New device enables Opticom Cloud connectivity at the intersection along with signal performance measures, cabinet monitoring and more traffic data
With the launch of Opticom™ Signal Core – an open, extensible hardware platform – traffic departments have an incredible new tool to harness traffic data from the intersectino and make their operations safer and more efficient.
Signal Core was born out of a partnership between St. Paul, Minn.-based Global Traffic Technologies (GTT), makers of Opticom priority control solutions, and Ontario, Canada-based traffic management company, Miovision. Agencies can use Signal Core to inform decision-making, improving operations and the lives of all road users.
To build this solution, GTT and Miovision created a collaborative partnership to solve some unique customer challenges. What follows is an excerpt of a podcast episode exploring that partnership and detailing the Signal Core solution.
Dave Brown, a product manager at Miovision, and Josh Lehman, a product manager at GTT, were recent guests on the GTT podcast. The pair discussed a new partnership between the two companies that has resulted in a priority control solution with intersection cabinet monitoring. Called Opticom™ Signal Core, this piece of hardware leverages Miovision’s open innovation platform to deliver proven applications like Opticom™ software-based, centralized priority control. It empowers traffic engineering departments to enable priority control and meet their Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measures (ATSPM) without having to add duplicative hardware devices or rip out existing infrastructure investments.
Bill Hupp (host): How did this partnership between Miovision and GTT come about?
Dave Brown: Miovision and GTT have been spiritually aligned for a long time. We see each other at conferences, we get excited about opportunities when we run into each other with customers. And it’s been a long road for Miovision to execute on the vision of these types of partnerships. So, about a year ago we got in a room and said, “Is it time? Miovision’s ready for this; are you? What’s the best thing we can do for our customers?” So, we got together a year ago and we said, “Where do we want to target? What’s the most value we can bring to the market, and how are we going to do this?” For us, it’s a great feeling when you get to work with an industry leader and an expert to bring value to your end customers. As we got more excited about it and tried to figure out what this could mean for traffic and traffic safety, we knew we had to find a way to make it work. Josh and I had been doing that for about a year, and a lot of our teams have done the right things to make sure this could come to fruition.
Josh Lehman: Yeah, I would echo that sentiment. As we started to see Miovision grow in this space and noticed that they had a lot of good analytics, insights and hardware products at the intersection, some of the work that we’ve done with V2I (vehicle to intersection communication) over the years, it just seemed like a great fit. A lot of the data that we’re providing and creating seemed to be something that was advantageous to bring the traffic side together. We have customers asking for these types of solutions. So, this just seemed like a perfect fit that would ultimately benefit our customers and be unique in the market as well.
BH: Josh, what kind of preemption do customers gain from this?
JL: We started deploying our centralized solution in 2012 and that centralized solution was kind of an on-premises solution that customers were interested in that time. But over the past decade, customers have really been looking for more of a cloud-based solution because there are many different benefits that we can provide using a cloud platform. So, the advance images of an Opticom cloud centralized solution are really the ability for us to do these types of integrations, right? Working with partners, both on the vehicle and the intersection side, utilizing a lot of the existing equipment at the intersection and on the vehicles.
So, we can deploy a centralized cloud-based preemption solution with this new Opticom cloud platform without having to install additional equipment and the deployments are a lot quicker. We’re more often seeing that customers are able to utilize as far as going to their leadership or their console and saying, “Hey, we’re putting in these technologies on our vehicles already, or at our intersections. And now we can just add this Opticom cloud component where we can now provide preemption without that equipment.” It’s kind of a transition for our customers traditionally used light-based infrared solutions to more of an advanced, cloud-based solution. That adds certain features such as different analytics and KPIs that we’re able to use or realize for the customers. Getting things like AVL type functionality with your preemption system. Something that hasn’t been seen in the market that customers are now able to see with the new cloud-based solution.
BH: And customers are increasingly looking for more analytics these days, aren’t they?
JL: Yes, that’s a big point for customers. It’s not about putting in a system and just hoping it works. It’s [about installing] a system and understanding how it works, how it can be optimized. A lot of the optimization can be done automatically through things like machine learning. But that’s all possible through these partnerships – collecting more data, understanding what’s happening at the vehicle and intersection – and that ultimately benefits the customer from a deployment standpoint, and an ongoing maintenance and operational sense.
DB: As we started to work through this with our customers, we didn’t expect it to happen so quickly; that the combined data and learnings we found would be so exciting. It has honestly been thrilling to watch their faces and a few of our favorite customers have come back and said, “We didn’t expect this to be possible.” This was a three-months trial; this was a quick setup. I think we installed six intersections in one of the cities in a single morning. And they were kind of like, “Oh, we didn’t have to really plan this. We could have just sent someone out.” So, I think the power of what we bring and the power of what Opticom brings is just really exciting for the customers and for ourselves.
BH: How’s the platform designed to be flexible as new technologies emerge and are adopted?
DB: I have to shout-out our hardware team. Over the last 5-10 years at Miovision, we’ve really thought through our customers’ needs and how we design our hardware in such a way that customers and partners like GTT can come with a single piece of hardware to the cabinet at a price that’s right and then upgrade. So, a lot of what we’ll be doing with the Opticom team is working on, “Hey, I need preemption and alerts and connectivity.” We have a solution that then plugs into that and allows the customer to go, “Hey, I want analytics and I want detection and I want actuation.” And separating the hardware physically in a way that really allows us to come to market at the price that our customers need.
But then when they want to install the next evolution of their traffic analytics, they’re not paying for what they already paid for. They’re just upgrading that piece of hardware. So, on the hardware side, it is sort of one piece of it. And then on our software platform side, it’s about making the data available. Ultimately, our customers own their data, and if they want us to work with the Opticom team (or someone else), that’s great. We’re there to provide the data, to connect the intersection and make sure that our customers get the best out of the solutions they’ve installed. And our hardware allows for many applications to run. As we continue to build out these partnerships, it’s exciting to see how much one piece of properly designed for the cabinet hardware can really bring to our customers and to the intersection.
That was an edited portion of our conversation with Miovision’s Dave Brown and GTT’s Josh Lehman. To hear more, download and listen to the full episode. You can also find additional episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Sticher.
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