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IoT - The Internet of (Summer) Things

3 minute read

Even though we’re right in the middle of summer fun, we’re always thinking about the Internet of Things. IoT is everywhere, so it’s probably no surprise that it’s enhancing many of the activities we enjoy this time of year. With that thought in mind, here’s a look at five really cool uses of summer IoT:

Connected ice cream trucks – You could usually hear it a block or two away. “Pop Goes the Weasel” danced faintly in the distance. Everything stopped as you ran inside to get whatever change you could find for a cool treat from the ice cream truck. Today, connected ice cream trucks allow customers to see how far away they are and, in some instances, request a visit to the neighborhood. And mobile paying technology allows some forward-thinking ice cream truck drivers to even accept a parent or relative’s debit card.

A/C control – Whether at home or in a large corporation, sensors that allow remote control of air conditioning systems are crucial this time of year. When on vacation, being able to monitor and adjust the temperature can have quite an impact on the utility bill. The same concern is also important to businesses that need to maintain climate control to prevent critical technology from overheating.

Barbecue grills – These aren’t your grandpa’s grills. The optimum cookout can now be achieved with connected grills. While intuition and skill go a long way, there are now grills with sensors that collect specific data on such things as smoke velocity, relative humidity and temperatures (inside the grill and of the meat) to ensure your burgers and steaks are grilled to perfection.

Surfing – A board, waves and a human body. Surfing seems as unconnected as you could get. But IoT technology is being used to collect critical oceanic data. Through surfboard fins with imbedded sensors, the Smartfin Project is able to record a number of data points about the water when surfers hit the waves. After a surfer is done hanging 10, they can transmit data to researchers, who are gaining a greater understanding of:

  • Climate change and ocean acidification
  • Algal blooms that poison drinking water and marine life
  • Changes in the coastal ecosystem health in areas near desalinization and power plants
  • Declining coral ecosystem health

Sunburns – It can be hard to tell when you’ve reached the point of no return in the sun. IoT to the rescue! Small wearable devices can capture images of “pre-suntan” skin and analyze it with available data on the user’s location and the local forecast.  The device then offers the best times to be in the sun and how often sunscreen should be applied. It also continuously monitors sun exposure with updates via the user’s phone.

Baseball – Even the old ballpark is getting “smart.” The San Diego Padres are now using IoT to monitor electric power, gas and water consumption, which will uncover inefficiencies that engineers can work on remedying. And many stadiums have IoT-powered apps that help fans find the nearest restrooms and concession stands.

IoT is improving and enhancing so much of what we do in the summer. Could a smart beach ball be far behind? We wouldn’t count it out!


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