How LINKIT’s Hive platform can easily bundle parking machines, street lamps and cameras into one overview.
Parking meters, sensors and speed cameras. It’s just a selection of the vast arsenal of devices you’ll find in an average city. For many governments, it remains a big challenge to keep these devices up to date and working together. However, as an ever-increasing amount of devices become smarter and connected to the Internet, the possibilities to control much of this management remotely and merge functionalities via dashboards are also growing. In short: IoT (Internet of Things) will be an important theme for many municipalities and public administrations, provided they know how to utilize it to its potential.
Better device management with IoT
The possibilities for IoT are enormous within the (local) government. A good example of this is parking meters. Until not so long ago, these were largely unintelligent devices that accepted a coin in exchange for a ticket. Later, a terminal was added to be able to pay by debit card. That was followed by contactless payment, possibly also with your phone. Finally, the possibility to pay with an app based on the code of the parking machine was added. All these functionalities make life better for the user, but increase the technical complexity of running such machines. Anything can break, malfunctions can occur at any moment. By making vending machines ‘smart’, i.e. linking their functionality in real-time to the internet, you can immediately see via a dashboard whether a particular vending machine is working as it should, or if there is a malfunction.
The same principle applies to all other devices that governments may use in the city. Ranging from electrical cabinets to street lamps and much more. This ‘’ecosystem’’ of devices becomes even more meaningful if you send the data from the IoT devices to predictive algorithms to analyze it (AI and Machine Learning). This way, you can predict which device to inspect at any given time, allowing you to perform work much more efficiently and reducing the chance of malfunctions.
IoT challenges for the government
With all that being said, it is important to realize that working with IoT requires a new set of knowledge & skills, and with that comes new challenges.
• IoT has a piece of software by default. After all, with a camera you want to have the option to turn it on and off, to change the position, or even to record only if there is a certain event. Like a fire or a burglar in the picture.
• The software for IoT works differently than that of a website. For example, with a website you usually don’t want a continuous loop of data processing in real-time, as these insights might not depend on real-time analysis. But within IoT you often need things done in real-time. This requires a different way of programming and presents a threshold to really get started with IoT. Furthermore, IoT security also works differently, using different protocols and with a greater emphasis on physical security.
• And thirdly, managing IoT- especially with key utilities – is still often done per device. But what if you have 1,000 at some point? Perhaps they’re spread in many different geographic locations? Do you have to go through all of them if you want to push an update?
The government is not an IoT expert
The previous point is a major obstacle to actively working with IoT. Moreover, government services are not IT companies and the IT people who work there are not specialists in IoT devices. However, at LINKIT we have taken a big step towards lowering this threshold.
How to make IoT accessible We have designed a partial SaaS solution that allows you to easily link large quantities of IoT devices and control them from a single platform. From an optional portal, you can then easily give commands to all your IoT devices. Per piece, all at the same time, or per group (e.g. one floor). Also, the data gathered during operations are stored and managed securely in the customer’s own cloud environment. By offering an IoT working environment ready-made, we remove a lot of technical barriers and pave the way for a future in which IoT becomes more widely and easily accessible. For companies, but certainly also for the government. More information about Hive you can find at our Hive product page.
Do you want to know more about how IoT can make your office ‘smart’? Please contact Dick van Straaten, our IoT Lead at LINKIT, for more information and a demo.