Vehicle counts, traffic slow-downs and other pieces of data central to traffic management may one day be gleaned from a city’s fiber-optic communications network. Verizon and technology company NEC have been leading research into the concept of turning a fiber network into one big sensor, picking up vibrations and offering insight into the size of vehicles, their directions, speeds and more. The telecom's fiber infrastructure, coupled with optical sensor technology and artificial intelligence software from NEC, has led to the kinds of traffic and other insights generally derived from strategically placed sensors trained to pick up this activity.
“It’s different from most point-sensors in that I can only sense one particular spot, and I can’t really change it. Here I can measure anywhere along that fiber,” said Glenn Wellbrock, Verizon's director of Optical Transport Network Architecture, Design and Planning, in an interview with Government Technology last month.
“Although we are still in the trial phase for these technologies, and there still remains a great deal to be decided in terms of business models, we do see a great deal of potential,” said Joseph Jasper, manager of corporate communications at NEC.
Verizon Wants to Turn Fiber Networks into Citywide Sensors
Government Technology November 13, 2019