May we place a volcanic sensor in your backyard (please?)…

I’ve been posting a lot about the world of IoT. The data, the integration and in the end the overload that will generate. But I wonder if in fact I may have unintentionally shared my bias as well.

When talking about the IoT I often talk about cellular devices and computers. I wonder if that is my bias breaking through. Many IoT devices in the future will have their own displayed. Some weather stations come with a broadcast model and a local display model. So please accept my apology – in fact IoT may not be sharing information with the world, merely publishing information to a screen in front of you before sharing with the rest of the world.

Iot impacts a number of agencies in the federal governments of the world as well. Taking citizen Census’s, protecting citizens and making life more entertaining for tourists are all things that IoT is going to impact in the short run. I wonder in the future if the USPS is going to jump on the IoT bandwagon. Doing away forever with the mailbox. Instead having secure USPS servers that you send mail to and they guarantee that if the address is right it gets delivered. No more mail carriers or junk mail in your mailbox, just a world of SPAM in your inbox.

Even a world where IoT sensors begin to automate things like traffic flow. For example placing IoT traffic sensors on various highways and byways so that as they fill up with cars you can notify feeder roads that the main roads are packed and drivers should take alternate routes to their destination.

Today you can easily track all the iPhones and iPads connected via a single family connection (multiple devices, multiple accounts in a single Family account). While it seems big brotherish (and it probably is) it is the harbinger of what will be.

The other side of this argument is interesting as well. On a recent post someone commented that there would be jobs lost. I was thinking about the impact of IoT and trying to figure out what jobs would be lost. A deployed network of sensors would replace what jobs? So first off I couldn’t think of any. Sensors aren’t robotic and completing a task other than what they were built to sense. Today there are a number of sensors (millions of them) deployed all around the world for river sensing, earthquake sensing and volcano sensing. There are more than the three just those three. Someone has to go to the sensor and check them. It requires a level of understanding of how the senor works but also of what the sensor is watching for. They require human intervention to be deployed. Someday we will build robots that built sensors on the fly, we will let those robots roam the earth building sensors everywhere. But that isn’t going to happen today.

I am still wondering what in the end jobs would be lost.

On a funny note: you know you have selected the wrong neighborhood to live in when someone comes to your door asking permission to put a volcanic activity sensor in your back yard (and by the way that request is urgent)…


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.