In the beginning computers were sold top down, enterprise style; a few vendors to a few customers. It was the era of the mainframe state of mind and it was good. For example the RCA 501, aimed at the executive with an air for facts. If you’re familiar with big data this picture will warm your heart.
Interestingly enough, today’s notion of some off the most mission critical smart city solutions are based on a command and control architecture. The idea is government has to deliver services like public safety and transportation, by gathering enough information in real time to one location so that officials are able to make timely decisions and potentially save lives.
It is interesting to pay homage to SAGE. This one project consumed more real dollars than the atomic bomb effort. It was the first real-time system, because it had to be deployed all over the U.S. and Canada, and it really did presage a lot of the things that we have today.
Why not stick with a good thing? The solution we saw 50 years ago has really come into full fruition today, and is the basis for some of the most exciting smart cities solutions. The 2012 version of which actually comes from the same vendor, IBM, with the same production design. The heart of the project is found in Rio de Janeiro’s command center. It is here that the 70 operators alternate during different shifts to monitor the city’s operation. Over 400 cameras installed at strategic points supply images that are viewed on this big screen, the largest in Latin America.
In the next post I will contrast that failure with one of the great successes going on today. (Cont. in The City as a Platform Pt. 2)