Technology can have a negative reputation because people tend to fear what they don’t understand and due to privacy concerns. However, not all technology is bad. During this season of giving thanks, I would like to remind everyone that technology can be a powerful tool for making the world a smarter and better place for everyone. IoT is an excellent example because it touches many industries that impact the daily lives of our global society.
Specific socio-economic benefits of an IoT connected planet:
The socio-economic benefits of IoT are becoming increasingly clear as deployments yield results, either in the form of improved efficiency or in additional revenue. Wealth creation on one hand is creating a higher standard of living for world populations while automation is increasing efficiency while also removing dangerous and unpleasant tasks from the world of work. With food supply and climate change putting pressure on societies, technological solutions are needed to manage and minimize disruption and to eradicate waste.
IoT delivers enhanced productivity, greater automation, improved analytics and the utilization of artificial intelligence to simplify and accelerate the production process, eliminating wastage and improving yields – both in agriculture and also in industry in terms of volumes of products made in factories. IoT is enabling lone worker tracking, automation of dangerous tasks, and improved safety monitoring to prevent accidents for improved worker safety.
Eliminating wastage of food, energy and water also impacts society as well as the environment so IoT-enabled systems that utilize cameras, sensors and weather sensors and apply analytics to these data can identify causes of potential wastage and address them before damage occurs. Energy utilization is also being maximized thanks to IoT. Smart meters are utilized to give consumers better control of their power and HVAC usage and to help them to understand the impacts of their consumption for smarter cities and homes.
IoT-enabled advances will feed through into better-trained, healthier people who are able to work more productively and create a society in which there are better work to life balances. IoT allows data to be processed and acted upon correctly for vast efficiencies and new opportunities moving the theoretical into practical reality.
Protection and management of marine and wildlife populations:
Many of the most popular commercial applications in IoT have introduced capabilities that are finding applications in conservation and are being used to help to protect and manage marine and wildlife populations. Now-mature technologies such as wireless sensor networks and GPS-enabled monitoring can easily be adopted to track animals and to foster better understanding of animal behaviors. In extreme situations IoT can be a contributor to the securing the safety of endangered species that face threats from poachers.
The number of endangered species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species continues to grow, with more than 38,500 species threatened with extinction. There is huge potential to harness the power of IoT solutions to improve marine and wildlife conservation projects. The early successes of counting and tracking populations provide a foundation on which artificial intelligence allied to adjacent technologies such as biometrics will be able to monitor populations without the need for human intervention.
Global access to education:
The pandemic highlighted a new range of remote capabilities that enable education to be disseminated more widely, with distance learning and remote classrooms keeping children in at least some form of education while lockdowns continued. This has helped to highlight how technology in general and IoT in particular can enable better, deeper experiences and bring education to more people across the globe.
In the developed world, which also suffers from incomplete network coverage and poor access to technology in some populations, innovation is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and augmented and virtual reality. Advances in augmented and virtual reality are making it possible for everyone in an educational environment to interact and collaborate as if they were physically present and these enhanced interactions can deliver improved productivity.
Celebrating and recognizing the innovations in IoT that have a positive impact upon our world is precisely why we have launched the first IoT Social Impact award with floLIVE, and the IoTM2M council (IMC). The first annual award will recognize IoT projects that combine not only innovation but that also demonstrate significant social benefit.
That will be the big shift enabled by massive IoT. With the things all connected, the data will flow and the insights, benefits and advantages will be achieved. This will be a positive change for society and the world economy. IoT is already having a significant socio-economic impact and we are looking forward to hearing about more projects in this and other areas from organizations that enter the IoT Social Impact Award. Information and entry information can be found here.