In the past several weeks, there have been two massive natural disasters in the U.S., as Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas, bringing historic flooding to Houston and surrounding areas, and Hurricane Irma devastated parts of the Caribbean and Florida. Sadly, thousands of people find themselves without power, food and shelter. It is indeed a terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to those affected.
In this devastation, however, there is a story emerging about the role the Internet of Things (IoT) has played in disaster preparedness. Indeed this technology has matured to the point that it is making a real and measurable impact in helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disaster. In today’s IIoT news roundup, we will take a look at several stories emerging around disaster preparedness, smart cities and the IoT.
Disaster Response in the 21st Century: Big Data and IoT Saves Lives
In this story from Forbes, author Chris Wilder describes some of the ways the IoT and other technologies have changed the way disasters are predicted and responded to. Specifically, Wilder cites the ways crowd sourced emergency applications have made post-disaster communication and emergency dispatch easier and more streamlined. Further, Wilder speaks to the ways Big Data generated from sensors and meters throughout the region helped give more advanced notice to impacted areas and helped predict the path of these hurricanes with greater accuracy.
IoT’s Role in Natural Disasters like Harvey
In this article from IoT for All, author Hannah White discusses how the advent of the IoT has fundamentally changed the way hurricanes are predicted and responded to. Specifically, White discusses how open data was used to list Red Cross shelters with space availability, as well as evacuation routes that remained passable.
White also describes the way organizations are leveraging drone technology in their response. Oil and gas companies are using drones to inspect their facilities, while insurance companies have been able to use the tech to capture high-resolution 3D images of damage to help expedite claim response and enable those affected to rebuild and recover more quickly.
Finally, White discusses the way different organizations are leveraging IoT sensor arrays to measure and predict natural disasters in advance, helping to provide critical time to those in harm’s way.
Where Will Hurricane Jose Go Next? How Drones and Lightbulbs Help Predict Dangerous Weather
Unfortunately, Irma and Harvey are being quickly followed by another potentially dangerous storm (at the time of writing, Tropical Storm Jose) looming east of the United States. In this article from Newsweek author Kevin Maney describes the ways technology is helping us predict storms with greater accuracy.
In the article, Maney notes the one of the key components for more accurate weather modeling and prediction is vast amounts of data. Indeed, the IoT is the most prolific and advanced data engine in technology history, and scientists are able to leverage the IoT to make incredible breakthroughs in their weather modeling algorithms.
Department of Energy Investing in Power Resiliency
In this recent blog post from the Department of Energy, it was announced that the DOE is invested some $50 million to help improve the resilience and security of the United State’s energy grid.
This is a particularly timely announcement in the wake of Harvey and Irma, whose impacts on area electrical grids were profound. One of the technologies in discussion as part of the investment are micro grids, smaller, more “agile” energy structures that make the impact of localized storms less widespread. In a traditional grid system, one transformer can impact wide swaths of residents, while a micro grid limits damage and makes repairs simpler, less costly, and faster.
While the devastation caused by these two natural disasters cannot be overstated, IIoT played a significant role in saving lives both before the storms made landfall and after the storms had passed. When it comes to these sorts of disasters, even minutes of additional notice can mean the difference between life and death. As IoT solutions grow more robust and continue to become more ubiquitous in cities across the globe, we expect prediction and response capabilities to continue to advance at an incredible pace.