing. Perhaps as much as any other large vendor, Qualcomm understands that the smart city technology movement has been an amorphous endeavor and one that is hard to fully implement.
“We have cracked the code on the fragmentation of IoT under one ubiquitous delivery platform,” declared Sanjeet Pandit, global head of smart cities for Qualcomm. He spoke in an interview with Fierce Electronics.
“There was no way for Qualcomm to just sell chips and wait for things to happen,” Pandit said. “We were the first to take the entire ecosystem along with us and say how to monetize it and how to integrate it. We are the match.com of the entire ecosystem.”
Working with Infinite allows Qualcomm to offer companies and government disparate systems of sensors and networks that are platform agnostic with a unified management view of an end-to-end IoT platform combined with analytics and AI. “It will be completely open and modular and platform agnostic,” he said.
Pandit said Qualcomm is even willing to work with chips from many competitors, but he laughed when asked if that would include chips from Huawei, which the U.S. government says pose a security risk. “I really don’t want to get a Huawei chip in there, but if a U.S. competitor emerged…ok,” he said.
Pandit emphasized that the IoT Services Suite will emphasize flexibility. Qualcomm, for example, will work with cameras that a contractor in the construction trade has purchased, instead of forcing a certain device. In construction, Qualcomm will prioritize construction safety and site management with ecosystem member Everguard.
In logistics, Qualcomm will work with Cloudleaf and Tag-N-Trac for management of teams and inventory. In education, OneScreen and HoverCam will be used to enable smart classrooms and hybrid learning settings. For healthcare as a service, Qualcomm will provide direct access to Zyter, LucidAct Health, VeeMed and Ceiba for remote patient monitoring and Tele ICU technology.
Pandit said the first four IoT as-a-service sectors will be bolstered with more in coming months across other smart connected spaces such as airports. Often, Qualcomm would find that airports are separate entities from city governments and thus were not a part of smart city technology implementations.
“This is a key growth area for IoT,” Pandit said. “We will offer support from the chipset up to services…Having ease of use means we are the virtual CTOs, and the one-stop shop.”
To showcase its IoT Services Suite, Qualcomm also launched a smart campus in San Diego to exhibit a 5G network with smart parking, lighting, transportation, logistics, trash cans and edge-AI cameras. The company showed off many of the campus components in a video, including its nerve center—a command and control center with operational visibility across its network with connected sensors and IoT devices in real time. One feature allows AI cameras to be stitched together with LiDar for clearer images, down to one-eighth of an inch in accuracy.
The announcement of the IoT Services Suite and smart campus was made at Qualcomm’s second annual Smart Cities Accelerate Event, a virtual event that includes an ecosystem of more than 300 members, including city CIOs and administrators. Qualcomm is working with JLC Infrastructure, Ignite Cities and Verizon as well.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said the city has worked with Ignite Cities and Qualcomm to bridge the digital divide and improve remove education. Verizon said in a statement that the combination of Qualcomm leadership in smart city technology and rollouts of massive 5G networks will help transform faster adoption of smart spaces.