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An Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT)

What exactly is the Internet of Things, and how does it work? Good Question! The Internet of Things is a network of physical devices and appliances such as cars, homes, lights, and  other items that have been embedded with sensors or chips which allow them to connect and exchange data. Now you may be asking yourself, “why?”. Well, These newly installed chips allow devices to collect data that may be useful for operators to better understand the world around them. The data these items collect  may differ greatly depending on its function. For instance, a parking sensor may be concerned with how long a car has been in a parking spot, or how often that spot is taken. On the other hand, a watering sensor may be concerned with what time of day it is, or how hot it is outside. Each device communicates these data points across the LoRa network, allowing users to collect important information regarding the environment. Read below to discover more IoT Use Cases.

IoT Use Cases

Smart City

Smart Cities and The Internet of Things

There is a strong correlation between Smart Cities and the Internet of Things. Most IoT Devices work within the smart city network, transmitting data across gateways using LoRaWAN. In a well designed city network, much of the cities infrastructure is equipped with smart devices, which can interpret data coming from their environment. This data is then sent to a gateway, which broadcasts the information to a network management software, or NMS. The NMS acts as the midpoint between end users and the devices themselves. Using the NMS, clients can track device performance, location, usage, and much more. Below is a graphic visualizing some smart city devices, and their role in the cities function.

IoT Use Cases

Smart Street Lights



Intelligent light poles can increase urban efficiency while reducing energy costs. Intelligent, or multifunctional light poles, can help solve many urban problems due to their ability to incorporate software controls, electronics and sensors that can receive and transmit data.They can improve parking and traffic management through real-time data, leading to a reduction in congestion and emissions. Intelligent poles can also monitor air quality, detect and notify officials about street flooding or be turned into charging stations for electric vehicles.
The smart poles have been designed from conception with modular multi-functional components. There is no limit to the potential features and functions that can be integrated into the intelligent light poles. They can easily retrofit a myriad of new and evolving technologies and devices as they become available.

Smart Parking

Smart Parking initiatives continue to evolve, combining innovation and the newest technology for more efficient parking management. Smart parking can change the landscape of the smart city. With improved parking efficiency, traffic throughout cities will flow more freely, and allow citizens to find available parking with ease. For cities, new parking initiatives will help them understand their parking needs and usage. Sensors will allow them to keep track of peak parking times, parking densities for different neighborhoods, and much more.
The Sensors are linked to the LoRaWAN network, A low powered,Long Range wide area network that connects millions of devices to the internet of things. To learn more about the LoRa Network, visit our informational page

Smart Metering Systems

Unlike outdated analog meters that require manual readings and estimation, smart meters effectively and accurately track electricity, gas, and water usage and automatically send this detailed usage information to your utility provider. These meters provide homeowners with real-time, comprehensive feedback that can be used to increase energy efficiency not just for a singular household, but for the entire smart metering system.

Bin Detection

Bin Detection systems help cities to analyze waste management throughout the city. These sensors will detect when waste bins and dumpsters are full, allowing cities to allocate the right amount of resources to make sure they are emptied regularly. Cities will be able to review the data to make informed choices on what bins receive the most traffic, and which ones are regularly overfilled. The bins increase waste efficiency and help save money.
Here is some text about this application of a smart city. This is just sample text to accompany the icons about each aspect of a smart city. This is just sample text to see what it would look like.Here is some text about this application of a smart city. This is just sample text to accompany the icons about each aspect of a smart city. This is just sample text to see what it would look like.

