For those who would prefer not to deal with technology or fear its downside, you may be tempted to bypass this Post. Please do not do so.
An important new technology, the Internet of Things (IoT for short) is coming to businesses and homes worldwide. IoT has already started to transform energy, manufacturing, healthcare, retail business.
In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Ladan Davarzani & Mark Purdy show us that this same technology can offer a relatively inexpensive way of Breaking Through important Barriers that hold back poor countries---including lack of infrastructure.
“A new force for growth is emerging in some of the world’s poorest regions, and it leverages some of the world’s most advanced technology. The Internet of Things (IoT)—a model that uses networks of Internet-enabled devices that often operate without human intervention—might appear to have limited applicability to the world’s least-developed economies. But many elements of the IoT model, such as cheap sensors and wireless technologies, are remarkably well suited to conditions in poor countries. Organizations of all kinds are creating and using IoT networks to deliver new solutions that can increase living standards, and they are doing so without the need for large financial investments or the heavy involvement of state bureaucracy.”
What is IoT?
So what is IoT? We will be answering that question in more detail and illustrating its impact over the coming weeks. But, for today, let's just take a quick look. Imagine tiny sensors embedded in the otherwise inert, "dumb things" that we see and use in our surrounding every day---from phones, to cars, to lights, to urban gardens. Imagine if these sensors were suddenly to have some level of computer "intelligence" and could communicate with each other, and with us, through existing networking technologies.
Imagine being able to sense, and immediately respond to, our surroundings without the complex, time-consuming step of making a phone call, composing and sending an email, or having to call up a Chat app. With IoT, objects are given a limited capability to take "intelligent action" and they can directly respond to what is happening in their surroundings---from weather conditions, to a physical intrusion, to a change in blood pressure, etc. The IoT sensor can trigger modification and fixes on the spot and on the fly. For example, implanted IoT devices could adjust the delivery of your medication. In your garden, they could tailor the delivery of water and plant food. In your car, they could apply the brakes to avoid an accident, and, in your home, they could lock doors upon sensing an attempted intrusion.
At the same time, IoT can use its connections to our existing networks to automatically communicate with remote locations---to notify your family or doctor, to directly contact the police, to order medical supplies from your pharmacy, etc.
This local sense, respond and notify capability is why we, at MycoMesh, find this ingenious technology so important and transforming. It is one of the core tools that allow MycoMesh to design solutions that mimic the enormously successful mycelial (mushroom) network upon which MycoPLACES Ecosystem is modeled.
For Poor Countries
Imagine the effect these technologies can have in delivering life-saving help and resources into remote areas without having to wait for huge investments in roads and airports and other traditional infrastructure. As Ladan & Mark demonstrate, IoT has already been used: to boost productivity on farms in Tanzania; to deliver medical supplies into otherwise barely penetrable terrain in places like Bhutan [with only 3 physicians for every 10,000 people]; to provide early warning of severe weather conditions through texting in countries such as Guinea and Haiti, where an early warning may make the difference between life and death; and, to enable delivery of medical advice and direction in Malawi. At MycoMesh, we believe that the payoff from using IoT in poor countries is still in its infancy.
For the MycoPLACES Ecosystem
These same local, distributed, “intelligent” devices and software give us flexibility and mobility in designing innovative, bio-inspired mycoPLACEs and their supporting ecosystems. Bio-inspired applications of IoT will help groups and communities implement mycoPLACES and spaces at much lower cost and with far greater impact. The possibilities are practical, powerful and endless.
As with large scale infrastructure projects in underdeveloped countries, using IoT in MycoPLACEs is in its infancy. So, if you are interested in collaborating with us to create solutions in your community using IoT, please reach out to us>>
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