Here’s some terrible news for journalists – IoT is making the world nicer

Nick Booth

The year has got off to a good start. In the same week that Toyota unveiled plans for an IT infrastructure to support a global fleet of connected cars, ISIS showcased its latest driverless car bomb and North Korea set off an earthquake inducing Hydrogen bomb. Three events guaranteed to give the population the willies.

Toyota is looking for partners to help create services for all these connected cards. One of the apps already developed will automatically summon the emergency services as soon as your air bag is triggered. It could be triggered by a crash with an ISIS automated car, which appears to be programmed with duct tape wrapped around the steering wheel and a brick on the accelerator pedal. Airbags might also be set off by Kim Jong Un’s H bomb which, it turns out, won’t be strong enough to shift tectonic plates, but it might set off some car alarms, says Nick Booth.

Those last two developments might seem disturbing, but as it’s the new year lets concentrate on the positives. At least the people involved are trying to push the boundaries of possibility. Success can only boost their self esteem. I like to think that if they get any good at automation, they might have the confidence to try something constructive if they catch up.

That seems to be the way the technology industry is evolving. First big data was used to invade our space and bombard us with adverts. Now it’s being used to interpret human dynamics and see how people can be helped, according Alex Pentland, a data scientist at MIT. Of all the positive contributions that technology makes now, many are a product of how the telecoms industry uses data.

If you are ever doing a presentation on the Internet of Things (IoT), I recommend you head for the HumanProgress web site, because it’s full of inspiring facts and figures that tell the tale of how mobile technology is saving the planet and its residents.

The World Bank says that 75% of people on the planet have access to a mobile phone of one kind or another, with more than 6 billion mobile subscriptions active today (an increase from a billion in 2000). But 5 billion of those subscriptions are in developing countries and mobile banking system like M-Pesa were instrumental in bringing millions of individuals into active involvement developing markets. Those millions of micro-economies have contributed to a massive macro-economic effect.

In 1990, 43% of people in developing countries lived on $1 a day or less at 1990 prices. Today, the proportion in the third world has fallen to 21%. The number of people living in extreme poverty – now defined as being on $1.90 a day – is now less than 10% of the entire world, according to The World Bank. What achieved this miracle? The mobile telephone.

By reducing communication costs, farmers and those in rural areas can respond more quickly to natural disasters, conflicts and disease outbreaks. Farmers can readily get information about when to plant and harvest their crops, so yields are up, they’re richer and more people get fed.

The number of malnutrition cases has fallen from 19% to 11% since 1990. Overall, more food is produced from a smaller acreage than ever before.

Technology and prosperity no longer have to equate to living in big bad dirty cities. The air and water are cleaner in London and Lusaka. Satellite images show that green spaces on the world’s surface have grown by 14% over the past 30 years.

Big data analyses of mobile records have helped to identify patterns of disease outbreaks and automated a response. So fatalities have fallen. Polio has been eradicated from Africa, and it’s a matter of time before it is removed from its last refuge, the wilds of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Measles too, is going the way of small pox.

There were fewer terrorist deaths in 2015 than in 2010, and the decline in violent deaths is even more marked. Globally, the number of people dying violently has fallen by six percent since the beginning of the century, says the UN.

We journalists tend to elevate bad news because that’s what sells in mainstream media. But, whisper it, there is a strong undercurrent of good news and machines are harmonising that positive spirit.

The author of this blog is freelance IT and communications writer Nick Booth

Comment on this article below or via Twitter: @IoTnow_  OR  @jcIoTnow

RECENT ARTICLES

Blackline Safety sets new standard in connected worker safety with launch of G6

Posted on: September 26, 2022

San Diego, United States – Blackline Safety Corp., a global provider in connected safety technology, continues to trailblaze in the industrial worker safety market with the launch of a new connected wearable to transform single-gas detection. The all-new G6 personal gas detector – unveiled at the National Safety Council (NSC) Safety Congress & Expo in San Diego

Read more

Senet expands public LoRaWAN network across New York

Posted on: September 26, 2022

Portsmouth, United States – Senet, Inc., a provider of cloud-based software and services platforms that enable global connectivity and on-demand network build-outs for the Internet of Things (IoT) announced it is has expanded the build out of its public LoRaWAN network across all five boroughs of New York City. Through the combined operation of Senet’s

Read more
FEATURED IoT STORIES

9 IoT applications that will change everything

Posted on: September 1, 2021

Whether you are a future-minded CEO, tech-driven CEO or IT leader, you’ve come across the term IoT before. It’s often used alongside superlatives regarding how it will revolutionize the way you work, play, and live. But is it just another buzzword, or is it the as-promised technological holy grail? The truth is that Internet of

Read more

Which IoT Platform 2021? IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide

Posted on: August 30, 2021

There are several different parts in a complete IoT solution, all of which must work together to get the result needed, write IoT Now Enterprise Buyers’ Guide – Which IoT Platform 2021? authors Robin Duke-Woolley, the CEO and Bill Ingle, a senior analyst, at Beecham Research. Figure 1 shows these parts and, although not all

Read more

CAT-M1 vs NB-IoT – examining the real differences

Posted on: June 21, 2021

As industry players look to provide the next generation of IoT connectivity, two different standards have emerged under release 13 of 3GPP – CAT-M1 and NB-IoT.

Read more

IoT and home automation: What does the future hold?

Posted on: June 10, 2020

Once a dream, home automation using iot is slowly but steadily becoming a part of daily lives around the world. In fact, it is believed that the global market for smart home automation will reach $40 billion by 2020.

Read more

5 challenges still facing the Internet of Things

Posted on: June 3, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) has quickly become a huge part of how people live, communicate and do business. All around the world, web-enabled devices are turning our world into a more switched-on place to live.

Read more

What is IoT?

Posted on: July 7, 2019

What is IoT Data as a new oil IoT connectivity What is IoT video So what’s IoT? The phrase ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) is officially everywhere. It constantly shows up in my Google news feed, the weekend tech supplements are waxing lyrical about it and the volume of marketing emails I receive advertising ‘smart, connected

Read more
IoT Newsletter

Join the IoT Now online community for FREE, to receive: Exclusive offers for entry to all the IoT events that matter, round the world

Free access to a huge selection of the latest IoT analyst reports and industry whitepapers

The latest IoT news, as it breaks, to your inbox