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John Riley

Dr John Riley is passionate about improving the innovation process, having first hand experience of large enterprises, small business, academia, and government. As Managing Editor of Computer Weekly (1992-2008) he championed true business value from IT and founded the CW500 Club for IT Directors. He was until recently Strategic Advisor to Erudine, an early adopter of agile technology, campaigning for the wider UK SME community. He was a founder of the UK Innovation Initiative and is active across the IT community.

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The Comic Side of IoT

EU supports comic strip IoT scenarios

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I never thought I'd see the EU fund a comic strip book to explain a brand new technology and its applications to Euro-citizens - but there is one and it was relaunched this summer.

Called “Inspiring the Internet of Things” the comic strip book sets out 20 business and social scenarios for the kinds of applications this new revolution will enable.

This visionary book aims to get across to ordinary non-technical people the huge range of applications opening up by the billions of inter connected smart (and eventually autonomous) sensor and actuator devices that will shortly be transforming all sectors.

It's the best simple overview of how the Internet of Things could impact peoples' lives that I've seen.

This comic strip book provides a good point of reference for corporate business planners and advisors looking to prepare their CEOs and corporate boards for the medium/near future. Some elements of these scenarios are already creeping in. But the true power of the Internet of Things will be the interrelationships and the cross correlations between the various datasets to create new, previously impossible, capabilities.

The application scenarios include:

Smart Street Lighting: sensors could do more than adjust lighting depending on the presence and numbers of pedestrians and cars. They could also pick up and interpret disruptive incidents in the street such as oil spills or crashes and report them.

Smart Urban Waste Management: sensors could keep track of how full bins are for waste collection route optimisation

Smart Urban Planning: low cost sensors could track myriad data sources, such as noise, traffic, crowds, temperature, humidity and pollution levels to aid urban planning and policy decision making

Smart Medication: smart arm tags for hospital patients would link to their health record to ensure medication dosages are right

Monitoring the Aged: tracking people with vulnerabilities, such as Alzheimer's Disease

Smart Logistics: sensors enabling lorry drivers on the move to link with back end databases in real time as they progress their journeys as well as monitoring the condition of their loads

Continuous Care: through personal monitoring devices for effective telemedicine

Emergency Response: vehicle sensors detect collisions and activate calls and data to emergency centres. Intelligent interpretation of real time sensors to identify traffic build-ups and traffic jams.

Intelligent Shopping: links to RFID readers checking product bar codes to get feedback on contents, with personalised checks relating to calories or allergies and to automatic payments

Smart Products: inventory tracking, monitoring customer behaviour, precise product identification (i.e. RFID on steroids)

Smart Metering: to understand usage granularity to reduce personal energy consumption data

Smart Home Device Management: sensors collate information from internal and external sources, interlinking, for example, temperature, air pressure, weather forecast, etc, with heating, lighting, washing machine, and other appliances

Smart Reactions to Events: sensors (e.g. smoke alarms) identify problems and become the active initiator of the response processes

Smart Gardening/Farming: different crops monitored for the amount of sunlight, water, humidity etc they are receiving and their degree of ripeness.

Ultimately, the true power of the Internet of Things will be the interlinking of any of the components in any of these application scenarios to create new applications and capabilities that are bigger than the sum of their parts. For example, when batched up in real time across Europe, a smart sensor chip monitoring the health of each cow in a herd could not only pinpoint one cow about to fall ill, but could plot the early stage spread of a pandemic disease.

Use of cartoon strips is an innovative and lateral means of promoting technological awareness and EU financial help towards this unexpected - let's hope this approach catches on!

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