Monday, October 7, 2019

Verizon tests optical sensing with NEC

Verizon conducted a proof-of-concept test to assess whether fiber optic cables laid in the ground can serve as distributed optical sensors to collect information on city traffic patterns, road conditions, road capacity, and vehicle classification information.

The trial used new optical sensor technology developed by NEC with software underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI) for intelligent traffic monitoring including the measurement of vehicle density, direction, speed, acceleration, deceleration, and more. The trial used fiber already deployed in the ground.

The fiber sensing system coexisted with existing Wavelength Division Multiplexing (WDM) communication channels on the same fiber with minimal impact to data communication capacity. The distributed multi-parameter sensor system evaluated various properties of back-scattering light, which can be used to derive the static strain, dynamic strain, acoustics, vibrations and temperatures for each fiber segment. This allows users to identify detected signatures and to translate those back-scattering signals into actionable information over a wide range of area previously unattainable by conventional sensors. With this unique technology provided by NEC, Verizon is able to use existing telecom networks, which were not built for sensing purposes, to generate valuable new data and to automatically analyze various environments.


“This test marks an important milestone for technology that could provide a huge leap forward for those building smart cities and those tasked to manage them,” said Adam Koeppe, Senior Vice President of Technology Planning and Development with Verizon. “Instead of ripping up tarmac to place road and traffic-sensing technology, cities will be able to simply piggyback Verizon’s existing fiber optic network.”

Results from this trial were reported jointly at OFC 2019 by Verizon and NEC (download PDF at https://www.osapublishing.org/abstract.cfm?uri=OFC-2019-Th4C.7).

“NEC has a strong history of leadership in the area of optical fiber technology. The results obtained from this joint research program with Verizon are a great advancement for smart city business opportunities, especially for safer city solutions such as the conservation of roads and the utilization of traffic information. We are confident that these cutting-edge solutions will provide meaningful new value for optical fiber networks,” said Atsuo Kawamura, Executive Vice President of NEC.

https://www.verizon.com/about/news/verizon-and-nec-just-made-fiber-sensing-whole-lot-easier

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