The potential of Internet of Things (IoT) to create smart cities is boundless. In an earlier article, we outlined how different use cases in smart cities increases operational efficiencies and improves the lives of all its habitants.
Despite all these vast improvements, IoT technology simply cannot prevent all emergencies from taking place.
But what it can do is assist in early detection and a more targeted and accurate response. In the background, the technology also plays a big role in protecting our work and home lives.
Here are some ways IoT is making our lives more secure by mitigating, or entirely preventing unfortunate situations from take place.
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Accurate risk assessments
With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.8 percent from 2023 to 2030, the use of smart sensors across global cities is accelerating.
Use cases for smart sensors vary, ranging from electronic sensors in environmental surveillance, to thermal sensors that perform accurate tracking of energy distribution to help improve energy efficiency.
These connected sensors can also identify and respond to potential threats or hazards in real time and as soon as they arise.
For example, connected infrared sensors aid in communicating to the central board when there is movement in a certain area. This can help with intrusion detection in smart buildings by recording small changes and transmit this data to a centralised dashboard.
From reliable data, authorities can fine-tune their risk management strategy and launch an appropriate response.
After all, racoons rummaging in your trash should not warrant the same response as a break in and robbery attempt.
Smarter emergency response
As the population in urban areas swell, so does the occurrence of unfortunate accidents and situations.
From horrific car crashes that occur in seconds to fires that spread in minutes, the response time of emergency crew significantly impacts the outcome of the situation.
The interconnected nature of IoT is builder greater efficiency in emergency situations – from the initial phone call to response coordination. For example, even before attending to the scene, connected sensors and monitors can be used to relay information to first responders that may have been overlooked.
Smart highways and traffic control systems can adjust the routes of emergency vehicles in real-time by finding a less congested route. Alerts can also be sent to all relevant authorities to coordinate a response and follow through effectively.
Better healthcare management
From a public health viewpoint, IoT helps communities better respond to major outbreaks of disease.
Take the recent COVID pandemic for example where IoT technologies played a key role in ensuring safe movement around densely populated cities such as Hong Kong.
Businesses deployed IoT-enabled thermal sensors to help detect abnormal body temperature in people entering offices, stores and restaurants to control further outbreak of the virus.
We also covered how improving accessibility healthcare in smart cities goes beyond first response. IoT solutions extend benefits from reducing waiting time in the emergency room, to better remote care. This reduces pressures on an already overextended healthcare system in countries such as the UK.
With connected, smart healthcare systems, professionals able to offer treatments, diagnose health problems quicker and more accurately, and facilitate collaboration between specialists all around the world.
Improving employee safety & wellbeing
IoT can help make the workplace a safer environment for employees in multiple ways.
In an industrial setting for instance, IoT tools and interfaces can help create schedules that ensure shifts are adequately staffed. Or rotate workers in hazardous conditions so that they are not over worked or over exposed to harsh conditions.
Even in commercial settings, smart sensors can optimize HVAC systems or monitor air quality. Studies have shown that well-ventilated offices can improve cognitive abilities and employee collaboration. Data collected can even give organizations more insights into how the office environment affects staff turnover and sick days.
Don’t forget security
Naturally, the collection of all this data sparks concerns about data protection and security. Organizations and administrators needs to implement steps to anonymise and aggregate the data.
Employees, as the greatest security risk in any organisation, need to be adequately trained and educated about the importance of data protection and how to avoid data breaches.
The trend here is clear. IoT-equipped smart buildings will not only improve the lives of the people that live and work inside, but will also cut operating and facility management costs.
This revolution in how we live and work is set to coincide with larger technological trends that are shaping and will transform the world we inhabit in just a few short years.