Actions speak louder than words.
So far in this series of articles about the Internet of Things (IoT), we have written about its significance, potential, how it can benefit companies’ bottom lines and given an example of its use with RFID tags.
However it can still be daunting to understand the scope of how it can work and the applications it can unlock.
So we’ve taken a brief look at some devices and applications that are available now to help illustrate the scale and potential of this fledgling development.
The Proteus ingestible pill sensor. A pill that is powered by contact with your stomach fluid and communicates a signal that determines the timing of when you took your medication and the identity of the pill. Heart rate, body position and activity can also be detected. This information is transferred to a patch worn on the skin which is logged for you and your doctor's reference to help identify health issues or anomalies in the patient’s body.
Phillips Hue. Web enabled lights like the Phillip's Hue can be used as an ambient data display (Glow red when my bus is 5 minutes away). These multi-functional lights can also help you to reduce electricity use (automatically turn off the lights when no one is in a room) or help to secure your home while you are away by turning your lights on and off.
Smart Belly Waste Bins. Products like the mobile communication enabled Smart Belly waste bin use real-time data collection and alerts to let municipal services know when a bin needs to be emptied. This information can drastically reduce the number of pick-ups required and translates into fuel and financial savings for local council service departments.
Using networked sensors, cameras, and lasers to analyse manufacturing processes like those from SightMachine you can determine if a part is good or bad based on its physical characteristics; identify if it is the right component for the job and monitor trends, variations, and relationships in the system over time.
Smart Structures’ SmartPile technology is an example in action that uses wireless sensors embedded within concrete foundation piles to ensure the quality and integrity of a structure. These sensors can provide load and event monitoring for the projects construction both during and after its completion.
Enguage offers an electronic system that notifies authorities when a fire extinguisher is blocked, missing from its designated location or when its pressure falls below safe operating levels. Alerts can be sent directly through an instant email, phone call or pager notification to proper agencies and supervisors.
The University of Loughborough’s Acoustic Landslide Detector System called ALARMS (Assessment of Landslides using Acoustic Real-time Monitoring Systems), detects high-frequency stress waves produced by soil movement. They can be used to calculate soil movement in real time and send out alerts to communities before an event occurs.
The OnFarm solution combines real-time sensor data from soil moisture levels, weather forecasts and pesticide usage from farming sites into a consolidated web dashboard. Farmers can use this data with advanced imaging and mapping information to spot crop issues and remotely monitor all of the farms assets and resource usage levels.
Nik Sargent's Bumblebee project sheds light on how the environment influences bees’ activity patterns and behaviours using sensors (visual, audio, temperature, sunlight, weather) and web technology to monitor and record their daily lives.
Whether taking care of a small hydroponic system or a large back lawn, systems like HarvestGeek with their suite of sensors and web connectivity help save you time and resources by keeping plants fed based on their actual growing needs and conditions while automating many of the labour processes.
Hopefully, this brief snapshot demonstrates that the IoT is only limited by the imagination and the potential for businesses that embrace the IoT is enormous.
Look out for our next post in this series on the IoT where we continue to look at how it works and the implications for companies as it develops.
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