Q&A: Kurtis McBride, CEO, Miovision
Kurtis McBride is CEO and co-founder of Miovision, a company that enables cities to reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions while improving public safety through scalable intelligent transportation solutions. We talked to Kurtis about his company, the market, and his participation in ITSWC2022.
Tell us a little bit about your mission at Miovision Technologies.
Our mission is to accelerate the development and adoption of transformational mobility solutions that improve the quality of life for communities globally.
As cities and towns become desirable places to live, they attract more people and more economic activity. That’s a good thing; but, the accompanying traffic growth isn’t. People spend more time trying to get to where they need to go. Roads become more dangerous and the environmental impact is literally changing our climate.
We’re focused on developing the tools municipalities need to address these issues, and we are dedicated to finding ways our customers can adopt these tools at the pace and scale needed to make a meaningful impact.
What current project are you most excited about and why?
Our team is exploring next-generation technology concepts and the potential is really exciting. If traffic infrastructure can make the same kind of software-led leap that we’ve already made in so many other sectors, we can leverage inexpensive sensors and data analytics to address the kinds of issues traffic creates far more effectively.
You are known for providing a modern fix to current traffic problems, how does this apply to the intelligent transportation sector?
Traffic infrastructure has traditionally been very hardware-centric. If you want to add a new capability, you need to send a truck to the intersection and install a new piece of hardware in the cabinet. That’s a very slow and expensive process!
It’s also an approach we’ve left behind in so many other sectors. Think about what an office desk looked like a generation ago – with a typewriter, a Rolodex, a phone – and the accessories we needed to carry for a trip – say, a map and a camera. Each device did one thing and we needed all of them. Today, my smartphone does all those things and far, far more. We’ve replaced dedicated hardware with more flexible hardware and moved the functions to applications – and that unlocked many, many new applications that were inconceivable a generation ago. That’s what I think needs to happen with traffic infrastructure.
At Miovision, we’ve already made great advances with our products, adding connectivity, machine vision and edge computing to the intersection. But, we’re still adding an additional piece of new hardware. I’d love to see Miovision lead the industry in moving to a software-first paradigm.
Do you have any examples you can share of a successful implementation of your technology?
One of our first customers for Miovision TrafficLink – our intelligent intersection product – was Detroit. At first, they were focused on simply providing connectivity to intersections to quickly identify maintenance issues – being alerted to signals on flash automatically, for example, rather than needing to wait for a citizen complaint.
But, the team in Detroit is ambitious and innovative and they quickly saw the value in a flexible platform that can also provide continuous traffic data and insights. For example, during COVID, they used TrafficLink to measure and optimize traffic through the city’s drive-through testing and vaccination sites. We don’t typically think of there being a connection between traffic and public health, but Detroit is a great example of what happens when you give smart, innovative traffic engineers more capable tools.
What are Miovision Technologies biggest opportunities in the next 1-2 years?
In the twentieth century, traffic management was often about moving more vehicles, faster. But, that paradigm is changing quickly. We’re seeing many cities adopt ambitious active transportation plans, looking to encourage space and environmentally-friendly modes like walking and cycling.
As they roll out these initiatives, the questions will be – what’s working? Where are there small changes that could make a big impact making active modes more attractive for shorter trips? What changes need to be made to make streets safe for all road users?
Our technology excels at providing rich, accurate multimodal traffic data and analytics and we think that’s exactly what customers will be looking for.
What are you most looking forward to for ITS World Congress 2022 in Los Angeles? What can we expect to learn from your team on-site at #ITSWC2022?
I’ll be talking more about how we can shift to a software-led paradigm on Wednesday, September 21 at the Education Stage. My presentation is titled Accelerating Towards a Better Future and I’m looking forward to a lively discussion afterwards.
We’ll also have an exciting announcement of one of our key products to share – if you’re curious, head down to our booth #1923 at the show to learn more.