The last few years have been beyond challenging, with a global pandemic, weather events, civil unrest in overcrowded cities, and gridlock in Washington DC causing polarization at nearly every level of government.
Yesterday, the President of the United States signed into law an epic infrastructure bill, negotiated successfully in the House of Representatives, and today – it's time to roll up our sleeves.
There is not a single vertical industry or element of the infrastructure bill that would not benefit by thinking through how "edge" computing positively impacts the intended results. Here are a few examples of that thinking:
For roads, bridges, and major infrastructure projects: consider the supply chain requirements and how edge computing and connectivity can dramatically improve visibility into the supply chain for design, engineering, materials, parts, construction, and more. With access to 5G broadband, we are building smarter infrastructure – with intelligence built-in that can track for decades to come the health of every new infrastructure development put in place.
Connecting systems at the edge will extend the life of what we invest in today.
Will be allocated to modernize public transit, according to the text of the bill. Those funds are earmarked to repair and upgrade existing infrastructure, make stations accessible to everybody, including the disabled, bring transit service to new communities, and modernize rail and bus fleets, including replacing thousands of vehicles with zero-emission models. Imagine the positive impact on the automotive industry, among others.
Instrumenting light rail, rail, bus, subway, ferry, and other public transportation systems will give the US a competitive edge in providing safe, accessible, quality, and affordable commutes for workers. When we add things like computer vision and other edge capabilities, we make these systems safer, efficient, and more reliable.
Will go to passenger and freight rail, eliminating Amtrak's maintenance backlog, with $12 billion in partnership grants for intercity rail service, including high-speed rail. This is the largest federal investment in public transit in history and in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak half a decade ago.
When our national train system is competitive with those around the world – some being decades ahead of ours – train travel becomes more attractive, which leads to many derivative benefits, including reduction of carbon emissions.
Will be invested in the nation's broadband infrastructure, with the potential to dramatically improve the operations of industrial companies, in small towns and big cities, and in factories and farms. Supporting automated systems and driving industrial innovation, this investment makes the US even more competitive and self-reliant.
Highspeed Broadband, whether through 5G, CBRS, and other unlicensed spectrum, increases reach, flexibility, and control for businesses, farms, and communities at large. Convergence of 5G and WiFi6 brings a higher level of technological opportunities to manufacturing, agriculture, and nearly every other industry vertical – which can be connected securely and optimized at the edge. This investment also brings edge and cloud convergence for deeper analytics, new insights, and continuous improvements.
In port infrastructure.
With edge applications, we can move goods faster and less expensively.
With edge applications, we can make airports safer, more efficient, more pleasant for travel, and exponentially more secure.
For zero- and low-emission buses and ferries.
We can measure the difference with sensors at the edge and can learn in more depth, with machine learning, AI, and other tools, and can make the case for even more modernization in the future.
For a nationwide network of plug-in electric vehicle chargers.
Without this, EVs will not reach their potential; with these, and with data that we can stream from each charging station, we can forever move forward with the Industry 4.0 ideal.
These are just a few examples of how the funding can benefit not only industries but innovation. The key now? To direct funding to the projects that have the most potential to make life better beyond this generation.
We'd like to hear from you about what your company will do to contribute to the creation of a better world, now being made possible faster, with capital from our Capitol, thanks to the concerted efforts of elected officials and agencies across the aisle.
This is an extraordinary time.