SQLServerCentral Editorial

Practical IOT

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A lot of the IoT devices that make the news are consumer ones, many of which can feel silly and trivial to many of us. How many of us find a lot of value in toasters, cat litter boxes, or deodorant? Even light bulbs feel slightly silly to me as I don't know I've every been concerned about switching a light that I couldn't get to physically in my house. Then again, I don't try to set up holiday light displays.

In the last few years, however, I've seen some interesting talks on how more business or government IOT devices have really changed a number of businesses. The ones I've found that give me hope for a better future are often local government initiatives where the investments and changes are in gathering data from sensors and using those to service citizens.

This week I ran across an article about how the city of Phoenix, AZ in the US is using IoT to improve livability. If you have never been to Phoenix, it's in the desert, and it gets hot. So hot that you can burn your feet walking around barefoot. Sometimes it's not enough to literally cook an egg on a paved surface.

One experiment they ran used sensors to measure how different surfaces held heat, and they used the results to try and manufacture tarmac materials that would lower the temperatures. Still hot, but less dangerously so.

They have also implemented drones for us in search and rescue as well as fire operations. This is the type of device that can literally save lives and prevent costly damages.

The use of technology and IoT is something that has the potential to bring about better service, often in ways that weren't possible in the past. I like that there are people using innovative ideas and products to improve the world. Hopefully we see more of this in the future as more people realize the power of data and the availability of it from new types of sensors and devices.

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