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
The 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.
Our 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:
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.