Perhaps you’ve seen the IBM, CISCO and General Electric ads and dialogue regarding Smart Infrastructure. These initiatives are aimed at combining infrastructure maintenance and management with communications and sensors, and the New York Times just published a piece that likens the market opportunity to all of the Internet.
“In the mid-1990s, the Internet took off because its technological time had come. Years of steady progress in developing more powerful and less expensive computers, Web software and faster communications links finally came together. A similar pattern is emerging today, experts say, for what is being called smart infrastructure.”
The beauty of this movement is the focus on environmental benefits, and innovations that breed enhanced efficiency. The highest profile effort here is the smart grid, a plan to greatly improve electric transmission, but the opportunity also extends to include intelligent transportation, improved distribution, streamlined commuter traffic, and better water management. At present these efforts are largely within the applied research arms of these large technology integrators, but the opportunity will expand to perhaps support an entire industry unto itself.
Clearly smart infrastructure relies heavily on geographic information systems as a foundational piece, and some geospatial industry players are clearly focused on this opportunity. It will be interesting to follow the developments to see new alliances form and new solutions come to market.
This all sounds so familiar, as we’ve been focused on this potential since we started V1 Magazine. It’s nice to see the growing momentum and the umbrella term of smart infrastructure emerge.