How IoT will fight fires, combat sexual harassment and light our cities efficiently

Our IoT residency program is underway and we’re extremely proud of it. And why wouldn’t we be? With startups hailing from everywhere from Lagos to Lublin, we’re confident we’re helping develop some of the world’s leading IoT solutions alongside the good folks at Deutsche Telekom’s IoT creators.

In our three part series about the future of IoT, we’ve looked at how IoT could eradicate needless deaths in the developing world and get rid of workplace boredom. We wanted to use this segment to examine how IoT will revolutionize our experiences of the city and going into nature alike.

ON THE STREETS

The Not Just A Jewel bracelet in white

Can IoT make us safer or our experience of being out and about more seamless? We chatted to Daria Stepanova, who co-founded Not Just A Jewel, a startup aiming to address the problem of violence and sexual harassment (“80% of all women feel unsafe in everyday situations.”) through an IoT bracelet where users can send their location in an emergency within seconds from their wrist as well as activating either a loud or silent alarm. 

We also spoke to Pawel Bedra, a new business developer at mTap Smart City – a startup which aims to address an awkward fact: in most European cities, just one person is responsible for street lighting (meaning one person is responsible for over 250,000 euros in power costs each year). mTap Smart City Data Platform allows users to manage smart city lights and garbage efficiency.

How does IoT improve cities?

Pawel (mTap Smart City): In many ways! Such as giving those looking after the city better control of their assets, giving them control remotely (and so saving time since they don’t have to visit a location to make changes) and allowing for monitoring. So in a nutshell, I’d argue IoT gives users better control and monitoring of city assets. It means that citizens have access to a better quality of services and municipalities have less work to get through.

Daria (Not Just A Jewel): Yeah, I’d agree! In terms of the big picture, IOT makes a lot of sense when used to improve any kind of management system. For example, helping to make buildings more energy efficient, or to monitor purchases in combination with a proper waste management system. With IoT systems we have the chance to replace obsolete systems and to reduce the number of errors. That’s got to be a win!

The mTap Smart City team

Interesting! But to refocus on us, not on places: how does IoT make our lives outside of our homes safer or more efficient?

Daria (Not Just A Jewel): I see the benefits of IoT all around us. For example when it comes to city planning it starts with a smart lightning system – hi mTap SMart City! – that can improve safety in urban spaces. But IoT can also improve our quality of life also when used for personal reasons. Making items you use daily, like in our case jewelry, smart and able to deploy independently from a smartphone, gives the user the chance to choose solutions suitable to his or her needs.

Pawel (mTap Smart City): That’s a great idea. But to return to my area of expertise: in the case of smart lighting, it means we can light roads and pavements more cheaply and securely. What do I mean by securely? It means we know where lamps are located and can quickly react to any issue. It also helps to keep maintenance work up to date and more efficient. Besides this, systems which support IoT devices save people time which they can then spend on other duties and IoT will cover the rest of the work. 

IN THE NATURAL WORLD

We spoke to Konrad Zuchniak, a co-founder and data scientist at FireFinder, a dense network of IoT detectors which detect fire at an early stage. FireFinder sensors constantly monitor the air in search of anomalies and if trace amounts of smoke are detected, neighbouring sensors are triggered for more frequent measurements. If a threat is confirmed, fire services will be alerted automatically.

How can we use IoT to fight the effects of climate change?

Konrad (Firefinder): FireFinder is an excellent example of how IoT can be deployed in the fight against climate change. Here, we not only monitor the world around us, but are also able to act quickly. In general, it seems to me like IoT will be a great tool for monitoring all kinds of environmental parameters, from the quality of water in lakes, seas and oceans to the nutrient content of the soil. 

IoT is a powerful tool that I believe will enable agriculture to transition to the 21st century. Due to this, we are also working on IoT solutions for agriculture that will enable real-time monitoring of parameters related to plant cultivation. I believe that a data-driven economy is possible that will enable a significant reduction in natural resources, a reduction in water consumption, and a radical reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. 

Currently, agriculture uses a preventive model with famers stocking up on pesticides and fertilizers because they lack precise knowledge about the condition of plants. In contrast, IoT enables real precision farming, with the granularity of knowing the needs of each individual plant.

Another really interesting example is monitoring wild animals’ behavior. Thanks to IoT technology, we can create light trackers that do not affect the living conditions of the animal but which will allow us to track the location of individual animals and the entire herd in real time. This will enable us to better understand their problems and threats, and consequently, help us better protect our natural environment. 

IoT can also reach hard-to-reach places, according to the mount and forget principle, we can monitor temperature changes in the depths of the seas and oceans as well as the intensity of tidal currents. In this way, we’re able to provide climatologists with data of a quality that they could only dream about before.

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