Imagination is fuelling IoT application

The last few years have seen significant progress made with the development of smart cities and the connected car, with continuing developments in the world of IoT and M2M broadening our horizons daily.

Manfred Kube, Head of M2M Segment Marketing / Director Business Development mHealth, Gemalto

When we think of M2M technologies many, naturally, jump to the most obvious use cases such as smart metering or smart buildings, however, in reality they are much more varied than we could possibly imagine. In fact, the application of M2M technology is almost endless, with the only limit being our imaginations.

To dig a little deeper and broaden our horizons in the IoT landscape even further, Gemalto recently held an #IoTMaker Challenge to try and find out the wider community’s ideas for what they believed would be the next great ‘thing’ in the Internet of Things.

Here are just a few of the ideas people came up with:

  • 3G bushfire alert system – to help fire services detect fires. Sensors would be placed in at-risk areas to help fire crews detect outbreaks, monitor spread to better control the situation and provide early evacuation for at risk populations. In addition, this solution would address some of the inefficiencies of current practices.
  • Early warning flood system – sensors would be placed on bridges to monitor river levels, providing residents with an early warning of any potential flooding risk and evacuate people before it happens.
  • Smart wheelchair – which allows remote monitoring of the health of the user as well as the ambient environmental conditions around them.
  • Smart fire extinguishers – the emergency services always have an important part to play in any city, and this won’t change in the future. However, the way in which they are contacted might.  A connected fire extinguisher would see emergency services notified automatically as soon as it is used. In addition, it can alert maintenance services when it needs to be serviced or replaced. As a result, emergency response times will be faster, and the population will be that extra bit safer.

Other ideas from the shortlist include: sensors in food courts and restaurants, which show new customers which tables are free, front doors which alert the owner if keys are left in the lock, and hotel rooms which detect the presence of their guests so housekeeping can take place without causing any disturbance.

Ultimately, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what the IoT will make possible. And as more people start to understand the technology and contribute ideas new, as yet unthought-of, applications will to come to light.

The questions then, what else would you like to see in the smart city of the future? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to check out our interview with Jason Mitcheson, our #IoTMaker Challenge winner, and the prototype we built of his idea for a 3G bushfire alert system.

Author is Manfred Kube, head of M2M Segment Marketing and director Business Development, Gemalto

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