The Internet of Things has made inroads in many different sectors, and some government agencies are using it in practical ways. For IoT, the highest profile projects often get the most attention, but some smaller, under-the-radar uses for it are worth mentioning. Let’s take a moment to examine three ways that the government is using the Internet of Things to their advantage.
The LCRA is the Lower Colorado River Authority. They started using the Internet of Things long before the term was in widespread use. Decades ago, they installed sensors along the Colorado River in Texas to track stream levels which could indicate if a flood was about to take place. At that point, the idea that an IoT system was being set up didn’t enter the minds of the individuals who spearheaded the program. Nevertheless, that is precisely what was happening.
The system has become more advanced since its inception. It now consists of a network of 275 connected river systems, which has been dubbed Hydromet. Hydromet can report on and monitor river conditions, and it also takes into account temperature, humidity, etc. It is a perfect example of the Internet of Things in action.
A governmental agency in the area of Tamarac, Florida, is also using IoT to its advantage. The city’s Director of IT is using IP-based controllers to monitor many parts of the city’s infrastructure, which is critical because Tamarac has only 65,000 residents, and resources are limited.
The system set up by Tamarac has been so successful that the city’s governing bodies now insist that all new city construction should include allowances for IoT. For instance, the city’s new fire station that is currently under construction will feature IP-based building access control. It will have ways of interfacing with the HVAC system, access and lighting control, and security surveillance. Tamarac is truly an example of how areas with limited resources can use the internet of things to their best advantage.
Los Angeles is a much larger community that Tamarac, but they are no strangers to using IoT for convenience purposes. Most recently, they’ve developed an IoT ecosystem to monitor the health of trees. Their Internet of Trees project allows them to combine data from Google Street View with an algorithm developed by Caltech. Its purpose is to inventory its urban forest, which consists of some 700,000 trees scattered over an area of 469 square miles. The army of people that would have to be deployed to check on these trees should IoT not be used would be massive. The city estimates that $3 million has been saved since the implementation of this program.
These are some examples of what government agencies are doing with the Internet of Things, but there are thousands of other ways that it is being utilized. These instances are proof positive of how useful IoT can be to people who display a little creativity and ingenuity and is why we focus so heavily on creating IoT standards in the workplace and IoT certifications.