How the Internet of Things can change the India we live in on its head
Ever since the Internet of things (IoT) got live, the thumb rule for the future has become “anything that can be connected will be connected.” IoT refers to a network of identifiable devices and machinery of all forms and sizes with the intelligence to connect, communicate and control or manage each other seamlessly to perform a set of tasks with minimum intervention.
Today, the fixed Internet connects around 1 billion users via PCs. The mobile Internet will soon link 6 billion users via smartphones. As per a KPMG report, IoT is expected to connect 28 billion “things” to the Internet by 2020.
Considering the importance of this phenomenon, IoT occupies a prominent position in the “Digital India” program launched by Narendra Modi. With a vision to create an IoT industry of $15 billion by 2020, the government has drafted a strategic roadmap to build domain competency, encourage budding entrepreneurs, buffer product failure, energize research acumen, and thereby place India on the global IoT map.
If adequately supported by citizens, infrastructure and governance, IoT has the potential to provide substantial benefit in the various domains. Here we elaborate how IOT would prove to be beneficial for the common men of the country.
o Agriculture: In a country where farmers committing suicide on account of low crop yield or unpredictable market conditions is quite regular, it is time to take IoT to the farm. For crops, smart farming means preparing the soil, planting, nurturing and harvesting at precisely the best time via access to market data.
Currently mKRISHI, a Rural Service Delivery platform developed by TCS, provides advisory services to farmers. However we require a mechanism that provides farmers with on-demand information on the basis of their context that can be sensed through a network of IoT sensors. This can be used to optimize efficiency, maximize productivity and ensure quality of produce. Crop specific information and alerts regarding current/future weather conditions, soil type, fertilizer, pest control, etc. from industry experts should be made accessible via mobile device.
o Disaster Prediction and Management: India is a large country and is prone to a number of disasters such as river floods, drought, cyclones, landslides and more. IoT has the potential to serve a critical, life-saving, role in the event of disaster. Though it is not possible to completely avoid disaster, impact can be minimized by using a combination of GIS, remote sensing and satellite communication.
GIS applications such as Hazzard Mapping can be used by meteorological departments to quickly communicate the risk. Remote sensing can speedily gather data across channels to signal impending disaster. For instance, a combination of sensors can provide information on the condition of railway tracks that can be used to avoid derailment incidents.
o Transportation: Metros and cities of India are famous for snarling traffic jams. The problem worsens as population and the number of vehicles increase and the city transportation systems and infrastructures stay limited.
Need of the hour is intelligent transportation systems that consolidate traffic data from various sources such as traffic cameras, commuters’ mobile phones, vehicles’ GPS, sensors on the roads. Analysis of this traffic information can provide near-real-time insights about traffic performance, conditions and incidents using correlation with historical data. By monitoring traffic operations and incidents through a centralized system, we can create a geospatial map that graphically displays road network, traffic volume, speed and density at different city locations.
Health & Wellness: To ensure affordable, accessible and quality healthcare, IoT can evolve to a P2M (Person to Machine) relationship, enabled by a powerful interaction between smart objects and people in areas of health care, monitoring, diagnostics, medication administration, fitnessChronic Disease Management is possible via wearable devices that monitor a patient’s physiological conditions (blood pressure, blood glucose levels, breathing, pulse, etc.). Hospitals can use IoT for remote monitoring personnel, disease management, inpatient care, patient specific record databases and more. Also with today’s busy life, connected devices can help keep a tab on the health of people (elders / patients) at home as well as alert medical staff in case of emergencies.
o Safety and Security: As the cities and people are growing, so are crimes! IoT can help make our homes secure through smart home solutions that not only provide visual data of the visitors but, also check for intruders, provide remote alerts on the mobiles, monitor any gas leakage in the house, check for water logging or other environmental conditions . In addition, the connected devices, when deployed as part of city infrastructure, can be used to keep a tab on the crimes either through involvement of fellow citizen and/or police forces.
The reality is that the IoT allows for virtually endless opportunities, many of which we can’t even think of or can’t fully understand the impact of today. While we have seen good adoption at personal level, the role of IoT is critical to the way we manage our cities and infrastructure. It is thereby a must that citizens, the government and corporates participate and collaborate in leveraging IoT to solve the social and economic challenges faced by us.
( This article has been contributed by Satish Tembad, Chief Technology Officer, ABOVE Solutions)