Our planet is changing. An ever-growing population combined with a rapidly-escalating increase in traffic and the number of extreme weather events is putting continuous pressure on our infrastructure assets. IoT technology is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ but increasingly a necessity when it comes to the future, across everything from smart devices in the home, to helping manage the smartest cities on the planet.
In the UK, the infrastructure challenges are ever-present, with a population that has increased by 8% since 2006, motorway traffic rising by 10% and extreme weather events occurring four times more frequently as our planet continues to change. These changes present clear challenges, both to private businesses and to the broader public sector, and planning for the future is a must, says Manish Jethwa, chief product & technology officer at Yotta.
To give our infrastructure the best chance of coping with this new environment, we can no longer take a reactive approach to maintenance and services. Today, a more predictive way of working is urgently required.
Sensors play a crucial role in this process. When placed on infrastructure assets such as highways, streetlights and drain gulleys, they essentially become the pulse of the road. Every minute, these devices feed back countless amounts of data into a communication network, which can then be passed to a management analytics device before being displayed in an application.
However, it is easy for data to become unmanageable when quantities continue to rise over terabytes and petabyte levels, where it becomes imperative that there is a sound infrastructure in place to mediate the collected data. That’s where meta-level data analytics can help. While businesses can use the cloud to help reduce the sheer amount of data that is being gathered by sensors and probes, it’s important to analyse what infrastructure is being used to hold and manage the data.
To ease the mass data challenge, a connected asset management platform such as Yotta’s new revolutionary Alloy can help extract large volumes of data collected through the help of microservices. Microservices are built as a suite of modular services that each have a specific role to perform.
These microservices are critical because they can help drive crucial data to the right places, which then allows data analysis to happen at a more general level. Microservices can also be built for predefined service levels for each sector. These thresholds can then be used to detect any notable changes in the sensors, such as a significant rise in traffic, or an increase in water levels within a drain.
A further example of this type of data collection in practice is the collection of temperature variations within cities. A process which may require a number of different sensors to collect regular readings. Microservices can provide a valuable service in reducing multiple measurements into key notifications of predefined thresholds being exceeded. It is easy to imagine similar technology being used to monitor noise and air pollution too.
While microservices play a vital role in ensuring data is collected in an efficient way, individual assets must be connected to truly represent the value of a network. When connected and placed on a visual map, the status of an asset network can be clearly assessed and maintained to the highest standard. In practice, it enables the asset manager to make informed decisions on each individual asset, such as repairing a streetlight before it fails.
With a recent BBC study predicting that 70% of the world’s population will be living in cities by 2050, the need for infrastructure to become more advanced in urban environments is essential to the development of the even smarter city.
The author of this blog is Manish Jethwa, chief product & technology officer at Yotta
Manish Jethwa will also be speaking at the IoT Tech Expo Global Conference 2018 at London Olympia on the 18 – 19 April.