By Thor Olavsrud
Oct. 4, 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to have a profound effect on businesses and business models. From government, to utilities, to transport and logistics, IoT is changing industries. Here are organizations from five verticals undergoing transformation because of IoT technologies.
The IoT is transforming municipal life through a number of smart city initiatives.
"Cities and city leaders are thinking more holistically about different uses of technology that are integrated and bringing different aspects of the city together into a unified whole," says Tim Herbert, senior vice president, research and market intelligence, at nonprofit trade association CompTIA.
"Improved decision-making made possible through new or better streams of data ranks as the highest perceived benefit," Herbert adds.
A few key examples of smart cities initiatives include the following:
- Water management. The city of Houston was recently losing about 15 billion gallons of water per year (about 15 percent of its water) from leaky pipes. It embedded sensors and intelligent pump control systems, allowing it to better regulate the flow of water and identify issues. Similar smart cities solutions could include: water quality, irrigation, storm water runoff, flooding and household water management.
- Energy conservation. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has announced its new Real Time Energy Management (RTEM) program, which uses sensors, smart meters and big data analytics to optimize the energy usage of commercial buildings. New York State and utilities in the region are also working to upgrade the power grid.
- Transportation. Columbus, Ohio, recent winner of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Smart City Challenge, is using part of its $40 million prize to deploy electric self-driving shuttles operating in conjunction with a new rapid transit center. CompTIA says the system will enable better vehicle-to-vehicle data exchange and communication with traffic signals and other transportation infrastructure.
- Public safety. Copenhagen, Denmark, has replaced more than half its street lights with energy-efficient smart LED lights. Sensors and connectivity to the city's network enable auto-dimming based on time of day or the presence of a full moon, and the ability to increase brightness when they sense walkers or bikers. Related public safety smart cities projects could include video surveillance systems with advanced analytics, forest fire fighting drones and incident reporting and monitoring systems for citizens.
- Environment. CITISENSE, a consortium of 14 European nations, is deploying a network of “citizen observatories” to monitor air quality through wearable sensors. CompTIA notes similar crowdsourcing approaches are underway in Beijing and several other cities.
For decades, energy utilities in the U.S. have followed a common model: big, centralized power plants and high-voltage transmission lines that send power to substations which then distribute that power to homes and businesses. But the IoT may change the energy utility playbook.