One of the key drivers, along with mobility, on demand services, 5G and more, of the digital transformation of society is IoT – the Internet of Things. The plan for IoT is to have a sensor on everything, from bridges to your refrigerator, that can communicate the desired information in real time. IoT is supposed to put the Smart in Smart Cities.
I have never really liked the “things’ part of that concept. It seems like Kevin Ashton, author of the very valuable “How to Fly a Horse” and coiner of the term wasn’t quite sure what he wanted to say. No doubt he wanted it to be flexible so that IoT would stand the test of time, which it has, but I would like to suggest an update, or maybe a more specific category which I think better describes what really needs to be done.
I believe we need to monitor and/or instrument the Built Environment. Those are the “things” that as a civil engineer that I am interested in. People have already instrumented the natural environment and they are welcome to classify that as they see fit. The NSF’s NEON comes to mind.
So I would like to propose the IBE – the Internet of the Built Environment. Transportation facilities, buildings, utilities, vehicles, UAVs and more all need to be connected and integrated into a master control and monitoring system, not unlike what NEON is doing for the natural environment.