The Internet of Things is something that few people think about in an urban setting, but it is still being implemented all around them in dozens of ways. The communication, technology, and sensors that are part of its makeup are embedded in many of the daily activities of life in a big city. Using IoT, passive objects become dynamic and environmental conditions can be monitored in such a way that humans do not need to be involved in such a hands-on capacity. The widespread use of IoT means that systems are going from reactive to proactive, which means problems can be identified and solved much more rapidly than they could in the past.
Many an urban metropolis has come up with innovations in the area of IoT, so let’s look at three of those:
How Cities are Integrating IoT
Cities that get too much or too little rainfall are getting a lot of use from the Internet of Things. California is a prime example, as all across the state, communities large and small are planning and managing irrigation using IoT. Places that are prone to drought are effectively allocating their scarce resources, and they are facilitating water conservation however they can. In areas that have the opposite problem, wastewater management during storms is a constant issue, and flooding of rivers and lakes is a threat. IoT is helping city officials prepare for storms more effectively by linking systems that monitor the weather so that overflow in sewers can be better controlled and the pollution of waterways can be minimized.
Many cities around the world from Dublin to Chicago have set up city-wide sensor networks and partnered with research institutes and corporations. Lampposts come equipped with sensors that can monitor outside temperature, air quality, and noise pollution. This data will be used by the governing bodies of these cities, along with their partners, to make predictions about pedestrian and vehicle congestion which can be used to manage incidents, and identify patterns in microclimates. They also feed this data into portals which are available to the public. Citizens can take an active part in tracking and responding to local environmental issues this way.
The energy grid of major cities can also be monitored and controlled through IoT. Meters that control smart grids have been set up in such a way that governing bodies can see which buildings are being prudent about their energy uses, and which ones need to take steps to curb theirs. Outages can be predicted, and actions can be taken to prevent them before they occur. Sustainable energy sources are also being added to the grid and monitored in an experimental capacity. This data will no doubt prove useful for city planning in the years to come.
The use of IoT systems in urban planning and monitoring is only going to become more widespread. Many of these systems won’t be easy to detect with the naked eye, but they will be in place, and their safety and management applications will allow many processes to run more smoothly. It’s yet another example of the Internet of Things being used in a modern setting for the benefit of all of us.