Chordant: The Vision of a Connected Utopia

Mika Rasinkangas, President, ChordantMika Rasinkangas, President At the height of the Space Race in the 1960s, the American audience eagerly tuned in for a fascinating view of a futuristic utopia called Orbit City in the Jetsons. Set in a space going centuries into the future, the series had ozone-scraping luxury smart architecture, citizens commuting in flying cars, robots performing housekeeping tasks, and almost everything else that seamless digital connectivity could offer. Although flying cars have yet to make an appearance, the world has already witnessed several if not all of the made-up contraptions come to life over the years with data-driven cities, intercommunication devices, and more importantly, technologies like machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT). Cities have long been moving toward a more Jetson-like future thanks to inexpensive IT, data storage, sensors, and cellular connectivity as well as easier access to big data, robotics, and various cutting edge technologies.

With global urbanization in full swing, more and more cities are becoming hubs for social and economic opportunity. However, the skyrocketing costs to live in these cities, threaten to exacerbate social inequality, hinder economic growth, and intensify crime rates. The saving grace in this scenario is smart city technologies that integrate and analyze massive data volumes by interlinking the diverse elements of infrastructure. The insights gained from the consolidated data can effectively anticipate, mitigate, and even avert several complications such as intelligently rerouting traffic and reducing accidents, identifying crime hot spots and fixing on resources for crime reduction.

In line with the vision of a smart future, InterDigital launched Chordant, a smart city-focused business to give cities the power to unlock value from any data source. The Chordant platform is a best-of-breed, easily deployable platform enabling cities to build smart solutions with its oneM2M standards-based approach, which helps tie in legacy and future assets together in a future-proof, standards-compliant solution. The platform’s simple interface keeps the underlying complexity hidden from application developers allowing them to focus on building applications for cities, consumers, and enterprises alike.

Government bodies all over the world are centering on building smart cities, but a roadblock in their path is the effective utilization of all their cities’ data. To maximize and monetize their data, cities can rely on Chordant’s robust, collaborative, interoperable ecosystem that delivers smart city solutions. Chordant unifies all the data assets into one environment, helping cities unlock the door to innovation resulting in more efficiencies and benefits to their citizens. Having acquired over two decades of wireless industry experience, Mika Rasinkangas, president of Chordant, is resolute in his belief of taking a holistic view of a smart city’s data flow.

Perfect Harmony of Infrastructure

Before launching as a standalone company, Chordant was a business under InterDigital, a developer of mobile technologies that are integral to devices, networks, and services worldwide.
As a global company that is keen on innovation, InterDigital has been instrumental in solving a multitude of the industry’s most complex and critical technical challenges while innovating solutions for more efficient broadband networks and a richer multimedia experience, years ahead of market deployment. “Our heritage with InterDigital has given us a tremendous research and solution development platform, and we enter this new phase with what we feel is the best, most comprehensive and future-proof data sharing and monetization solution with underlying technology platform in the market. Our new structure and founding investors put us in a tremendous position for success,” says Rasinkangas.

Our new structure and founding investors put us in a tremendous position for success

The Chordant platform is the enriched blend of the same award-winning InterDigital products that have won or been shortlisted for more than ten prestigious global IoT awards. The platform is already being utilized in Chordant’s industry-leading transport data marketplace oneTRANSPORT and other smart city solutions. The Chordant platform with its solutions is reminiscent of a perfect chord of musical notes as it brings harmony to diverse data, devices, and services to address the challenges in smart city deployments.

Modular by architecture, the platform is horizontal in nature, therefore being industry-agnostic and flexible enough to incrementally build services and use cases. Chordant’s smart city platform has inbuilt codes for common services, saving users from having to develop software from scratch. The platform assimilates data of any format from diverse sources such as traffic sensors, air quality sensors, or even full systems, through an intelligent adapter concept, which then transmits data to any service or application. To further keep up with the exponential growth of data, systems need to be scalable at several levels, which the microservices architecture of the Chordant platform caters to on a service-by-service basis. With the platform, organizations are even able to share and monetize their data through the oneTRANSPORT data marketplace service of Chordant.

A Trusted Ecosystem for Innovation

The oneTRANSPORT data marketplace is a commercial service that features an actively expanding ecosystem enabling data to be shared within it, unlocking innovation, enabling new intelligent mobility services, and ultimately advancing economic growth. Operating on the Chordant platform, the service unlocks a new generation of intelligent transport and smart city benefits. The marketplace unveils hidden data from a myriad of closed, siloed systems while enabling organizations to consume real-time and historical data for the creation of new data-driven digital transport solutions.

In their quest to enable smart city collaborative services, Chordant was the vendor of choice for Amey Consulting and the Midlands Future Mobility (MFM) consortium who selected Chordant’s oneTRANSPORT to serve as the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) data hub for the West Midlands facility in the UK. MFM is an amalgamation of services and infrastructure brought together to enable the early deployment, development, and integration of CAV-based transport solutions.
Amey Consulting, one of MFM’s key consulting partners, were about to operate a real-time mobility data hub to consolidate, store, and distribute several intelligent transport datasets, to support MFM services. Chordant’s oneTRANSPORT data marketplace was chosen as the basis for the mobility data hub, having already been proven for bringing together, curating, and sharing different, disparate real-time and reference data from existing and new transport systems. “We are focused on helping organizations to unlock the value of the smart city and transport data,” says Rasinkangas.

Team Work Makes the Dream Work

Styled a key smart city IoT platform provider by ABI Research, Chordant joins industry-leading peers like Cisco, PTC, Microsoft and others in the race to address specific challenges that cities face, with ecosystem support, standards-based interoperability, and guaranteed technology lifecycle management being some of the critical few.

With the goal to deliver value-added IoT services to help mobile network operators (MNOs) address complexities in the 5G future, Chordant announced in June 2019 that it is integrating with Boston-based Definition Networks to jointly offer their technologies. Definition Networks is a frontrunner in service capability exposure function (SCEF) implementations guiding the next generation of 3GPP architectures. The resulting solution from merging Chordant’s oneM2M service capability server (SCS) with Definition Networks’ SCEF turned out to be best suited for low power wide area networks, especially ones that use NB-IoT protocols. “We’re delighted to combine our solutions with their technology to help provide value-added services to network operators as they look toward the 5G future where the complexities of provisioning massive IoT networks will need to be addressed,” says Rasinkangas.

In another one of their partnerships, Chordant had collaborated with CA Technologies, an architect of digital business software, to initiate the first CA-Chordant smart city benefits index that researches the relative potential benefits of smart city technology in major metropolitan areas of America utilizing a proprietary algorithm. The index categorizes cities by how they are positioned to profit from smart city projects: the higher the rankings, the greater the gains, and the higher the return on investment from smart city-styled projects. The 50 cities were selected based on more than 1000 compiled and curated news articles, summaries, reports, and research over the course of three weeks, including a review of smart city projects in place, historical listings of city rankings, and the ones that participated in the US Department of Transportation Smart City Challenge. The index established its ranking against 21 data points across five categories that included city demographics, city spend and infrastructure, business and economy, and education, among others. The motive for the CA-Chordant index was to introduce cities to the tangible benefits of smart city implementation. For Chordant, the incentive of sponsoring this index was to establish a channel of communication with cities to help them commence on a strategy for smart city initiatives.

"We are focused on helping organizations to unlock the value of the smart city and transport data"

Chordant is helping realize the smart city dream of effortless living where all devices, data, and services are seamlessly connected. With the Chordant platform assisting cities in consolidating and monetizing their data, the opportunities are seemingly endless.
- Kenneth Thomas
    July 02, 2019