Smarter Bridges: The next time you drive over one, think about it.
Vijay Pandiarajan 270003VJ4Q firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  rules management events bpm smart sensors websphere ibm instrumentation business brms decision bridges
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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.
I 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.