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Entries » Blog » Building the Internet of Humanitarian Things (IoHT)

Building the Internet of Humanitarian Things (IoHT)

Created Mar 26 2018, 11:02 AM by Travis Heneveld

Building the Internet of Humanitarian Things (IoHT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents our ability to connect devices, machines and infrastructure across wireless networks and enable them to send and receive data. IoT has allowed us to automate processes and connect our world in ways we never thought possible, transforming productivity and creating immense potential for applications across every industry. In the humanitarian world, this potential could help to save more lives and reduce the impact of disasters.

Technological advancements are already greatly enhancing humanitarian operations – as we are seeing in the use of electronic ID cards to manage claims for food assistance in the Philippines’ Food for Assets Programme and the deployment of  iris scan technology for the purchasing of food in refugee camps in Syria, for example.

So when I consider how Motorola Solutions’ Industrial Internet of Things is proving life-saving by ensuring that critical infrastructure – such as power stations and water utilities – is kept up and running, then I cannot help but postulate what opportunities these solutions present for aid organisations.

Connecting People, Equipment and Infrastructure

Connecting EquipmentThe remote monitoring and control of infrastructure across resilient, secure wireless networks gives intelligence to critical assets, enabling them to detect malfunctions, fluctuations in temperature or leaks and raise alarms automatically to avert disaster.  The application of such solutions abounds - from early warning systems that trigger alarms or broadcast pre-recorded messages across multiple control centres, to automatically adjusting well pumping, controlling water quality or regulating system pressure to maximise efficiency. Municipal infrastructure - such as motorways and street lights - is already being managed and controlled remotely, while real-time weather and soil data is being incorporated into the remote management and control of crop irrigation, to reduce waste and boost yields.

Connecting InfreastructureOur ability to attach sensors to virtually anything – people, machines, vehicles and infrastructure – enables us to improve the flow of real-time information and optimise efficiency way beyond critical infrastructure. Motorola Solutions has introduced sensors in innovative ways which have had a significant impact on public safety, enabling the command centre to receive notification when a police office pulls a gun from a holster, for example. Information is also relayed regarding the officer’s heart rate, registering increasingly intense activity which can save time and potentially lives. Our Augmented Reality (AR) headsets make it possible to provide a bird’s-eye, 3D view of an incident, combining holographic and virtual images that allow tactical response to be determined miles away from an incident.

We have the potential to share this technological expertise to help humanitarians benefit from a similar transformation in operational efficiency and the way in which data is used and managed.

Taking Wearable Technology, AR and iOT to Aid Workers

Motorola Solutions has invested in a number of organisations and start-ups to promote technological innovation that enables a smarter, more connected response. Here are just a few examples of the possibilities these partnerships present:

  • AR Technology Collaborating with Edgybees to leverage its AR technology in the fields of public safety and search and rescue. The company’s AR drone search and rescue solution provides orientation for pilots through maps, distress signals and GPS locations, helping them to find victims more quickly. It is already being deployed by police and fire departments as well as Homeland Security in the USA.
  • Working with RapidSOS to deliver end-to-end data connectivity by sharing precise location information for emergency calls made from smartphones. This allows information to be shared between citizens and first responders in the field. Furthermore, third-party data collected by smartphones, connected cars, wearables and other devices can flow through Command/Operations Centre software to dispatchers, police officers and emergency medical personnel in the field.
  • 3D ModellingPartnering with TRX Systems to locate and map personnel in areas where GPS is not available or is unreliable – such as underground or in dense urban areas. 3D models of buildings can display personnel data including posture, the battery level of their two-way radio and communication status.
  • Leveraging SST’s expanded flash memory capability to provide wide-area acoustic surveillance, action alert and analysis. This is proving crucial in helping police and law enforcement to be more proactive in addressing US incidents of gunfire violence, for example.
  • Investing in Orion who have developed a wearable push-to-talk device which incorporates two-way radio and group messaging for seamless voice communication.

We’re constantly facing new challenges and imagining new ways to improve the safety and operational impact of first responders.  If your organisation is looking to collaborate or pursue “IoHT” opportunities to make humanitarian operations smarter and more connected, please drop me a line.

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