Do We Need Smarter Bridges? The next time you drive across one, think about it
Note: The text of this post originally appeared on the IBM Good Decision! blog on May 6, 2011. The author is Vijay Pandiarajan, IBM Business Rules and Decision Management Product Manager.
Ever hear a bridge talk?
Better yet, tweet?!
One of the
most iconic bridges in the world -- the Tower Bridge in London actually
does: @towerbridge. It tells you when it’s opening, closing, and the
name of the ship passing through. A nice tech-enabled courtesy, but
nothing too revolutionary. It’s just information from a known schedule
being automatically tweeted, but it’s the idea that gets me going -- a
bridge that can tell you what’s going on with it.
recently had the opportunity to talk to Dr. Brian Metrovich at Case
Western Reserve University. He really does get bridges to talk by
instrumenting them with sensors.Through these sensors he can hear what a
bridge says about its structural health like “that last heavy truck
finally caused an internal crack in one of my girders.” Now, we really
want to know that.
Brian’s work is as timely as it is
interesting. With aging infrastructures and decreasing funds for
repairs, deciding what should get fixed first is critical. Make a
mistake on prioritization and we’ll have more bridge failures. After
speaking with him, two things stuck with me: we need a continuous
assessment of damage levels for all of our bridges so we can detect when
they need repairs before it becomes dangerous. Then we need to be able
to prioritize the repairs. This is a perfect application for decision
management technologies, such as business events that can help detect
damage and business rules that can act on that information, automating
the prioritization of which bridge gets repairs when.
You can take a quick listen to my conversation with Brian here. The
details of Brian’s research are published in the March issue of the IBM
Journal of Research and Development and you can get a copy here. The journal publishes several collections of relevant research such as this Smarter Bridges work – take a look.
Want to Discuss Decision Management and Smarter Bridges Further? Join the Decision Chat Tweet Chat!
plans to join our decision management-focused tweet chat, Decision
Chat, Wednesday, May 18 at 12PM EST! Dr. Brian Metrovich who conducted
the Smarter Bridges case study, will be joining us. To participate,
just log in to your Twitter account and follow the hashtag #decisionchat