As I admire the beautiful day from the window of Ingenu’s corporate headquarters in San Diego, it is difficult to imagine yet another storm that is looming in the Eastern swath of the country.  The region is preparing for a “paralyzing blizzard” which is sure to cause destruction and mayhem at the very least.

In order to keep the thoroughfares affected by the storm in working order, crews will be on hand to scatter salt along the roads.  While this is an effective solution for reducing the freezing point of water, it can be extremely corrosive to roads and cars, and requires inordinate amounts of resources in order to distribute.  It is also estimated that nearly 22 million tons of salt is utilized each year in the U.S. for road maintenance, which results in toxic levels affecting nearby waterways and agriculture.

However, with the advancements in IoT technology, municipalities can more closely monitor snow and ice levels, and thus pinpoint the distribution of roadway salt with better accuracy.  For example, Libelium is utilizing its Waspmote Plug & Sense! environmental monitoring solution to measure distinct atmospheric and weather conditions which can better detect the need for salting.  This reduces the amount of salt that is distributed, manages resources for distribution and ultimately lessens the carbon footprint of the vehicles that are used to support this much-needed service.

This use case illustrates that the Internet of Things is more than just about technology.  It is changing the way we collect and utilize information, which in turn can make ordinary things and solutions even more intelligent and useful.