The Internet of Things (IoT) is the trendy term referring to the interconnectedness of commonplace items, beyond just our tablets, phones and computers. Soon, our refrigerators will text us to tell us we are out of milk; our garage doors will know when nobody is home and close themselves; our washer machines will reorder laundry detergent when we start to run low. The examples of “smart” homes and “smart” cities are numerous. Our automobiles will alert us of open parking meters on busy city streets and communicate with other cars so as to avoid accidents and reduce traffic conjugation. The Internet of Things is expected to help us reduce our energy consumption, manage our healthcare, and maintain a cleaner environment.
At the core of the “IoT” concept is the idea that sensors can be embedded into everyday devices capable of collecting data, analyzed that data, and helping drive useful decisions. The opportunities for practical connectedness are infinite. The value of placing sensors into objects as it relates to environmental protection and compliance is particularly beneficial. Consider the possibilities when sensors at various sites report useful data to compliance inspectors in in real time. Sensors can alert inspectors of current weather conditions, measure precipitation at specific sites, and give inspection teams real-time awareness of conditions on the ground helping their clients avoid deficiencies and possible citations. This enhanced level of situational awareness will change the way many in the inspection and compliance industry do business.
The greatest advantage “IoT” can deliver to a compliance inspector is accurate and timely data upon which they can act. By quickly understanding the complexities related to certain weather events, inspectors are able to respond swiftly, which reduces costs and risks.
Compliance inspectors are already using advanced cloud-based software and mobile devices to conduct site inspections. Soon drones will be circling overhead to help site inspectors gain a vantage point otherwise lost (see previous blog). And now, with “IoT” applications expanding rapidly and communication protocols becoming increasingly standardized, compliance inspections will be made more efficient which will make compliance even easier. The “IoT” ecosystem is not only creating superior value for those companies conducting the inspections, but also for those receiving the inspections, such as construction sites, industrial operations, and municipalities. Those who are subject to the rules and regulation related to environmental compliance will benefit tremendously from the broad adoption of “IoT” making deficiencies far less common.
For all the buzz around “IoT”, the potential to act as a force multiplier in the area of environmental compliance is among the most exciting. Welcome to the new world of the Internet of Things.