A preview of what awaits for us with the Internet of Things

Connected cars, buttons that place an order, parking slots that let you know when they are free… The future? No, that’s today: the so-called “Internet of Things” is no longer part of studies and analysis. Now it’s part of our daily life.

The first edition of the Internet Of Things Solutions World Congress was recently launched in Barcelona. An event dealing with the services, infrastructures and demands the Internet of Things implies. It seems like the first series of an event that could get much bigger in the future. We went there, and this is what we found out.

Health: watches and t-shirts looking after us

The so-called wearables are just a first step: clothing like the t-shirt WBM-Wearable Biosignal Monitor (in the picture, design by Eurecat) are able to register in real timeour heart rate, temperature or breathing. They are beyond just registering physical activity: the people responsible for these pieces of clothing claim that they will detect changes in our behavior and emotions.

This kind of measurements communicates through wireless protocols with our smartphone. And then we can send them to our doctor so that our physical activity can be taken into account. Suddenly, most of the work of a doctor can be received directly by data without having to get an appointment.

Another useful example for air sportsmen and meteorologists: a wind monitoring system by installing autonomous windmills. The one pictured above belongs to a French network, and it collects data in real time from all over the country. The tracking is much more accurate than that of the sensors used until now, and they can also be collected faster.

Environment: smart greenhouses and honeycomb panels

Sensors that transfers a small amount of data but constantly and repeatedly. These can be useful for the agriculture and the environment. For example, a greenhouse can send data in real time about its humidity, temperature or the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. And whether any measurement isn’t within the normal range, the warning would be sent in a split second to the person responsible. The gardens could also benefit from the same advantages with sensors that measure the land’s humidity so that it would be watered accordingly.

Yes, this is a honeycomb live rom the inside .

Even the bees could take advantage of the Internet of Things, especially now that the population is decreasing: for a beekeeper there is nothing better than knowing the temperature, humidity, and air quality of a honeycomb. We could even get live streaming from the inside to see if the bees are behaving accordingly in their habitat. The insects live better and are more productive, and so the professional can be less alert to get those results.

Smart Cities: parking slots with sensors and optimized garbage collection

This is something that can be already seen today: parking slots with a sensor that detect whether a vehicle is there or not. That makes the IT systems of a parking house know exactly where to lead the cars getting inside so that they park faster and better. This way bottlenecks can be avoided. I’m sure you have already seen something similar at some malls.

But this kind of sensors (an example: the ones by Stickntrack) could support many other features in any city. We could get to identify earlier the traffic routines of a traffic network that is exposed to jams during rush hours. We could also reduce the number of garbage trucks by letting the waste containers communicate whenever they are full. That way the trucks will only head to the streets if necessary. Barcelona is one of the cities testing such sensors inside of the waste containers that work with ultrasounds.

Another example of an app that can make use of this advantages: App & Town Compagnon uses a smartphone to check if a person with some kind of cognitive impairment (blind users, seniors, patients with a mental disease) is following a predefined route accordingly.

Smart home: safe identification and automatic locks

The objects at our home can also be connected. There are already domestic solutions like the Apple’s HomeKit that allows us to integrate smart switches, lights or plugs with the iPhone and even to control them with Siri. It’s still uncommon, but the simple task of getting home would mean being identified. Simple actions like opening windows, switching lights, setting the room temperature and playing music. Perhaps this is the most common factor for the average user about theInternet of Things.

Smart work: monitored vehicle fleets and sensors in the office

Lastly, let’s also think about the implications the Internet of things could have at work. If a company has a vehicle fleet, they could be connected and sending information to a headquarter about how much gas they are consuming, which route did they take, the steps to take if the vehicle has been stolen… these are data a company could use to optimize routes and consume less.

Besides, sensors in the office could also have their role: who did check in? What parts of the office are at a higher temperature? Has the movement sensor detected something in a place where no one should be? A worker stood up to stretch his or her legs, how long has he or she been sitting? Did that other worker put his or her helmet on before handling the heavy boxes in the warehouse? Yes, even the helmets could come with sensors and identifiers to inform whether someone has the helmet on or not. The employees could get notifications on their smartphones and so improve their habits. Yanzi already markets this kind of sensors for offices.

Data, data, data

Defibrillators like this one can already be seen in some subways. They can cover emergencies and automatically alert the medical staff as soon as it has been used.”

It’s all about properly collecting the data. Whether it is equipment at home or Big Data, the Internet of Things provides data that is the key for less traffic int he cities, energy saving, better handling of emergencies, and optimization of all services. Everything can be used more efficiently. Any change can be foreseen in our society.

For the companies, it is a market opportunity, and for the user the benefits are evident. That’s why events like this IOT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona could get to be so important as the Mobile World Congress in a few years.

Image | wwworks

Originally published at www.xataka.com.

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