Eric Pauwels of CWI here in Amsterdam at yesterday’s LifeWatch meeting announced that the internet of things is coming! About 5 billion devices are currently connected; by 2020 this will reach around 20 billion, including not only computers and mobiles, but also smart objects such as internet-enabled cars.
The fastest growth is in machine to machine applications, such as smart electricity grids, networked homes and offices and environmental monitoring using Wireless Sensor Networks. As the components for these get smaller and smaller, WSNs are transforming ecology into a data intensive science. Eric had some great examples of species tracking using radio tags – think of an animal, and someone somewhere is probably tracking it! Whales, dolphins, seagulls and turtles are all being tracked around the globe, not to mention sharks. Visit the TOPP (Tracking of Pacific Predators) website to follow predators in real time.
My favourite though was CowDetect from SmarterFarming. By attaching location tags on a collar and setting up receivers in barns and fields, Daisy and Betsy can be tracked as they wander around the farm. This actually has a serious economic use – by checking on rest periods, activity levels and any unusual behaviour, farmers can make sure that the cow is not only in the best of health but also maximise productivity. They have estimated that farmers could save 330 Euros per cow per year of losses.
That’s a lot of moola.
Sorry, couldn’t resist!