Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spectrum Bridge’s White Spaces Database is Helping Make North Carolina Safer, Greener

Spectrum Bridge and the City of Wilmington, North Carolina just added another technology “first” to their lists.

Today, we joined together in a public-private partnership with the County of New Hanover and TV Band Service to announce the launch of the nation’s first “Smart City” services powered by TV white spaces. Spectrum Bridge’s white spaces database and software are at the heart of this network, controlling and managing the frequencies accessed by the various applications.

You may recall that Wilmington was the test bed for the national digital TV transition, which freed up white spaces for use, and Spectrum Bridge deployed the white spaces database-driven network employing those frequencies for the first time last October.

Spectrum Bridge’s database and software are now helping white spaces power traffic monitoring on one of Wilmington's busiest thoroughfares, Martin Luther King Parkway. Traffic cameras are currently providing much needed safety for many cities throughout the US. In Wilmington, white spaces are delivering wireless traffic safety for daily commuters (and in the event of a hurricane evacuation) in a very green way: Laying fiber in this environmentally protected area would have been cost-prohibitive.

Meanwhile, across town, this white spaces test network is providing environmental monitoring, with real time wireless reporting and measurements of water levels. Previously this was a manual process, where employees had to drive to the locations and wade into the water to access level readings. Costs to perform this task made this a monthly effort. The white spaces test network will save the local government (and taxpayers) money in data collection, and provide for faster identification and mitigation of problems.

In addition, visitors of the County’s Hugh MacRae Park are now enjoying WiFi access -- and the peace of mind that comes with security monitoring of playgrounds and ball fields – all thanks to white spaces. You can read more about this success story here.

On hand to celebrate the event today were North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Walter Dalton, New Hanover County Chairman Jason Thompson, and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo – as well as a large group of Mayors from all over the state of North Carolina.

Rick Rotondo, Spectrum Bridge co-founder and CMO extended our thanks to the many forward-thinking partners who brought this test network to fruition at today's event. “We are proud to have provided the technology and know-how for these visionary public and private business leaders to turn their ideas into tangible benefits,” he told the crowd of 130 gathered at Screen Gems Studios. “They know the white spaces opportunity is unique in that it lets them be cost-effective and environmentally conscious while delivering new services to the community.”

Additional services for this test network already in the planning process include the remote monitoring of at risk patients at home (which will result in speedier delivery of care and fewer emergency room visits) and for utilities equipment monitoring to provide energy reduction and cost savings.

I was privileged to be on site for Spectrum Bridge's white spaces trial network launches in Claudville and Wilmington, and have seen the impact they are already having on these communities first hand.

Wilmington is far more urban than Claudville, but the benefits of white spaces for both communities (while different) cannot be overstated. And the appreciation and sense of partnership in both communities has been inspiring.

For us at Spectrum Bridge, white spaces represent more than just being “first”, or a great vehicle for demonstrating our database driven spectrum allocation technology.

White spaces have enabled us to deploy test networks that are already helping to bridge the digital divide and bring much needed services to some terrific people in two beautiful communities.

And that feels pretty good.

- Beverly Lambright

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