Structural Health

Structural Health monitoring (SHM) enables engineers to improve safety and maintainability of buildings through a combination of sensors. These sensors aim to provide reliable, real time information regarding the buildings structural integrity. By analyzing this data, workers can detect existing damage to the structure, locate the damage, and provide solutions to deal with the problem. Structural health monitoring doesn’t only apply to buildings, it can be utilized for various infrastructures such as bridges and skyscrapers. Structural damage is not always straight forward; many times, the damage can be caused without showing much visual signs of degradation. That is why it is important to have sensors in place that make it easier to analyze and maintain building health

Tank Level Sensor

Tank level sensors lend themselves to a variety of applications and detect a range of different liquids. When monitoring water tanks, these sensors can track and communicate water levels to help more efficiently plan water use. This is useful for monitoring drinking water, more accurately planning agricultural production through irrigation control, and preventing or detecting water-related disasters such as floods, droughts, and contamination.
Tank level sensors can also be equipped with anti-explosive capabilities to safely and reliably monitor fuel tanks. They not only track fuel use but send alerts regarding potential leaks and dangerous conditions. This can help both reduce waste and keep workers and homeowners as safe as possible.

Animal Tracking

Using collars equipped with IoT location trackers, owners can find their lost pet more easily and quickly. (CONTINUE about GPS technology) Some of these devices are also equipped to alert pet owners of extreme cold or hot temperatures that might endanger their pet’s health. They can also track pet activity and rest, much like human pedometers and fitness trackers.

Air Quality Monitoring

IoT air quality monitoring systems detect and measure the concentration of airborne pollutants and noxious gases both indoors and outdoors. Should these concentrations exceed safe levels, the system provides safety alerts that can be critical to the health of the people nearby that are exposed to the dangerous air, especially those with respiratory problems. The air quality data is stored for later analysis to track improvement or deterioration of the surrounding air. This data can be used to assess the impact of different environmental factors on air quality as well as the effectiveness of air quality improvement efforts.

Asset Tracking

LoRaWAN technology enables individuals, businesses, and city governments to track a wide variety of important assets, from children and pets to luggage and packages to industrial vehicle fleets. Tracking devices give users real-time asset locations, increasing security and efficiency and often reducing costs resulting from damages and losses. Recovering a lost asset is often extremely time-sensitive, and since the asset’s location is constantly tracked using a LoRaWAN network, in the event of a lost item the user can determine its location immediately, and can even set alerts for if an asset deviates from an expected route our area. For businesses, the location data used for asset tracking can also be used for analytics, showing how long it takes for a product to be delivered or how often certain services are used.

Waste Management

Waste Management solutions have made their way to the world of IoT, allowing for new and innovative ways to make our trash more efficient, clean, and recyclable. While many trash cans are not yet equipped with IoT sensors, it won’t be long till they are just about everywhere. These sensors can help waste companies better understand consumer habits and peak times, as well as much more. Picking up trash at a predetermined time is inherently inefficient, but it is the way we have dealt with waste for many years now. With the development of waste sensors that can track how much waste is actually in the container, managing trash can become a whole lot more efficient. Companies will only have to pick up trash when the bins are full, and not on a set schedule even if there is not much to pick up. This will increase cost efficiency drastically and save untold amounts of time. Many cities are already starting to adopt these bins, and outlook is set to increase in the coming years.

Farming Solutions

There are tons of ways in which IoT devices can enhance the lives of farmers. IoT and Farming go hand in hand, and many new solutions have already been implemented to make agriculture less time consuming for higher quality production. For example, Remote crop monitoring, livestock geofencing, remote equipment monitoring, and smart logistics can all drastically improve the lives of farmers. These easy to install devices contain an abundance of insightful data useful to farmers. By analyzing this data, they can make better informed decisions regarding the livelihood of their crop and land.

Irrigation

Smart irrigation systems have the potential to eliminate droughts caused by unnecessary or excessive irrigation, saving farmers and cities money and resources and preserving the health of both people and livestock. These systems combine the use of various IoT devices like smart water meters, leak detection systems, and soil moisture monitors to create a comprehensive system that tracks how much water is available, how much is needed, where it is needed, and where it is being wasted. Smart water meters offer real-time information on water usage, such as how much is flowing, amount left, and can connect to other sensors to adjust irrigation based on the time of day, current temperatures, and soil conditions.
Used in conjunction with leak detectors, these meters can notify users of leaks or ruptures that would otherwise have gone unnoticed for much longer, wasting significant amounts of water. Soil moisture monitors can also connect to the irrigation system to communicate the current soil conditions, which causes the water meter to automatically increase or reduce water flow depending on what the soil needs. This not only promotes healthy crops but also prevents as much water waste as possible.

