China is using IoT sensors to monitor its Danjiangkou Reservoir, but not just the reservoir itself, rather it’s monitoring the entire 1,40o kilometer canal that connects the reservoir to Beijing and Tianjin. From a consumer standpoint the Internet of Things is most often positioned as a series of connected devices in the home, from smart lights to smart refrigerators to other smart appliances like dishwashers, washers and dryers, and even water heaters.
The Internet of Things covers a vast majority of stuff, however, and for China with this specific project it’s using IoT sensors to help with a number of different things like checking for structural damage to the canals and checking the quality of the water. The sensors will even monitor for unintended persons or animals that aren’t supposed to be within the proximity of the canal. Helping with all of this is a total of 100,000 IoT sensors which includes 130 different types of sensors in all, from infrastructure sensors to video cameras, and which were reportedly needed to aid in overseeing all of the different elements that are part of the project. With the canal being as long as it is, various bits of information like flow rates were important to have to ensure that only the amount of water that was needed would be traveling to the intended destination.
The sensors are essentially acting as a tool to prevent any of the water from being wasted as the reason for China’s South-To-North Water Diversion Project, of which this particular canal is a part of, was to help route some of the water from Southern China to Northern China where water is more scarce. Each of the tasks that the sensors are helping perform have a specific reason for being implemented, too. The structural damage monitoring for example was put into place as an intended action for the sensors because the canal travels through land area which is more likely to see earthquake activity, which could in turn cause damage to the man-made canals and lead to other potential problems with the diversion project.
The whole point of the Internet of Things is that the internet acts as the tunnel which data is able to travel through. To make sure all of the data could be collected from the sensors being used as part of the IoT network for the diversion project, a “smart gateway” was developed that would allow the data from the sensors to be collected using any available network connection at the moment the data was being requested, which could be anything from 2G to Wi-Fi. While this particular application for IoT technology has little direct impact on consumers, it does at the very least show what’s possible, and it paints a very real picture of the types of uses for IoT outside of the home.