Although it seems promising that digitalisation will bring exciting and impactful changes in the way we live and work, some may find this new world — wrapped with big buzzwords like the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning — rather daunting.
At WolkAbout, we are determined to show that these technologies can be inclusive and change the world in amazing ways.
Digital transformation generates not only new entrepreneurial opportunities and business models, but also the solutions to some of the world’s toughest challenges. With the power to address global challenges and engage citizens for the greater good, digital technologies are creating tremendous social impact.
In this blog, we’re listing just some of the many use cases where IoT is leveraged for good causes. Dive right in!
1. Connected Healthcare
The digital world we’ve made possible is transforming how healthcare providers are using technology to expand the standard of patient care and help improve outcomes.
The current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing institutions to leverage smart solutions to improve healthcare services and issue measures to prevent the outbreak or reduce the spread of the virus. By building applications that enable reliable and accurate monitoring of real-time data from anywhere, anytime, we’re optimising hospital, patient care, and public health workflows.
For instance, through remote temperature monitoring powered by IoT technology, relevant authorities can quickly screen patients for high temperatures. A wireless thermal sensor utilising modern connectivity networks can communicate temperature data securely to Cloud-based applications for storage and analysis. If temperature thresholds are exceeded, live alerts can be pushed to mobile devices. This should limit patients’ exposure to others and refer them to seek medical help. Also, the stored data on people’s healthcare status can be shared with local authorities, which would enable better resource planning and disease management. Finally, this solution can be taken to a higher level and be implemented in public spaces like airports, railway stations, shopping centers, schools, etc.
And let’s not stop at just the temperature monitoring. Digital technologies can unlock a staggering amount of value by helping doctors gain unprecedented visibility into different health-related data. Internet-connected sensors powered by wearable technology can track parameters like pulse, heart rate, and blood pressure and allow the medical staff to have a clear vision of patients’ overall status in real time. This massively reduces manual work, increases efficiency, and reduces the chances for cross-infection.
Increasingly, digital technologies are also helping healthcare workers monitor the day-to-day wellbeing of chronic patients who live independently. Connected health wearables or wireless sensors mounted throughout their home can alert caretakers via mobile app if, say, an elderly patient under their care hasn’t left his bedroom by a set time. Additionally, Mobile Personal Emergency Response Systems (MPERS) allow users to call for help in an emergency such as a fall by pushing a button worn on a belt clip or attached to a wall. Finally, geofencing, which is the combination of localisation and IoT technology, provides caregiver live alerts when the wearer strays from “safe zones” that are set up in the app. People with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Autism Spectrum Disorder can thus live with more independence.
Geofencing can also be used to coronavirus patients under compulsory home quarantine. Importantly, it doesn’t track one’s exact location, so it poses no privacy concerns. It merely looks at signals to deduce whether someone is inside or outside of the home. For example, paired with an electronic Bluetooth wristband worn on the quarantined person, the mobile app can accurately detect whether the person is complying with the quarantine order, and alert the relevant authorities if not. In this way, authorities receive an alert any time a home confinee steps outside designated safe regions. The IoT data can also help health personnel track down who else may be exposed due to the breach. In this way, not only that the cost-effectiveness is improved, but the whole experience is made more convenient for both quarantined people and relevant authorities.
To learn how you can leverage our technology to curb the spread of diseases like COVID-19, check our blog Responding to COVID-19: WolkAbout Commitment.
2. Smart Cities
With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, cities must “get smarter” to efficiently manage resources, alleviate traffic and overcrowding, and provide a sustainable urban environment. Once again, digital technologies jump to the rescue. While cities are major contributors to climate change, they are also great incubators for IoT-based systems that can make urban life safer and more enjoyable.
Whether alerting emergency services when our wearables detect a hard fall, or using real-time data to manage traffic flows to keep citizens crossing the street safely in a busy corridor, smart city technologies bring an unprecedented level of connectivity to city living.
Additionally, digital technologies can help cities manage their resources more effectively. For example, smart lighting can be implemented for the efficient use of the city’s electricity. The system can dim the lights, turn them on/off according to the number of people on the road, and take the appropriate actions in case of failure, all without any human intervention.
IoT-enabled infrastructure can also help drivers find a place to park by sending real-time data about free and occupied parking spaces via mobile app, which could help them save time and fuel. With fewer cars circling looking for a parking space, the traffic can be reduced, causing the air quality to improve. Also, sensors at intersections can count vehicles and pedestrians, allowing the system to create traffic patterns and then make recommendations for optimising city traffic.
But we have just scraped the surface. From next-generation 9-1-1 systems to smart street lighting, digital technologies are linking people and city infrastructure to reduce energy use, enhance environmental resilience, and improve quality of life — all while making cities safer and more efficient.
To find out how we can help you make your city smart, check our video.