Weather Monitoring

IoT weather monitoring systems use smart sensors to detect various environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, light, and precipitation levels to compile real-time, comprehensive weather reports for entire municipalities or even individual households. The system can send out this data on a large scale while also storing it in a cloud database, which can then be analyzed to study changes in the weather and climate of a given area over time.

Noise Detection

Noise pollution and extended exposure to loud noise is not only irritating, but also detrimental to long-term human health, resulting in hearing loss and other issues. While it can be almost impossible to avoid all noise pollution, especially in urban areas, IoT noise detection and noise pollution monitoring can alert people if they’re in an area with high levels of noise pollution and communicate with city planners where noise pollution is more pervasive so it can be most efficiently addressed and improved.
This is commonly done using stationary IoT noise detectors set up strategically throughout a city, which create maps of noise pollution and compare high noise level readings to the number of restaurants, construction projects, busy streets, or social gathering places in the area. However, individual citizens can also contribute to this map by monitoring noise with their cell phones, providing real-time information of changing levels of noise pollution as they move throughout the city.

Connected Airports

IoT technology can improve the overall airport experience of travelers, airlines, and airports alike. It would allow for automatic check-in for passengers, eliminating the need to wait in line at the airport or check in online prior to departure. This would ease the congestion of ticketing and luggage drop-off areas, allowing passengers to proceed immediately to security. IoT would further automate airport security checkpoints as well that could more efficiently process and verify passengers’ identification information.
Luggage and airport equipment could also be tracked using IoT, keeping passengers and airport personnel updated as to the location of their important items. Location services could be used for individual passengers as well, more accurately tracking their flight and showing them what stores and restaurants are nearby in the airport and which areas are more congested than others.

Bridge Stress Monitoring

IoT-connected bridges contain concrete equipped with smart sensors or external sensors attached to the bridge which monitor stress on the bridge and any resulting cracking or warping. Rather than relying on people periodically checking the safety of the bridge, these sensors send constant updates of bridge stability, alerting maintenance crews in the event of any issues. Should any damage to the bridge occur, these sensors can point to the precise location of the issue, saving workers time and preventing oversight of critical structural problems. Atop the bridge, sensors can keep track of the frequency of traffic on the bridge to determine if the bridge is supporting more stress than it was built to. This information can help to predict stress on the bridge so maintenance crews can preemptively strengthen the bridge, adjust traffic routes, or even build a new bridge, avoiding catastrophe by addressing structural issues as soon as possible.

Forest Fire Detection

The earlier a forest fire is detected, the more time firefighters have to act and contain it, preventing as much wildlife and property loss as possible. Smart IoT forest fire detection offers a tremendous advantage to firefighters by providing either real-time or regular updates of forest conditions and helping to identified heightened risk of fire before it even ignites. This is accomplished using temperature, smoke, humidity, and even carbon dioxide gas sensors to detect abrupt environmental changes in high-risk zones and surrounding forested areas.
A network of these sensors is used to create a map of more fire-prone areas to preemptively address dangerous conditions to help prevent fires from starting in the first place. However, should a forest fire develop, this map can track the spread of the fire, the areas of forest affected by the flames, and where to send firefighters, all while immediately notifying the nearest fire station, property owners, and nearby residents.

Electromagnetic Detection

With the help of IoT sensors, engineers can track and measure the electrical fields created by mobile phone frequencies, as well as the energy radiated by cell stations and WiFi Routers. This technology can be extremely useful, as these signals are undetectable by the naked eye. Using the measurements from the sensor, engineers can create visual models of WiFi and cellular signals, as well as signal strength of base stations. Connectivity is a critical part of today’s world, and even short lapses in signal can cause many errors or delays in service. Electromagnetic detection allows more efficient operation of both end users and suppliers.

