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IoT proponents hold the belief that this is the latest phase of development for internet technologies. Whereas in the late twentieth century, the internet functioned as a network of computers, during the first decade of the twenty-first century with the development of mobile technologies, it further evolved into a network of people and web services. Now IoT is being developed as a series of platforms enabling devices to network with one another based on analyses of cloud data.
IoT Applications In Retail, Homes and Industry
IoT applications in retail include tracking products and monitoring their storage conditions in order to ensure higher standards of quality. In addition, IoT can be a helpful tool for keeping track of inventory on store shelves and automatically send out orders for restocking when needed. IoT applications are already being tested at six 7-11 convenience store locations in Taipei.
In private homes, IoT applications are also being developed to monitor electricity and water usage as a means of helping homeowners save money on utility bills. In addition, IoT can also be used for domestic security surveillance and to allow homeowners to remotely control appliances, such as washing machines, air conditioners, and refrigerators using mobile devices. Some of these functions are currently being tried out at Naluwan Hotel in Wulai, New Taipei City.
Four retirement homes in Taiwan have also begun using IoT technology to monitor the health conditions of elderly residents. These technologies enable staff and medical care workers to monitor patients’ vital signs and to track their movements around the clock.
Large-scale Infrastructure Projects to Be Especially Valuable
Industry insiders expect IoT applications for large-scale infrastructure projects to be especially valuable. For water treatment, IoT platforms are being developed to record and measure the chemical makeup of tap water in order to maintain water quality. In addition, sensor systems are also being developed to detect chemical spills and pollution in river water. IoT platforms will also facilitate the monitoring of pipes and water tanks for leaks and spillage. In the future, it is expected that smart agriculture platforms will assist farmers in controlling climatic conditions in greenhouses for growing produce.
Perhaps the pinnacle of IoT development will be the creation of smart city platforms that will network devices and sensors together for interactions based on shared data through cloud services. These networks will be particularly useful for traffic control in urban environments. For example, smart parking platforms will send our automated data to drivers in real time, so that they will be able to quickly find parking spaces without having to drive around and contribute to overcrowding on roadways.
Similarly, drivers will also be able to access information about traffic delays, weather hazards, and congested roads in order to find optimal travel routes.
IoT will also assist city governments in the repair and maintenance of urban traffic infrastructures. For example, IoT sensors can be used to monitor roadways and bridges for potholes and structural weaknesses. Currently some of these applications are being put to use in Chongshan Parking Lot and the Municipal Library parking lot in Sanchung, New Taipei City.
In recent years, Taipower has been in the process of conducting research and development of smart metering systems, which will include smart grids to automatically keep track of energy consumption and photovoltaic installations that will facilitate optimal performance of solar energy facilities.
In order to achieve the goal of implementing smart metering infrastructure in Taiwan, Taipower has teamed up with Tatung and contracted them to design and build Advanced Media Infrastructure (AMI) systems in Taiwan. AMI systems include the capacity for automated meter readings, event detection, and messaging as well as the establishment of energy consumption databases.
In the Penghu Archipelago the National Science Council is working in cooperation with Taipower, the Bureau of Energy, and the Ministry of Economic Affairs on the National Energy Project II, which is a Demo Site of Smart Grid and AMI.
By 2017, the project aims to implement smart grid and AMI technologies and promote the use of smart meters, micro grid, and advanced power distribution. In addition, it will also involve the test-construction of smart homes and an energy supply management system for electric vehicles.
In conjunction with the Low Carbon Island Project in Penghu, the energy project hopes to decrease carbon emissions from 2005 to 2015 by 50% and through the use wind-turbine technology have 50% of energy demand supplied through renewable energy sources. These flagship programs in Penghu will serve as a testing ground for future IoT-related development projects in other parts of Taiwan.