The Internet of Things or IoT is a network of interconnected devices, like sensors and smart devices any smart city project will also use big data to capture, store, process, and analyze large amounts of data generated by several sources and transform that data into useful knowledge that enables better decision-making processes.
Traffic specialists estimate that the U.S. is the world’s worst country in terms of congestion, with the average commuter spending nearly 50 hours per year stuck in traffic. This congestion accounted for $160 billion in wasted time and resources in the US alone in 2018. Severe daily traffic congestion has plenty of long-term effects, including dissuading new residents from moving into the area, thus restricting urban growth and financial output. Easing that congestion using smart solutions can alter urban landscapes, change lives and help fulfill the promise of a connected city.
In 2015, only 3% of traffic signals in the US were adaptive. As technology develops, we will likely see traffic signals – combined with other connected devices such as traffic cameras, sensors and signage – reduce congestion even further, helping cities boost productivity, lower CO2 levels and improve residents’ quality of life.
IoT Energy and Water
The Internet of Things (IoT) will make energy and water consumption far more efficient in the next several years thanks to smart devices that allow consumers and companies to have a clearer understanding of energy usage than ever before. And better energy conservation will facilitate advancements in transportation, manufacturing and the operation of vehicles.
How RFID and IoT enable Smart asset tracking in hospitals
Hospital items, inventory and durable assets are equipped with RFID tags, and it’s possible to attach tags to boxes containing medications and single-use items. Readers located in hospital rooms and corridors send the information about the current location of assets. Personnel can track movable assets using a map of the hospital. When a certain item is needed, a doctor or a nurse makes a request and the IoT system finds the nearest available item(s) and informs the user of its location.
With smart tracking, a healthcare organization can reduce the careless use of its property and better protect it from theft. When an item with an RFID tag leaves a designated area without authorization, an IoT system generates an alert notification that informs hospital security about the potential theft.
Automated reports on hospital asset utilization also help hospital inventory specialists reduce duplication of identical unused assets, cutting expenditures on unneeded equipment rentals, purchases and maintenance. Avoiding unnecessary expenses, hospitals save money, which can be invested in new advanced tools and equipment.
Manage traffic and parking needs more effectively
Traffic management is one of the biggest infrastructural challenges faced by major cities. People generally prefer riding in their own vehicles, no matter the quality of the public transportation system, and without consideration for how much time and money are spent reaching their destinations.
The current flow of people back into major American cities has caused an increasingly massive amount of traffic congestion. Several cities are combatting this congestion by fetching information from CCTV feeds and transmitting vehicle-related data to city traffic management centers, in order to help improve road and traffic conditions. Better organized traffic systems mean better flow of vehicles on the road, with fewer idling cars, buses and trucks stuck in traffic jams. All of this eventually translates to lower run times, proper utilization of natural resources such as gas, and less pollution. In essence, the challenge is to reduce stop-start driving, which burns more gas and creates more pollution, in addition to taking more time.
However, smart traffic management also involves other factors, like smart parking sensors, smart street lights, smart highways, and smart accident assistance, among other things.
Energy and utilities
By 2020, the market capital of the Internet of Things (IoT) in the utilities sector is predicted to reach nearly $12 billion. On the relatively simple side, we have smart meters that utility companies are starting to use. Smart meters track customers energy usage and communicate that data to the utility company. This gives the company the necessary information to help predict demand, identify outages sooner and know when repairs are needed.
Smart grid technology divides the power grid into an array of microgrids that can each be managed independently. While microgrids may operate independently, they also interact with existing grid infrastructure. Among the many benefits are more efficient integration of solar and wind energy into the grid. The traditional centralized method of transmitting electric power is simply not suitable for managing a grid that derives most of its power from renewable sources.
Smart meters are widely available Internet of Things (IoT) devices designed to provide statistics about ongoing energy usage, and they allow customers to track usage and use a pay-as-you-go system that cuts down monthly utility bills.
Aside from making things easier for customers, smart meters carry advantages for utility companies as well. For example, they can manage the bi-directional energy flows to and from power grids, and they can foster progress on renewable energy products using the provided smart meter data. Furthermore, smart data analysis solutions can monitor grid usage and make relevant decisions based on fluctuations.
Smart meters for water supplies also have significant advantages for providers, particularly concerning maintenance savings. Analytics apps offer proactive information about leaks and other pipeline failures. And the dashboards connected to the smart meters are able to highlight spikes in usage, alerting companies about potentially necessary upgrades.
Customers benefit from such analytics for utility management too. In addition to showing current usage details, IoT analytics software suites let providers examine usage trends over months or years. The trend information gleaned can then guide providers as they roll out new services, prevent periodic outages or gauge peak usage times.
The IoT is already having a positive influence on consumers and the utility sector at large. As technologies improve and people explore different ways to use them, the advantages will only become more apparent.