Health Monitoring

IoT health monitoring allows patients with ongoing health concerns, such as the elderly, sick, and disabled, to live more independently outside a hospital setting while still being able to closely monitor their health in case of an emergency. This often comes in the form of wearable technology that constantly tracks a patient’s condition using their vital signs, although it can also be focused on more specific health concerns such as sleep apnea. Should there be any significant change in these vitals, the health monitoring system immediately alerts the patient’s family, their doctors, and emergency services. This wearable technology can also be equipped with GPS tracking for patients with memory conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, and can send out similar alerts should the patient wander outside a set boundary so that they can be safely brought home. IoT devices can also be used to help patients keep track of their medication schedule, alerting them when they need to take which pills. Even for users without specific health concerns, similar devices can be used to monitor exercise and heart rate and analyze this health data over time, helping users understand and work towards healthier lifestyles.

Snow Level Monitoring

Snow level monitoring systems can be deployed at ski resorts and mountains as well as any other winter recreation area. They use ultrasonic sensors to detect snow depth, which communicate with nearby weather stations to both receive information about predicted snowfall and provide information about actual snowfall. This information can be shared with ski resorts as well as individual skiers and snowboarders to provide them with real-time mountain conditions to optimize their experience. To keep users of winter sports areas as safe as possible, the data collected by snow level sensors can be used to identify high-risk avalanche zones, detect unsafe conditions, and share these hazards with resort personnel so they can implement safety precautions for skiers in danger of being caught in an avalanche.
Tracking the snowfall and current snow levels can also be useful for predicting runoff, which can affect nearby lake and river levels when the snow melts. This information, as well as general snow level data, can also be used by homeowners and city officials to identify risks of road blockages, flooding, excessive weight on roofs, or other forms of property damage.

Leak Detection

Water leaks in homes, businesses, and industrial settings waste water and can cause extensive property damage if left undetected. Earlier leak detection can save both water and money spent on repairs. This is where IoT leak detection comes in. Often, leak detection technology can work simultaneously with smart water meters—if the meter detects a change in the normal amount of water flow, it can notify the user of a possible leak. Leak detectors can also come in the form of moisture sensors, which can be stationed around water tanks to detect any water that might escape. These technologies can be used with other liquids besides water, where they can be even more important if they are monitoring hazardous or flammable liquids.

Supply Chain Control

IoT supply chain control makes industrial supply chains more efficient, reliable, and profitable. Monitoring products, supply fleets, and warehouses takes any uncertainty out of the supply process. Location tracking of individual products can be used not only to tell consumers exactly when they will receive their product, but can also inform them of exactly where the product came from and where it has been, providing an increased level of transparency. This information can also be used to keep track of inventory and send alerts of lost or delayed products. Vehicle fleets themselves can be tracked and connected to set them on the most efficient route possible and to provide more precise estimation of shipping times by analyzing vehicle speeds and routes.

Building Management

Smart Buildings can have a big impact in many ways, from managing energy usage, preventing downtime, and improving sustainability. Most buildings are unique; therefore, they contain their own unique information on energy usage, occupancy, security, and more. IoT sensors can help streamline this process, allowing developers to better understand the costs and benefits. They help to guide workers to make informed choices regarding building operation, increasing functionality and efficiency. Optimizing space and reducing energy resources will become increasingly important in the future, making smart buildings a critical aspect of the world of IoT.

Greenhouse Monitoring

IoT devices have the ability to make greenhouse monitoring less time consuming and much more analytical than ever before. These gadgets are ideal for sensing climatic parameters in the greenhouse. The system can monitor many environmental factors, such as temperature, lighting, relative humidity, and soil moisture. With all of this data, workers have the ability to perfectly calibrate the right environment at their fingertips. They also help to automate this process, as the sensors can automatically detect and fix problems that arise, such as not enough humidity, or the air being too warm/cold. With this system in place, the quality and quantity of the production can be increased. All data can be uploaded and stored on the cloud, allowing for historical analysis of plant growth and yield.

