This year extreme weather has struck across the globe, placing increased strain on civil protection. Devastating wildfires have wreaked havoc in California and Greece; floods have swept away homes in parts of North America and Japan; and temperatures in India, Pakistan, and parts of the Middle East have topped 50o C for the first time.
To compound matters, populations are soaring. The UN predicts 68% of people will live in cities by 2050, up from 55% today. Combined with the overall growth of the world’s population, this means there will be another 2.5 billion people living in cities by the middle of century.
In the face of such environmental extremes and rising population density, more agile and effective public safety and emergency response is needed to keep the population safe. With this in mind, Intel has been working closely with the ecosystem to develop an innovative civil protection system.
Solution: Digital Technologies to Enhance Decision Making
Sharing data—gathered by cameras and sensors in city-wide infrastructure—over a communications service provider (CoSP) network provides those in charge of public safety with real-time information on situations unfolding around the city. Processed and analyzed by Intel® technology and viewed through a mixed-reality monitoring system, this information allows civil protection officers to improve decision making and better co-ordinate emergency response on the ground.
Intel supplies the end-to-end building blocks of the solution—from the back-end cloud through to the edge cloud and the client. The CoSP provides the transportation network and, together with a TEM partner, builds the wrap around business case to sell to the customer.
Intel is already demoing the solution in partnership with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) software specialist Skydome and a Nordic CoSP using its Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network. This 360 video demonstrates the features of the system and the benefits it brings to civil protection officers.
5G and Network Slicing
When 5G becomes commercially available around 2020, enhanced mobile broadband and ultra-reliable, low latency communications will boost the capabilities of the system even further.
Through network slicing, CoSPs will be able to prioritize traffic and provide individual end customers with guaranteed service level agreements (SLAs). For example, if a fire chief arrives at the scene of an accident and opens up the app, the nearest base station will automatically recognize their SIM card and IMEI as priority numbers. Through network slicing, the CoSP is then be able to guarantee bandwidth. Emergency services will no longer need their own proprietary communications network, as the CoSP will be able to assure service to individual users on the public communications network.
Back-end Cloud Technology
The data center technology stack comprises processors, networking products, artificial intelligence (AI), solid state drives (SSDs), and field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). From this foundation, the CoSP can tailor the user experience to individual customers’ needs and evolve it as needed.
- Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor
The public safety system requires a powerful backend cloud to process and analyze the vast amount of data gathered by thousands of cameras and sensors. Optimized for the cloud, Intel® Xeon® Scalable processors are highly responsive and automated to support rapid and secure delivery of 5G services. The next generation Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor will also include specific instruction sets built into the CPU to accelerate AI and machine learning.
- Intel®10 Gigabit Ethernet Connection X722
On the networking side, the Intel® 10 Gigabit Ethernet Connection X722, built into the Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor, supports remote direct memory access (RDMA) to boost performance for machine learning and software-defined storage. The Internet Wide-Area RDMA Protocol (iWARP) automatically implements RDMA for efficient data transfer, so there’s no need for CoSPs to configure switches as with competitor technologies.
- Intel® Optane™ SSDs
Intel® Optane™ SSDs keep up with the high storage demands of the public safety system. Built on Intel® 3D XPoint™ non-volatile memory (NVM) technology, they deliver a combination of low latency, high endurance, quality of service and high throughput. Intel® Optane™ SSDs are optimized to break through storage bottlenecks by providing a new data tier, accelerating applications for fast caching, storage and analytics.
- Intel® Arria® 10 and Intel® Stratix® 10 FPGAs
Intel® FPGAs like the Intel® Arria® 10 FPGA and Intel® Stratix® 10 FPGA allow CoSPs to increase system performance by off-loading and accelerating functions to CPUs—for example they can be used to speed up facial or number plate recognition in machine-learning frameworks. Programmability at the silicon level gives CoSPs the flexibility to change FPGA functionality quickly and cost-effectively as needed.
Edge Cloud Technology
Edge computing allows the CoSP to bring compute and storage power closer to the customer at the network edge. The CoSP can free up bandwidth by processing applications at the edge rather than routing this traffic back to the core network which slows the process and increases cost. Customers benefit from a better user experience, since latency is lower.
In a large city with many customers, more applications, and more connections, the CoSP needs an Intel® Xeon® Scalable processor to power the edge cloud. Whereas in more rural areas, with less traffic, Intel® Xeon® D processors will suffice.
The Intel® NUC8i7HVK mini PC serves as a portable client for use in the field by emergency services and safety executives. Running on the 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8809G processor with four cores, the Intel® NUC8i7HVK provides the advanced processing and graphics performance needed to run the mixed reality monitoring system software. With a thermal design point (TDP) of 100W, it is highly power efficient.
In time, Intel plans to move more functionality from the client to run on the edge cloud. Making the client software less heavy allows for smaller and more portable machines, and even greater convenience for emergency services and public safety executives working in the field.
For more information about Intel® technology and detail of further example use cases for the 5G era, visit https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/wireless-network/future-of-5g-technology.html.