One thing we often overlook with technology is nature. Sometimes, we think the two forces are in direct opposition with each other, but that’s not the case with the IoT and in fact, it can actually help in a number of ways from crop management to helping with climate change. It can even be used to build more efficient dams! There are a number of possibilities from infrastructure to commercial that the IoT can help safeguard nature while improving our lives.
Let’s start with infrastructure using dams as our example. As you may or may not know, our dams are used for a variety of reasons from suppressing floods to providing water for irrigation, consumption, industrial use, aquaculture, and hydroelectric power. They work by storing a set amount of water and safely releasing excess so that pressure doesn’t build on the wall, causing it to crack and/or break.
How can the IoT help with this? There are a number of ways! Firstly, a sensor can be used to determine the height the water while another sensor determines the rate at which it’s growing. This will help to determine whether water needs to be released and how much needs to be at what rate. Sensors inside the pipes transporting the water can also be used to determine whether there are any leaks, which could cause catastrophic problems should they go unchecked.
How does any of this help the environment? Any failure in the dam could cause flooding in nearby areas including rivers or residential areas. Any change in an environment so suddenly will absolutely affect things like wildlife and soil. Since these sensors will be transmitting data in real time, there would be a much faster presence on-site should anything start failing which will help to prevent disaster.
If you’re more interested in how a commercial business could help more in the environment using the IoT, then I’ll talk about farming, which is objectively the most natural commercial business out there, and we’ll be starting from the ground up.
Soil is probably one of, if not the, most important things to a farmer. After all, I haven’t seen to many crops being grown on rocks… With a soil moisture sensor, you can determine exactly how much water each specific area of your fields should be getting, but that’s not all. On the market right now there are also sensors which can determine soil fertility — basically what minerals are in the soil you’re testing. These two factors are extremely important in proper crop growth and knowing when to farm what and when to give the field time to nourish itself and renew its soil.
How does this help the environment? Well, we’re not wasting good soil on the wrong plants or good water on an already overwatered onion. We’re also not having to go out ourselves as the process is made more autonomous, giving us more time and resources to dedicate elsewhere or to other crops. Also, with it being able to rain any time, we’ll be able to easily tell our watering systems exactly how much water is needed, meaning we won’t waste a single drop.
As you can see, the uses are varied and widespread, but a small change can help our environment drastically and can even help to prevent disaster. This technology will only become more advanced, too.