Alibaba Cloud and Intel Make Cities Smarter with Technologies from Cloud to Edge

The phrase, “the more things change, the more they stay the same” is a loose translation of comments by Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, a 19th-century French writer and critic. If that sentiment was ever true in technology, it is certainly a glaring anachronism in today’s environment. Change is the only constant these days. We are experiencing a significant convergence of technology and cultural megatrends, such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), high-speed connectivity and immersive experiences, that will forever change how we live, work, play and learn.

As leaders of this digital transformation, Intel and Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, collaborated to modernize the cloud infrastructure and deliver differentiated cloud services to markets around the world. The two companies work closely to optimize hardware and software technologies across Alibaba Cloud’s data centers.

As leaders in cloud, 5G and network technology, Intel and Alibaba Cloud will promote joint technology solutions, based on Intel Architecture, that are specifically tailored to the rapidly growing international public cloud market. Today, the collaboration between Intel and Alibaba Cloud extends from the cloud to the network edge, enabling new services for smart cities, transportation, retail and more.

The collaboration between Intel and Alibaba Cloud started at the Alibaba Group’s Cloud Computing Conference in Hangzhou with the implementation of Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC). Together the companies demonstrated facial recognition for accreditation using MEC servers based on Intel Architecture. The joint solution provides a high-speed, large-scale surveillance and authentication capability. It can authenticate and track trained faces instantly via powerful and low latency cloud computing capabilities. Based on AI algorithms, the solution provides alerts to take appropriate actions.

The Smart City is another use case that is transforming how governments manage cities. Alibaba’s ET City Brain is a comprehensive solution that captures, integrates and analyzes big and heterogeneous data to generate alerts and reports. The solution uses sensors, video and image recognition to capture data across urban spaces and data mining and machine learning to integrate and analyze these data sets. Alibaba’s ET City Brain provides smarter ways to monitor and manage traffic and transportation systems, power plants, water supply networks, waste management, airports operations and other community services. Some of these functions dictate stringent service level agreements for ultra-low response time or specified bandwidth/quality of service, leading to a design with more distributed computing from cloud to the edge.

Edge analytics requires extremely low latency and provides a variety of use cases for enterprises.  For smart retail solutions, this technology provides VIP customers with an exclusive and prestigious experience. For an organization’s worker management system, the clock-in and clock-out process can be accelerated. The integration of facial recognition technology and access control systems can enhance security within homes and offices, too.

Combining the IoT, machine learning and MEC solution by Alibaba Cloud and Intel offers a whole new experience that can transform the use of data into action for a variety of emerging applications. For example, a smart camera can capture foot traffic in real time while machine learning predicts the traffic flow in the next coming 30 minutes.

For smart retail, an owner can properly plan their checkout registers and placement of promotions to maximize profit, increase efficiency and ensure every shopper has a pleasant experience. The opportunities are endless.

Together, Intel and Alibaba Cloud are delivering leading-edge applications in the area of security, entertainment, and financial transactions. Intel® Xeon® processor-based servers and software development tools enable Alibaba Cloud to offer systems designers competitive cloud-based solution and bring their applications faster to deployment. We hope that you will come see and enjoy some of our many demonstrations at the Alibaba Pavilion in Pyeongchang, South Korea.