Stormwater Management and Why it’s Big for the Internet of Things

ioBridge and one of our partners Geosyntec has had a lot of buzz lately.  Geosyntec has been using ioBridge’s “Internet of Things” platform of hardware and software to solve BIG problems in the area of stormwater and rain water management.

The article in Scientific American and Fast Company titled How the “Internet of Things” Is Turning Cities Into Living Organism talks about how this solution is a great example of using “Internet of Things” to immediately affect the environments we live in. I especially enjoyed the analogy of the sensors in the city being the “virtual nervous system”.

“By using the Internet to connect real-world sensors and control mechanisms to cloud-based control systems that can pull in streams from any other data source, including weather reports, these efforts enable conservation and money-saving measures that would have been impossible without this virtual nervous system.”

(Even Chris Anderson of Wired / The Long Tail gave this definition of the Internet of Things a ringing endorsement.)

Why this is BIG for the Internet of Things

I feel like this is all just the tip of the iceberg for the “Internet of Things”.  Solving problems like stormwater management are proving that the “Internet of Things” has a big part in solving real world problems, not just tweeting toasters.

Here’s a recipe:

1) Existing data / trends / models (i.e. weather, tides, sunlight)

2) Real time data (i.e. temperature, pressure, humidity, light)

3) “Things” that need to be controlled (i.e. fans, valves, motors)

4) Platforms for the “Internet of Things” (like what ioBridge makes)

Take a few parts real-time data analysis with existing data / trends / model, decide how and when the things that need to be controlled should function, then mix moderately with a platform for the “Internet of Things”.  What can it be used for?  This recipe goes well with agriculture, infrastructure, energy, water…   In the end you’ll have a way to solve many large real-time problems.

As you can see, most of the components 1-3 have already existed for years.  It is the recent emergence of platforms for the “Internet of Things” that provides that last mile to connect it all together and makes  automatically solving real problems in real-time a reality.

Yeah… It’s kind of a big deal.

[via Scientific American / Fast Company / Wall Street Journal ]

Remote Monitoring of Solar Hot Water Heating System

Engineer extraordinaire Guy Marsden of ART TEC has created a web monitoring system to keep track of his solar water heating equipment. Guy installed temperature sensors at various points in the system and connected them to the ioBridge IO-204 web gateway module. The IO-204 pushes the sensor data to his data logs and from there he can report the data as chart and gauge widgets.

“The ioBridge monitors the solar water heating system temperatures of the 40 sq. ft. Solar Heat Collector, the 40 gallon storage tank, the outside air temperature, and indicates when a solar powered circulation pump is operating.”

Guy decided to share his setup and also give you the ability to see the real-time values on his blog by embedding the ioBridge widgets. Here is a screenshot of the custom user interface that he created with the ioBridge widgets. Click on the screenshot to see his live data.

ARTTEC Solar Heating System User Interface

ARTTEC Solar Heating System User Interface

Check out Guy’s blog ART TEC for more information about this project and see other really interesting projects that he has created in the name of “Sustainable Living”.

A Doorbell Joins the ‘Internet of Things’

Here’s a scenario seemingly from the future. Imagine a world of connected things, lets call it the Internet of Things. There are lots of useful data around us in our environment. There are lots of useful things we may want to know about and may want to interactive with remotely (in a different space and time). If every thing had a voice, there would be a lot of data to collect and to make meaningful. If we can do it, we would be connected to our environments.

This is not as far off as it sounds. The ioBridge Platform was created to make it easy to connect anything to the web, store data from sensors, relay data to other networks, and present the data on websites. People are already creating very interesting projects, products, and services on top of the platform. And everyday we are surprised by the diversity of the projects.

The Internet Doorbell

The Internet Doorbell

Now joining the Internet of Things…The Doorbell. The Internet Doorbell project is by Jason Garland. He created a super easy project that connects his doorbell live to Twitter or really any social network via Ping.fm and ioBridge push services. The instant someone presses his doorbell, the doorbell updates the input status on the ioBridge IO-204 and pushes the message to ioBridge and Ping.fm which updates Twitter (@jgarland79). This is a first step, just think of where it could take you. One day your doorbell gets pressed, you get notified, and you start up a voice-over-IP session with your intercom system. You could interact with (or annoy) your visitor from anywhere in the world.

Check out Jason’s blog for more details on the Twittering Doorbell and other very interesting projects. We also noticed a web-enabled water meter updating water usage.

On a related project, one of our Maker Faire projects this year was the “transcontinental doorbell” – involving two IO-204s linked together. When the doorbell button at one site is pressed it rings a doorbell 2000 miles away in less than 300ms.

Solar Hot Water Monitoring System

Eric Edwards of EJESolar.com created a system that takes solar energy and heats water for his home. He uses Sun Strip Solar panels to heat the water. With a single solar panel Eric is able to heat a 60 gallon tank to temperatures beyond 160°F. He uses the ioBridge IO-204 to data log and actively monitors the water heating system by getting alerts and updates on his mobile phone.

Water Tank and ioBridge IO-204

Water Tank and ioBridge IO-204

ioBridge IO-204 with Temperature Sensors

ioBridge IO-204 with Temperature Sensors

Eric monitors and data logs the temperatures of the the hot water storage tank, the collectors, and the outside temperature in real-time using the ioBridge IO-204 and temperature sensors. This data allows Eric to calculate BTUs collected per day and translate into a dollar figure to track savings. He has surrounded himself with the data to make sure there is no system damage, freezing, etc., by creating a web site to view the data, setting ioBridge message alerts, and using a Google Gadget to display the temperatures collected by the IO-204.

Visit EJESolar.com to see a live view of the data collected by the solar hot water system as well as some more details behind this solar hot water heating system. Ingenious!

Screen Shot of Solar Array and Collected Data (EJESolar.com)

Screen Shot of Solar Array and Collected Data (EJESolar.com)