Chip makers Qualcomm and Intel become smart city coaches

Fri, 2015-04-10 06:00 -- SCC Staff

Broad-based technology giants such as IBM, Cisco, Microsoft, and Siemens are often recognized as today’s leading smart city solution vendors.

Yet two other tech heavyweights  -- companies best known for their chip-making prowess -- are also gaining traction in the smart city space. Intel and Qualcomm are now coaching cities around the world on deploying smart city projects.

The move by the two rival processor manufacturers to directly consult with cities parallels their growing involvement and investment in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. IoT technologies support many of the emerging smart city initiatives.

Solution providers and advisors

In working with cities, Intel and Qualcomm officials say their companies are stepping in as both solution providers and advisors to municipalities.

Qualcomm is often brought in to review contracts for smart city deployments and to educate cities on technologies such as remote monitoring and environmental sensors, says Kiva Allgood, who leads Qualcomm's smart city efforts.  In a recent FierceWireless article,  Allgood says Qualcomm discusses various use cases and deployment options and strategies. Some options may include using Qualcomm chips and infrastructure. Others may include referrals to proven solution partners such as engineering firm CH2M HILL.

Rose Schooler, vice president of Intel's Internet of Things group, notes that cities have begun looking to Intel for guidance on how best to deploy network gateways for smart city infrastructure. These gateways allow city governments to incorporate solutions from a variety of  technology partners. "People realize that not one [single company] is going to implement the sensor all the way into the analytics into the data center," said Schooler in the FierceWireless piece.

It’s about more than technology

Like many technology companies that work with cities, Intel and Qualcomm are finding that the deployment progress involves more than just identifying the right technologies. Allgood noted that bureaucratic issues rather than technology issues often tend to stymie smart city projects. Cities often lack leaders willing to take risks and upset longstanding routines in transportation and utility departments, she says.

Schooler has found that it’s important for city officials and technology companies to involve community members in smart city planning and rollouts to ensure a good outcome.

Qualcomm is an SCC Lead Partner, as are IBM, Cisco and Microsoft. Intel is an Associate Partner, as are Oracle, CH2M HILL and Siemens.