Internet of Things (IoT) devices are becoming more widespread, both in number and variety. They're common fixtures in homes and businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Perhaps your first view of IoT devices was as entertaining gadgets, such as smart speakers. But, they can save lives, too, and here are four examples.
IoT Technologies That Give First Responders the Information They Need
The brave people who serve as first responders often don't know what to expect when they arrive at a scene. That means they may spend precious time trying to assess how to enter buildings safely. IoT technology could keep them more informed before they arrive.
IoT wearables assist firefighters with situational awareness. For example, heat and smoke sensors in a building can send data to a command center's interface or track where fire crews are — whether en-route to a scene or already encountering a blaze. Some allow them to send them information about the circumstances to other teams coming to help. These advantages minimize surprises, making firefighters more equipped to save lives.
There are also on-board Wi-Fi routers for first responders that help high-bandwidth applications run up to 10 times faster and four times further from a vehicle than before. A typical police car has a laptop, license plate recognition tools, vehicle cameras and more.
When gadgets like these provide information, they help dispatchers assess the situation and determine whether to send more help. That means trained responders are maximally informed and able to excel at their jobs. Not having the necessary information could lead to costly mistakes or incorrect assumptions. But, IoT technologies provide details at crucial times.
IoT Technologies for Improved Personal Safety
Sometimes, innocent actions like walking home alone at night after finishing a work shift can put people in danger. Wearable IoT safety devices could help consumers stay safe from rapes or other kinds of assaults and potentially save their lives.
A South African startup released a wearable panic button that connects to a control center. There, staff members receive details about a user's medical conditions, emergency contacts and estimated location. A worker can also attempt to contact the user directly via the device to determine the nature of the emergency.
A similar device from Revolar allows people to check in with their loved ones or say that they got home safely by pressing a button. Three alert levels help people communicate with people they trust and indicate that they need assistance. The gadget can also make a person's phone ring, which could excuse themselves from a threatening situation such as a date where someone comes on too strong.
IoT Technologies That Alert Others of Medical Distress
Many experts in innovation discuss how new technologies entirely disrupt existing business models. The companies that know how to innovate are typically the most successful. Applying innovation to market needs requires tuning in to the things that matter most to the target market.
People understandably want peace of mind when their family members are disabled or have chronic medical ailments that could become dangerous.
Fortunately, IoT technologies let people use diabetes alert systems that automatically tell others if their blood sugar reaches a dangerous level.
Moreover, researchers in the Netherlands developed a high-tech bracelet that detects 85% of epileptic seizures occurring during the night. It checks for two tell-tale signs: Abnormally fast heartbeat and erratic jolting movements. That technology could save thousands of lives, especially for epileptic patients who are intellectually disabled. They're at an especially high risk of fatal seizure complications.
People could eventually buy smart speaker additions that can recognize the signs of someone having a heart attack. Scientists recently created such an algorithm that recognized the agonal breathing that often accompanies a cardiac arrest event. It did so with 97% accuracy from up to 20 feet away. It's not difficult to see the marketability of that proof of concept.
There’s also new technology emerging for cancer detection and prevention. The EVA device, for example, uses thermal mapping and artificial intelligence technology to examine the breast in a non-invasive and pain-free way. It then creates a thermal map using infrared light to detect threats to breast health.
The technology has 81.7% specificity and can also be inserted into a bra device for at-home accessibility. The funding and support for EVA bra, a life-changing IoT device has never been higher.
IoT Technologies That Protect Animals
Besides contributing to life-saving efforts for humans, the IoT plays a defining role in wildlife conservation. For example, it can assist with tracking rhino movements to protect them from poachers or monitor the overall health of a honeybee colony. One such solution for bee health monitors 10 million bees across 100,000 acres in multiple continents.
A trial also occurred regarding using IoT sensors to assess the levels of pollution and other adverse environmental changes in both the air and water that could harm Alaska's beluga whales.
Exciting Opportunities Created by IoT Gadgets
Live-saving applications of the IoT are still in the early stages. But, these examples show what's possible and what to anticipate in the coming years. Thanks to this progress, people could conclude that IoT technology is even more valuable than they initially realized.