When I look back years ago, many of the foreign movies and TV shows we watched, tried get us use to serious technological developments we are familiar today. Most of our elders did comment at that time “no way”, “impossible”, “all fairy tales” etc. Today we are used to see a space travel, autonomous cars, robots, human like robots, systems which monitors all our moves, even our dreams.
All of those are familiar and we prepare ourselves to see some of the development of the near future. To get a view on the near and far future, I suggest you to read “the Future of Physics” by Prof. Dr. Michio Kaku.
The “Internet of Things” exactly do hit us with a similar effect. With the deployment of 4 G and new generation networks, things which were impossible to imagine, will become usual activities for our children and may be even for us.
What is delivered to us?
In one of my previous articles, I tried to summarize some of the enhancements we can expect very soon, saving time, efforts, money, resources and speed are some of the benefits to expect tomorrow. We can see that some of the mobile operators today uses more than just one IoT environment, some others believe in one single method. In this article, I like to speak about some of the use cases in a simple structure.
The question of where to use is irrelevant, we should ask where we can’t use IoT. IoT is almost everywhere in business and daily life, in traffic, on the road as pedestrian, at the airport, at office, at daily routines, healthcare etc. as mentioned before almost everywhere.
Most of the applications ready today and used commercially are focused on Smart City solutions like public transportation, street lighting, waste collection, parking management and so on. But not limited to such, even personal or common usage like smart houses & buildings, personal or thing tracking, storage management, personal and building security solutions, agriculture solutions etc. all possible today with IoT applications.
Let us look into some of the use cases for today.
IoT and Public Transportation
For those who are using public transportation, you know how hard it is, waiting for the vehicle to come, those who are arriving are already overcrowded, others driving to the opposite direction or are empty and not useful for you. I taste this for many years during my university time. Even remember that two of the same buses arrived at the same time at the bus stop, first was overcrowded and the second was empty. Believe me people still tried to get into the first vessel instead of using the empty one!!!
Couldn’t we try something differently?
Public transportation solutions for the citizen
Here is a common scenario we can live through very soon….
Murat, wakes up every morning and tries to make his way to school. Looking at his watch and things how he can travel to school. Then he remembers that he just downloaded the last version of the municipalities public transportation planner. After planning his route, he sits relaxed and finishes his breakfast without any rush. The application gives him the time to leave home, where to change and how long it will take to get to school just in time. Even information about the waiting times (max. and average), suggestion for alternative routes and calculation of the best and alternative routes are present via the application.
Selcuk, wakes up nearly at the same time and prepares to go to his office, when suddenly his alarm buzzes. The routine connection he used every day will have a serious delay due to some events in traffic. The alert reminds him to leave in 15 min to get in time to his office.
Both scenarios are reality of today’s world. Vehicles can submit information about its status (crowd, speed, time spend etc.) and uses different calculation methods to get information about the potential future events. Sensors used at vehicles can give information about the status of the vessel itself and the traffic and other vehicles surrounding at the present time. Even today we are using navigation application to do similar activities. Municipalities can give today under normal traffic conditions about the travel time and arrival at certain bus stops. The only left and not supported features are calculation and inform about real time events and reaction to abnormal activities.
Activities and Services for the citizen can be as follows;
- Plan travelling duration. Based on the expected arrival time, use which route and how (change of vessels), alternative routes etc.
- Bus Stop Alert. Real time sense of the routes and expected arrival or departure times.
- Route / Bus Capacity and crowd information. Sharing status of the bus crowd and availability (trend reposts etc.).
- Alternative route. Using of possible alternative routes, including certain fault durations etc.
- Questionnaire for routes and lines. What can be done differently, expectations, suggestions etc.
- Digital Wallet application. Enhanced usage of a city card (eg. IstanbulKart) including certain municipal services etc.
- Promotion and Campaigns for municipal services.
On the other hand, even the municipality does have several advantages by using similar information;
- Capacity and crowd report of the vessels, based on hours, days, real time and predictions.
- Route / Vessel status, travelled distance, status of maintenance, faults and failure of the vessels, consumption information and more.
- Route and vessel analysis. Overloaded vessels, low capacity usage, demand for additional vessels or algorithms possible to change the routes even cancel some of the lines.
- Feasibility report of collected fees vs. travel distance and expenditure / consumption analysis.
- Travel duration, average, maximum, most crowded hours etc.
To gather most of this information, sensors must be used to collect the necessary data. Not only collection also reliable and fast communication infrastructure is required for a seamless service.
IoT will open up new opportunities for the municipalities and service providers.
IoT and Street Lighting Solution
Today’s trend topic for street lighting is LED replacement. Instead of using traditional bulbs with high pressure vapor, LED’s with new fittings, modules and components will be used almost in every municipality worldwide. Unquestioned, LED’s gave a certain saving in energy consumption (international studies shown min. 40%), but isn’t there more than just the replacement act of traditional bulbs with LED’s? Any value adds we can use as well?
There are a lot of value adds presented in Smart City projects we see in the field. One of the most accepted value add is the connected lighting solution. The new type LED’s are connected with each other in a network and sharing information with each other and the control center at the municipality or service provider data center (through a cloud or any fixed communication environment). All new components can be monitored 24 x 7 x 365, analyzed on many features, lifecycle information and more. Some of the new features are listed below:
- Bulb status (broken, burning time, troubled components etc.)
- Consumption information
- Remote control of the LED components (not only bulb even the modules as well)
- Dimming, shut down or lighten up etc.