Wearable IoT

Wearable Internet of Things devices have exploded in the last five years, giving birth to many popular gadgets like the iWatch, the Fitbit, and Google Glass. While the idea of wearable devices has been around for a long time, it has only been recently that we have been able to truly harness the power of technology to actually bring real value to our lives. In the past, these devices were much flashier than they were practical, but thanks to emerging technology and lower prices smart wearables have hit a sweet spot. Tons of new IoT watches have been debuting on the market, bringing innovation to a market that has been stagnant for a long time. They have also had an incredible impact on health care, with many of these new devices having the ability to do things like track steps, monitor your heart rate, track outdoor activity, and plan exercises.

Utility Pole Monitoring

Tilting of electricity poles as a result of strong wind, traffic accidents, earth movements, etc. can cause mechanical tension and cable breakage. To prevent the pole falling completely, it is essential to locate the problem quickly and carry out remedial action. Periodic measurements performed remotely by IoT devices enable preventive maintenance, and alerts are sent if major tilting occurs. Maintenance crews can now act before the pole falls and identify where urgent repairs are needed

Water Quality Monitoring

Water Quality monitoring is important, and the world of IoT can help make it easier than ever to monitor and perform water quality analysis. IoT sensing platforms allow for real time water control. These sensors can perform a multitude of tasks depending on the environment they are set up in. In water tanks, these can be set up to monitor and measure potable water, making sure the water is safe to drink and does not contain and contaminants. They can also be used in rivers for detection of dangerous chemicals or pollution. On a smaller scale, swimming pools and hot tubs use the sensors to monitor chemical compositions.

Port Container Monitoring

Over the last few years, investment and innovation have increased significantly in the area of shipping container monitoring. With the advent of new iot devices as well as the expansion of satellite and cellular networks, new opportunities have emerged for tracking and monitoring shipping containers. These “intelligent” containers can track critical inventory attributes, such as container temperature, humidity, location tracking, and how long the merchandise has been there. These incredibly time-consuming inspections used to be done by hand, but with the power of IoT sensors can now be automated.

Home Security

IoT has brought a wave of innovation to the home security market. Devices having the ability to upload data to the cloud has done wonders for home security, allowing homeowners to set up low-cost surveillance systems. Smart Doorbells are also becoming increasingly popular, because of their ability to track motion outside your door, or to record your porch when the doorbell is rung. In the near future, these doorbells could also be equipped with finger scanning technology, allowing for increased security. Inside the home, security alerts can notify your phone when a device has been unplugged, giving you quicker response times in case of a break in. There is still plenty of room for innovation in this field, and could have an incredible impact in the coming years.

Turbine Monitoring

IoT can have a massive impact for the wind energy sector. Currently, most wind turbines are operated in extremely remote areas, away from urban populations and cultivated land. Because of the geographic distance between most turbines and the cities they power, traveling time and maintenance can be incredibly time consuming and difficult. In addition, failures that occur in these locations could take many hours to travel to and fix. That is where IoT can bridge the gap between wind farms and attendants. With IoT sensors in place, workers have the ability to adjust switches, software, and equipment without ever visiting the turbine. They also provide increased information, so that workers can address problems before they happen.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke Detectors and Fire Detection can gain extraordinary benefits from IoT. While smoke detectors have been around for a long time, IoT can help make these systems smarter and more connected. These detectors have the capability to communicate with the thermostat, as well as do things like shut off the furnace in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide. They can also send notifications to mobile phones, allowing people to help protect their home even while away. With these advanced features, fire prevention and damage control can be boosted to new heights.

Earthquake Detection

Earthquakes strike without warning, making them one of the most dangerous natural disasters. However, with the help of IoT, many companies are beginning to develop early-warning systems using the internet of things. This is provided by an interconnection of seismic sensors that communicate to a central server. It works by detecting the seismic waves close to the earthquakes epicenter. Although the system requires a large number of sensors to cover a widespread area, the cost of the sensors has significantly decreased over the last decade. When the system detects motion, it can send out alerts to warn citizens of the possible incoming danger.

