Scooter company Spin deploys at Virginia Tech with lots of sensors and cameras to gain insight

Wired has an article on scooter company Spin working with Virginia Tech to understand the use of scooters.

It’s also an 18-month research project. Of the 300 scooters that Spin will drop upon the 4-square-mile campus next week, 50 will be wired with sensors—gyroscopes, accelerometers, and forward-facing cameras—designed to record very specific data about how the two-wheeled vehicles are moving through space. At least 20 cameras will also stud the campus, to observe scooter riders in their natural habitat.

Ford could be a player in mobile electric transportation. The data they get could enable addressing many other issues in transportation and other services.

Ford has had previous success with scooter-based research. In the fall of 2018, the automaker’s mobility division quietly launched a scooter service on the campus of Purdue University in Indiana. The research there convinced Ford that scooters were viable from a business perspective, says Sweeney—helping justify its purchase of Spin, for a reported $100 million. With more questions to answer, the automaker turned scooter operator is heading back to school.

Troubleshooting and replacing cable modem, Router/Firewall, and main network switch in past 6 months

I run an enterprise class home network to provide a good home office network and support my family. For Internet the provider is Comcast Business and with my owned Arris modem SB6141 which is the latest device that was going bad and was replaced with a Motorola MB7220. Main thing I like about the MB7220 besides the fact that it works is it has security features much better than the SB6141. Logging on to the cable modem I was getting codeword errors. My modem was 5 years old so it was possible my modem was failing but before replacing the modem I went through the coax cables for the house. As part of cutting the cord and dropping cable TV set top boxes I had splitters, amplifiers, and filters that were needed to make the Xfinity cable boxes work. Since switching to PlayStation Vue I can now get rid of all that stuff and have a straight connection to the cable modem.

After making these changes, the cable modem was still having errors and continuing to reboot once a day. Luckily I had bought another modem from Amazon and had it delivered, getting another 8x4 cable modem. Swapped the modem out yesterday. Working great. The signal strength on the downstream and upstream look strong and little noise, and no errors! Looking through the cable modem logs everything looks good.

A couple of months before that WiFi went down. Had connections to WiFi. Checking the IP addresses on devices could see 169.x.x.x which means no IP address. The DHCP server was down which runs on the Netgate Pfsense SG-2220 router firewall appliance. It’s been three years, running 24x7. Swapping out another router firewall the WiFi was back up and running. Went into console to talk directly to the hardware and it was definitely the problem. Bought another Netgate appliance, the SG-3100 which is an ARM processor whereas the SG-2220 was an Intel Atom. The ARM processor SG-3100 feels like it has 4X more performance than the SG-2220.

And a couple of months before that my Unifi POE switch that I had in the network went bad. Got some strange network behaviors like provisioned access points being identified as rogue devices. Taking out the Unifi Switch and moving everything over to a Netgear managed POE switch resolved the issue.

So over 6 months I have replaced my cable modem, replaced my router/firewall, and removed a bad Unifi switch. The nice thing is I could troubleshoot the network issues. Identify the problems and replace the gear. The key was to have other gear I could swap in and see if it resolved the issues. In the process of doing this I have been thinking about upgrading the backbone of my home network to optical fiber.

This may seem complicated, but each of these are components of a home network and there are management consoles that can give you information. This information is free. It is your choice whether you want to work with it and use it. Every device and user leaves a trail of their use of the network.

The slow arrival of AI and IOT to Construction

My friend Stacey Higginbotham focuses on IOT and she has a post on Construction is the next big target for AI and IOT.

The construction industry is ripe for some innovation, or disruption, or whatever else you want to call it. As I’ve written before, there are a host of factors that make the industry tough to automate, starting with the individual nature of each building site and ending with the 20-30 different trades involved in getting a building from foundation to finish-out.

I have been working on ways to apply information technology for the past 10 years and the obstacles are many and hidden from most. It is not just about technology. The people and culture influence perceptions and the ability to adapt the change. All too often what people want that they do not say is they want the benefits of the new technology, but do not want to make any changes in what they do.

AI is disruptive as computers are augmenting or replacing the human decision process.

IOT means things that were disconnected are now connected. This sounds great, but few think about the information architecture, storage systems, security issues for IOT devices. And networks.

2 years ago I updated Stacey on the insights we have figured out and the ways to address the opportunity.

The one thing I have learned and accept is it is a slow process to introduce things like AI and IOT. They are simply tools in the overall system that needs to support a new business model. Inject AI and IOT into old business models will almost guarantee failure or limited progress.

One of these days Stacey and I will connect and discuss more. What is convenient is we are now separated by 30 miles and a ferry ride across the Puget Sound.

If you want to keep up to speed on IOT and Stacey’s podcast with her and Kevin Tofel. Note: I had the pleasure of working with Stacey and Kevin when we were all with GigaOm.

When will construction workers be like NBA players who trust the data?

Construction is ripe for change. One of the industries with the biggest adoption of data science are professional sports and NBA basketball is constantly covered. WSJ has an article that shows how one player trusted the data.

What happened next would change Admiral Schofield’s life. He spent months tinkering with his mechanics until he was no longer shooting moonballs. As his shooting angle came down, his shooting percentage went up. Schofield made 30% of his 3-pointers as a freshman and 41% over the next three years.

“The most common quote I hear, whether it’s a middle-school coach, high-school coach, college or NBA, is that today’s players will not argue with a computer,” Carter said.

What has made this possible is an automated data entry system for recording basketball as events. It is relatively simple. Just track all the players and the ball in a fixed geometry space. Cameras and other sensors log all this activity. Basketball is so much easier than other sports with 5 players per team on a basketball court and it is indoor sport which makes the camera and sensor setup easier.

Part of the fun I have been having is chatting with multiple people who think this same way and get how it could apply to construction. What I laugh at on a regular basis though is what is required to process this information. HD compressed video is 4 mbps stream. 4K is 16 mbps. If you think you will send this to the cloud you will be paying insane transport costs up and down to process the data. Video image processing in the cloud is expensive.

On devices and the edge makes so much more sense.