Weather the Storm using IoT

One of the places where the Internet of Things can have the biggest impact is in our city infrastructure.  Not only will it help to decrease spending in the long term, but it’ll also help to make our systems more efficient and less prone to error.

In my own town this past month, I’ve been plagued with horrible storms including tornadoes and flooding.  Damage has been done that not only lost individual people and government employees vast amounts of money but also lives.  I wondered what we might have been able to do to prevent some of these losses.

First, you have to understand the problem.  Without a large amount of soil to help collect excess water, we have to use pipes to collect and transport the water to rivers.  Simple right?  Unfortunately, not.  This dirty water has a higher temperature than river water which will affect the ecosystem of and around the river.  Also, a dramatic increase in water being pushed to the river could cause flooding itself, simply moving the problem from one place to another.  So what can we do?

Spring flood

Moisture sensors are a part of that answer.  By putting moisture sensors in the soil, you start up a system to divert that rainwater to different areas at different times in the exact quantities you need.  The system will be very flexible, giving you control over what areas need more or less water and when to shut it off.

Of course, in intense flooding like I’d had, water would still end up being diverted to the rivers as our last resort, meaning we would hurt our ecosystem, right?  Not if we do things right.

Turbidity sensors (sensors which measure how dirty water is) can be used to help with this.  When plugged into a simple filtering system, you have a quick and easy way to control your flood waters without over-watering soil and plants or hurting our ecosystem.

One of the best things about a system like this is that it’s really not very expensive.  We’re not trying to filter for drinking water nor do we need any intricate system.  It could easily be scaled up or down based on the size of your city, urban or rural areas, or any number of factors.  It’s flexible, fast, cheap, and efficient, and most importantly — it’ll help save lives, money, and our environment.

Chicken, Ice Cream, and… Vaccines?

As we all know, food scares have always been a major problem. Every other week, there’s some contamination or another and they just seem to be a problem no one can really get a handle on. Well, Chick-fil-a has decided to try and conquer one major area of that problem — refrigeration. And they’re doing it all with the help of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors provided by a company called “Monnit”.


Chick-fil-a has decided to implement temperature sensors into their walk-in coolers and freezers. Two dozen chains in Georgia are going to be outfitted with these sensors and gateways, provided by Monnit, to track the temperature of the units. Previously, store managers were required to check the temperatures themselves every 3-4 hours, but that does little for times after closing or holidays, and a malfunctioning freezer over night could lead to upwards of £15,000 being wasted right there.

Working together with Monnit, Chick-fil-a will be installing about 20 sensors, which will monitor and relay that information to the gateway every hour and then back to Monnit’s cloud service. If a temperature falls between a certain point, a text will be sent to the store manager who can then go check the problem and handle it accordingly. In an industry where fresh food is quite literally the lifeblood of the company, even a few hours can make the difference between saving the chicken or serving up a salmonella-filled scandal.

Not only does this help subvert scandals, it also helps prove the steps you’ve gone through to ensure proper care is met with insurance companies. After all, it’s pretty easy to show evidence when you’ve got temperature readings every hour on the hour provided.

Monnit, by the way, doesn’t just work with chicken-enthusiasts. Popular ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s also uses their services in the same way to ensure their ice cream is always frozen. Even the Center for Disease Control uses Monnit to host sensitive information and temperature settings in their labs on its servers.


All this really shows you just how diverse the IoT is. Even when talking about a specific product or service, like temperature sensors, you can see the different ways they can be used from storing frozen foods to keeping lab equipment at the proper temperatures..