The internet isn’t just for computers anymore. Thanks to the growing Internet of Things (IoT), which connects all kinds of devices and everyday objects to the internet and to one another, we are living in an increasingly interconnected world.
Manchester, England is set to become a testing ground for using the Internet of Things to improve public services. The U.K. government has awarded £10 million to the CityVerve project, which aims to implement city-wide IoT technologies in both private and public sectors.
For healthier lifestyles
CityVerve has some pretty creative ideas about how to improve the lives of Manchester residents with IoT technology. For example, the IoT could be used to promote fitness by stationing sensors in parks, recreation areas, and along common walking routes. Individuals and teams could track their walking and exercise, “gamifying fitness” in ways that will promote friendly competition and healthier lifestyles.
For cleaner air
Speaking of health, CityVerve plans to install air quality sensors on pre-existing street furniture. This will help the city collect data about air quality and other climatic conditions, and will also give people with sensitive respiratory systems the opportunity to avoid heavily polluted streets.
With this same demographic in mind, CityVerve is also developing biometric sensors to help hospitals monitor patients with chronic respiratory conditions. This would, for example, allow an ambulance to respond instantly when someone has an asthma attack.
For traffic flow
Many of the proposed technologies would help improve traffic flow around the city. Smart street lights and traffic signals can be adjusted according to the weather, traffic conditions, and events. Check-in stations at bus stops will allow riders to inform drivers that they are waiting, while smart digital signs will let riders know the bus is arriving and can be updated in real time to reflect accurate arrival times. The data collected at these terminals will allow transportation authorities to make informed decisions to optimize bus schedules and routes.
Lastly, IoT technology will be implemented to improve bike rental services. Bikes will have digital tags so that renters can use GPS technology to locate an available bike, eliminating the need for docking stations.
Hats off to Manchester for exploring the potential of the Internet of Things to improve everyday life.