- Smart lighting pole or “Humble Lamp Pole” services:
- WiFi connectivity
- Camera control / CCTV systems
- Charging point for phones, vehicles etc.
- Public Announcement system (Alarm, Alerts etc.)
- White Desk information point
- Emergency Call Point / Push to Talk
- Tourist Information Services
- Sensors for flood, rain, heat, pollution and noise
- Closed group support
- Special services (wired or wireless services)
- Communication point for field personals
As you can see, we are talking about more than just replacement of the bulb. There are many value-added services and support for many topics delivered via the lighting pole in field. Most of these services can be delivered through IoT. Also, using of small size solar panels to reduce the energy consumption and / or using energy storage devices to create more value of the pole points are possible today.
IoT and Waste Collection
Clean streets and a good scent are a city’s best advertising. Just close your eyes and imagine that waste in the streets haven’t be collected for days in your home town or the city you are visit is full of waste and smells very badly. What will you think about that city? Would you love to live here or visit this city again?
Multiple times common waste bins will be filled out even before the collection trucks are arriving or not filled at all. Every arrival cost money and effort. Underground collection points are more convenient, but due to underground space and location can be impossible in many place in the cities today. Another funny situation are the waste collection trucks during rush hours. How many times did you confront a waste truck, which is blocking your way and you must wait a whole street to pass it by?
IoT brings also a new opportunity for waste collection. Level sensors can indicate and collect data, whether the bin is about to get filled out or is still available for service, when a truck is necessary and how many other bins can be collected at the same time in the same services duration. The central application will calculate the best route and less fuel consumption to collect waste and keep the city clean from waste and bad scents.
Waste classification services also can help the citizen to decrease waste amount and create environmental awareness at home level.
Other opportunities and advantages are possible on the waste collection truck and its service information, fuel consumption, covered distance and more.
IoT and Smart Parking
I don’t remember how many times I passed the same road and spots to find desperately a parking area in the streets. When I finally found one, I must consider the security of the car, would a truck drive pass by and scratch my car etc. …. awful. Even private parking places and the fees asked for a few hours become a nightmare sometimes. Smart Parking solution can bring in new advantages to avoid such situations.
Some applications available today are unfortunately not real time based or couldn’t support any reservation or similar solutions for the drivers. Another interesting situation happens to multi-level parking garages, where the green light should show the free spots available, but we all know that in some cases this will not work at all.
New solutions, which are sensing the car from the bottom of the floor are more accurate and can give better information whether a car is in the spot or not. But this can’t help the driver to park between the lines accurately so that others can also park as well. This is more based on human behavior unfortunately.
A little scenario for this use case;
Deniz gets an urgent call for a meeting, right after arrived at the office. The meeting is in the morning rush hours and has limited park spaces, she remembered and suddenly takes her smart phone and open the new application she downloaded yesterday evening. Two municipality operated parking areas are available, but gets a limited amount of information. Almost done and about to close the application, a message appears “do you want to reserve any spot?”. Surprised and happy about this, she accepts the offer and entered her CityCard information, which she didn’t uploaded yesterday evening. After finishing the process, she got a message that the spot is secured for her.
You might believe that such a scenario is a dream, but in some cities today, you can check, reserve and even subscribe via such applications through on the smart phones or browsers. Some of those even do have a barcode or a quad code for such services, which can be integrated to a CityCard service. Ferry services today have been started to use quad code services. Megacities can benefit from such services and keep revenue and services quality high. Prepayment as well can be added to this service provision to create new funds for the municipality. In some cases, suggestion for alternative parking spots close to the preferred one, can be given as well and even launch a kind of campaign for new spots etc.
IoT will use its real-time information structure and supports reservation services as well. Municipalities can manage accurately the status of the parking spots, do analysis which are will be the most to use and where new pots should be created nearby. Feasibility and similar reports can be used for future planning.
IoT and Person / Thing Monitoring
Iot can also help serving people or some corporates for monitoring or tracking certain things. Here are some of the possible use cases related to the service which can be provided today.
- Healthcare support.
- Years ago, BAN (Body Area Network) was one of the solutions considered as remote healthcare. Today healthcare services are thinking about under skin sensors. The easiest and most acceptable way will be to have a sensor touching the skin in a size of a plaster and collect information of the wellbeing of the person who carries it. Information will be send through the home internet or the smart phone towards the service provider to track the patient.
- Similar can be done in hospitals as well.
- Elder monitoring.
- Support and track elder people who needs emergency services.
- Part of this also can be panic buttons in a size of a button, watch etc. close to the person’s body.
- Kids monitoring.
- Similar as the elder monitoring. Today’s available application at holiday parks and resorts are used by parents.
- Pet tracking.
- Similar as the Kids and Elder tracking, Pets tracking also possible.
- Recently a dog was found in France, which have been missed 11 years ago and did acknowledged through a sensor on its collar.
- Location Information.
- Using all available and allowed communication environment for tracking.
- Perfect for navigation services.
- Movement sensors.
- One of the most common application today. Most of the corporate cars do have a SIM card which is traced remote in case of an emergency.
- This can be done even without any SIM.
- Performance analysis
There are more of use cases and applications available today, which can be found in the web or even during brainstorming sessions. IoT will deliver low cost, real time, fast and reliable data collection to all users around the globe. You don’t need be in the same city or country to track or monitor, as long as you have a legal communication connection available.
Thing can speak to you … fast, continuously and accurately
Prepare yourself and your things for the future.
Temmuz 2017 / İstanbul