3. Connected Wildlife
One of the wonders of digital technologies is that they are not limited to connecting only devices, machines, and sensors. They can also be connected to people and animals, which brings us to the incredible power IoT can have in saving endangered species. The ability to remotely monitor the game reserves and location of animals on the verge of extinction has given a huge advantage to conversation companies, allowing them to view animals’ health and other factors affecting their natural surroundings.
One example of using the digital power to protect wildlife is the combat against black rhino poaching. The Internet of Life and the ShadowView Foundation utilize LoRa-equipped sensors implanted in endangered black rhino horns to track location and activities of the species. Park Rangers in Mkomazi National Park in Tanzania use this data to strategically position protection efforts against poachers. The same devices are also used to track the welfare of personnel. All the data is transmitted from the various sensors within the network to an IoT platform which then presents tracked items and their status on a digital map.
Another example is related to the key protagonists in maintaining biodiversity in an ecosystem, honey bees. By equipping bees and hives with sensors, beekeepers can track and monitor conditions and receive alerts if an issue arises. In this way, they can track bees’ behaviour, unravel the mystery surrounding the recent loss of beehives, and develop a strategy to preserve their future.
4. Smart Water Systems
According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), six billion gallons of water is lost per day due to undetected leaks from aging water infrastructure. Additionally, outdoor irrigation makes up about 60 percent of watering, and about 50 percent of it is wasted.
Digital technologies can play a massive role in improving water conservation by putting sensors on the ageing water infrastructure to detect leaks on time, as well as by watering only when there’s no rain and when the soil moisture level indicates a need.
IoT platform allows officials to remotely measure, monitor and analyse wastewater and groundwater systems for water pressure, flows, levels, leaks, volumes and usage, allowing them to address shortages, floods and environmental regulations more effectively.
Additionally, in developing countries, many people get water from wells using hand pumps. So ensuring those pumps work is critical. By installing sensors into the handles of these pumps, a repair team can be automatically alerted when a pump stops functioning. This can significantly increase the uptime of pumps and wells and help officials better prioritise and plan the watering system.
Finally, digital technologies can also create a smart water infrastructure. By placing sensors in sewer systems, the water manager can be notified when the sewer becomes inundated with stormwater and then create rules that would divert water from one part of the sewer to another, which could prevent flooding.
To learn more about how we can help you build a more sustainable future by leveraging our technology, check our blog.
5. Safer Roads
With more cars and trucks on the road than ever before, officials must leverage digitalisation to help reduce carbon footprint and improve the safety of traffic participants.
For example, they can utilise IoT technology within their fleet to optimise routing, enable preventative maintenance, minimise fuel utilisation, and ultimately reduce carbon emissions.
What’s more, officials can ensure compliance with the government’s safety regulations, from creating alerts for driver rest breaks to the recording of transport container temperature. In this way, they can keep fleet drivers accountable while minimising risks.
To learn more about how we can help you build a smart fleet solution, check our video.
6. Feeding a Hungry World
The word is struggling to feed itself. To address this and many other challenges, farmers of every size and in every part of the world, from massive agribusiness players to small organic farmers, are putting IoT to work.
By installing sensors in air and soil, growers can keep an eye on microclimates across cropland, closely monitor humidity and temperature in real time, and respond to changes at specific locations on time. By digitising farms, growers can improve accuracy in planting, fertilizer, pesticide and water use, thus saving chemical costs and labour.
Also, soil monitoring systems can enable tracking of the overall quality and chemical composition of the land, allowing farmers to deal with local issues like toxicity and salination as they occur.
All of this can improve planting, production, and delivery processes and help more efficiently feed an increasingly hungry world. In other words, there will be cheaper food to go round, and agriculture would be easier on the environment and resources.
To learn how we can help you build a greener future through smart farming, check our webpage.
Make the World a Better Place with WolkAbout
These are just a few of the ways digital technologies are being used to help healthcare providers, farmers, scientists, municipalities, and NPOs improve the wellbeing of the planet Earth. In the end, digital transformation is not just about connecting things but rather about empowering people to make more informed, data-based decisions about the resources we share across communities.
Here at WolkAbout, we provide strong support to all environmental, health, and life-preserving initiatives. It has always been a source of pride when the technology we develop is used for good, and there’s an impact that goes beyond profit.
However, there is still a lot of untapped potential in the Internet of Things. For the technology to reach its true potential, all devices would need to be able to communicate with each other, regardless of the company or the brand they belong to. What differs us is that our IoT Platform is actually a true innovation enabler, the core that binds all of the digital solution components. It allows your systems and devices to communicate with each other, regardless of the make, model, manufacturer or industry. It also has the ability to transform vast amounts of complex information into invaluable insights which you can use to drive your strategy forward.
Contact us to learn how we can help you build a greener, healthier, more sustainable place for all of us!