Until I saw this week’s webinar, I was convinced that LG can benefit significantly from implementation of IOT but could not see direct savings arising. The benefits I saw would flow indirectly from better-informed decisions which have the potential to reduce both capital and operation costs.
But I took up the challenges which Jon suggested in his presentation – e.g. how would I make 10 LG staff look like they were 20, or how would I make 2 road graders look like 4? What would a Thing look like which not only collected data but made decisions, took initiatives, and waged the obligatory paper war which would inevitably arise? And I thought of all the Things which perhaps might be fully networked so they formed a Thing which could run all aspects of a LG area (shire, municipality…) with just about no set-up effort and minimal on-going inputs from expert humans other than the IT crew which makes sure that the whole Thing keeps operating as intended.
Suddenly I thought that I had a concept which I COULD sell to management and elected groups. Something which could have a net impact on the financial Bottom Line while improving service delivery to ratepayers and reversing the observable decline in Natural Values. Not to get too carried away with flights of fantasy though – the sales pitch will still need the support of touted low-cost IOT components and operation.
So just for one example I developed the specs for a Thing which I called the ABM. This Thing does all of the tasks which a competent Bridge Engineer standing 24/7 on a bridge site could do, and then some. There are 152 bridges in this Municipality and 29 municipalities in the State of Tasmania so there is plenty of scope for deployment of a Thing which could have saved me from doing something which I did this week – travel to 3 remote bridge sites to work out when and how they should be replaced. The ABM need not be more complicated or expensive than a smart-phone and I know that it is already within the capability of Manufacturer A to design and assemble a Bridge Module which can:
be as robust as a weedswiper, or better – probably need aircraft-style triple-sensors
be independent and self-powered
be resistant to vandals and other idiots
be plug'n'play at any site with little or no human intervention in on-site setup.
incorporate a range of sensors which would record all valuable information about the bridge and its surrounds - traffic counts and wheel loads, structural responses to measured loads, available freeboard, river water velocity, temperature, humidity, geospatial position (x,y,z), time, alignment, integrity, air quality, water quality, wind speed & direction, vehicle ID when vehicles are tagged (RFID say)
generate alarms around nominated thresholds, including self-diagnosed faults.
generate and store various condition reports in real time from collected data, including short and long-term trends.
upload those reports via narrow-band links (when active) via API protocols to diverse recipients including all other modules within the LG Thing as well as to external auditors, partners or beneficiaries.