Environment Monitoring

Environmental monitoring is an all-encompassing term for the multitude of devices that communicate to help control and monitor the environment. Each technology works seamlessly together to create a network of coverage that can help to keep our environment safe. Some of these devices include sensors for monitoring air, water, soil, and gasses. Other sensors help to monitor forest lands, check for natural disasters, or keep track of wildlife populations. All together, these gadgets make up the environmental monitoring sector. One benefit of operations is removing as much human intervention as possible, helping to keep a natural balance between humans and wildlife.

Temperature Monitoring

Temperature Monitoring Is perhaps one of the most robust uses of iot technology. These sensors allow you to track the temperature and sometimes humidity of where they are, giving you real time data. Temperature monitoring has hundreds of uses, from monitoring the coolness of your office, to hanging a sensor in a chicken coop to monitor livestock breeding temperatures. Or put one in your attic to monitor storage environment. Or maybe in a walk-in freezer to monitor temperatures for food safety. No matter what you use them for, these sensors have tons of uses and versatility.

Smart Traffic

Smart traffic Technologies help to create safer, more efficient traveling lanes for cities. Based on data collected by traffic sensors, local authorities can implement improved traffic patterns and street light performance, optimizing transit times and reducing congestion. In addition, sensors can help pedestrians as well, implementing things like real-time interactive crosswalks. These crosswalks detect when there are pedestrians nearby, allowing them to only begin operation when necessary.
In addition, Big data analytics of information provided by interconnected cameras, sensors, and monitors can be used strategically to make a significant difference in the urban driving experience. Real-time readings of road congestion, accidents, construction, or other unexpected road blockages is accumulated to formulate the most efficient routes for drivers, alerting them if they could save time by altering their course. Smart traffic monitoring systems can be used in conjunction with smart parking systems, which track parking space occupancy and notify drivers of available spaces. In addition to benefitting individual drivers, this technology can be used by city planners to analyze and optimize city transportation and parking infrastructure.

Battery Voltage Monitor

Battery Voltage Monitoring is a little thought about but highly important aspect of IoT. With new technology sensors, batteries will be able to be continuously monitored allowing for better estimate of battery health and performance. Battery Monitoring has many advantages, including: Reducing the cost of inspection Increased performance Precise measurement Monitoring allows the batteries to be replaced based on their performance levels and decline, rather than on a set schedule. Performance based battery replacement can drastically reduce costs.

Infrared (IR) Sensors

Infrared sensors are electronic instruments used to measure heat being emitted by an object, or as an object to detect motion. They work by using a specific light sensor to detect a select wavelength in the infrared spectrum. IR sensors have many useful applications, such as medical diagnostics, imaging, fire detection, gas leak detection, and combustion control. Since it has heat detection properties it is also used to visualize heat leaks inside houses, or help doctors monitor blood flow. IR Sensors are increasing in popularity dramatically because of the rapidly declining price tag.

Drought Management

The world of IoT can do wonders for helping facilitate and develop drought management planning. In the past, those wanting to monitor water usage and supply would have to drive to each irrigation site, water hole, and storage unit in the area and collect the data manually, before planning and allocating the water. This could take hours or days to complete depending on the size of the sample site. Now with the help of IoT devices, workers can track and allocate water efficiently, even during periods of drought. These devices enable them to match or even out-perform manual collection methods, while taking a fraction of the time.

Flood Detection

Smart flood detection systems use ultrasonic sensors to detect rising water levels. These systems communicate with the appropriate city officials to alert them of increased flood threat levels to provide advanced warning of potential danger to people or property. By alerting the city in advance, these systems allow more time for safety preparations, such as evacuation measures. These systems don't have to be developed for just cities; they can be quite useful for monitoring flood levels in rivers and canyons as well. Flash floods can hit at any time, so every second counts when it comes to reacting to these disasters.

Gas Monitoring

IoT enabled gas monitors are powerful tools that can extract all kinds of meaningful data from their environment. These sensors have the ability to save lives by monitoring things like carbon monoxide, a dangerous gas that is both colorless and odorless. They can also be installed at plants and facilities to measure gas density, or the chemical makeup of the air. With the emergence of IoT technologies, these sensors are becoming much cheaper and more widely available, allowing just about anyone to monitor gas in their home or business.