Make our planet smarter with sustainable IoT applications

From smart homes and consumer devices to connected workplaces and complex industrial monitoring, the Internet of Things (IoT) has endless potential. By nature, the IoT connects the physical world to the digital world, providing visibility into processes that was not available before.

As connectivity options become more robust, the IoT world is no longer limited by geographic constraints. Satellite networks can now connect to existing terrestrial networks, expanding the world of IoT across land, sea and sky. Long range networks have vastly expanded tracking options. When combined with a system of connected sensors, this wide area network potential has created new opportunities for IoT technology to make our planet smarter.

By the sea

A healthy ocean is essential for the future of our planet, both as home to essential biomes and as food for the growing world population. In fact, aquaculture continues to be one of the fastest growing food production sectors according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The FAO predicts that aquaculture production will increase by 15 percent by 2030.

As the demand for aquaculture grows, the health of our oceans and the marine life they support becomes even more important. A climate-smart pilot program in New South Wales, Australia uses sensors from ICT International to monitor water quality in oyster farming systems. Water quality varies due to rainfall, sewage and flooding, which impacts oyster health. Water sensors monitor quality by detecting salinity and temperature, and can communicate critical information, including the ideal harvest window and alert oyster farmers when deteriorating conditions require estuary closure.

By plane

Air quality is of the utmost importance, both indoors and outdoors. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of indoor air quality. Whether at home, in the workplace, or in healthcare and other facilities, people want to make sure the air they breathe is clean.

A school board in Montreal, Canada recently deployed an IoT solution from Milesight in over 47,000 classrooms across the province of Quebec. The beauty of this deployment is in its simplicity: deploying long-range sensors in each classroom required an installation time of only about five minutes per room. The sensors transmit data such as CO2 level, humidity and temperature to the walkways at five-minute intervals during school hours. This information is used to implement corrective actions when key thresholds are reached, ensuring that fresh air is pumped into the classroom. The system also facilitates the analysis of historical data, allowing facility managers to determine HVAC repair needs.

Air quality monitoring is particularly important in healthcare facilities. A university hospital in Paris recently piloted an air quality monitoring and contract tracing solution to control the spread of viruses. To simulate contact tracing, the pilot fitted staff and students with Bluetooth-enabled badges to wear in the hospital. Sensors measured CO2 levels against occupancy rates, as well as ventilation changes or malfunctions. Technology offers the possibility of evaluating these factors to better predict – and, in the future, limit – the spread of viruses.

Outdoor air quality is a vital indicator of the health of our planet. Wildfires can have a devastating impact on communities due to the damage caused by the burns as well as the overall impact on the environment. In an average year, wildfires add 13 billion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere. IoT technology can be used to detect wildfires earlier, alerting authorities before fires get out of control. For example, a solar-powered detection system from Dryad can detect abnormal patterns of smoke, temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure, alerting firefighters within 30 to 60 minutes of the fire starting.

By land

According to the United Nations, the world’s population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050. In the face of a growing population, farmers are tasked with finding sustainable and efficient ways to ensure sufficient food production. From measuring crop growing conditions to tracking livestock health, the IoT enables farmers to identify efficiencies that maximize yield and encourage sustainable farming practices.

Australia-based Smart Paddock uses IoT-connected ear tags to monitor livestock and deliver real-time information to herders. Ear tags combine the long-distance, low-power capabilities of a network using LoRaWAN with a Global Positioning System (GPS) to track livestock location and behavior data, ensuring herd safety and health.

IoT sensors can also measure water usage and crop health to ensure plants are growing efficiently while minimizing water usage. Because the soil is not homogeneous, moisture levels vary, which means different areas of a field may need more water than others. Sensoterra’s sensors are equipped with soil probes, providing farmers with real-time data on soil moisture.

A more sustainable planet

The conditions of the ocean, sky and land are all essential to the overall quality of the environment and, therefore, to the quality of human life. Thanks to IoT innovations, detecting and responding quickly to environmental changes allows us to maintain the health of our planet.

Comments are closed.