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Internet of Things (IoT): Applications for Bhutan

IoT services are extremely useful in areas like industrial automation where devices like robots and sensors can remotely report potential problems before they occur.
  • འཕྲུལ་རིག་གསར་བཏོད།
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  • སྤྱི་ཟླ་བརྒྱད་པ། 3, 2021

The Internet of Things has become an increasingly important area of focus fueled by the rise in devices connected to the internet. The IoT can broadly be defined as a network of physical objects connected to and over the internet. IoT services are extremely useful in areas like industrial automation where devices like robots and sensors can remotely report potential problems before they occur, saving companies from costly repairs, supervision, and maintenance. Additionally, IOT technology allows for abundant data collection through various sources which can be used for AI applications & productization of data. 

Components of IoT platforms include hardware, data, software, and connectivity. As a result of its complex nature, the IoT has the for exponential growth. It brings with it increasing opportunities for innovative solutions with a range of applications in factories, cities, healthcare, worksites, offices, vehicles, etc.

Applications

Wearables Virtual glasses, smart watches, GPS tracking belts.
Healthcare Wearables and sensors connected to patients that allow physicians to monitor the patient’s vitals remotely in real time. This is particularly useful for the prevention of lethal events in high-risk patients.
Traffic Monitoring A component of smart city planning. Mobile phone sensors collect and share data from vehicles through applications such as Google Maps. Here, the IoT is being leveraged to inform users and at the same time contribute to traffic surveillance. This enhances accuracy of information on different routes that lead to the same destination, distance, estimated time of arrival, etc.
Fleet ManagementEnables effective interconnectivity between fleet vehicles and their managers as well as between the vehicles and their drivers. Detailed information about the status, operation, and needs of the vehicle can be accessed through software that collects, processes, and organizes data. Managers can even be alerted through alarms in real time regarding maintenance incidents that go undetected by drivers. The application of IoT to fleet management assists with geolocation (monitoring and identification of the most efficient routes), performance analysis, telemetry control and fuel savings, reduction of harmful emissions and information to improve driving of vehicles. This can provide effective solutions for logistics and transportation issues in Bhutan. 

This aspect of IoT services will be applied to the Smart Transportation Project under DRIVE, InnoTech.
Agriculture Through IoT sensors, crucial information about the quality and condition of soil can be obtained which can help farmers control irrigation, enhance the efficiency of water use, pinpoint optimal sowing times, and even detect the presence of diseases in plants and soil. All these abilities can help create ‘Smart Farm’.
Hospitality IoT applications in the hospitality industry can make vast improvements in the quality of service through the issuance of electronic keys to guests. These keys can be directly sent to the mobile devices of each guest, which opens up the possibility to automate various interactions such as room service, automatic charge of room accounts to the guests, request of supplies, etc.
Smart Grid and Energy SavingSensors attached to the meters (i.e., intelligent meters) and sensors installed at different strategic points that go from the production plants to the different distribution points allow better monitoring and control of the electrical network. 

Establishment of a bidirectional communication between the service providers and the end user can yield information of tremendous value for detection of faults, decision making, and repair thereof. It also provides valuable information to the end user regarding their consumption patterns and the ways in which they can optimize their energy expenditure.

For Bhutan, this area of IoT service will be implemented in the smart city planning, particularly the smart energy aspect of the project.
Water Supply Sensors can either be incorporated or adjusted externally to water meters, connected to the internet and the necessary software. These help collect, process and analyze data, providing insights into the behaviour of consumers, detecting faults in the supply service, report results and put forth courses of action to the company providing the service. This application of IoT services will be seen in the Water Management Project under DRIVE, InnoTech.
Maintenance 
Management
A combination of sensors and the appropriate software can create a multifunctional tool which can be applied to a host of disciplines, with the aim of extending the productive life of devices, while guaranteeing their reliability and availability. This type of management ensures real-time monitoring of the devices and when a measurement is deemed to be out of range, condition-based maintenance will be performed. It can even apply AI algorithms like Machine Learning or Deep Learning to predict the failure before its occurrence.

Challenges

  • Human Nature to resist change: IoT is intensely complex and this can put forth a daunting hurdle for people to overcome as they explore new areas of innovation and implementation. 
  • Security and Privacy: Data in the aggregate is not considered too much of an issue. However, it is important to ensure that no personally identifiable information is being shared. For this, policies need to be formulated and systems implemented to protect sensitive user information. 
  • Connectivity: Internet connectivity is critical for the use of IoT services. 
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