[LINK] More Earth-Shattering IoT Applications

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Tue Apr 24 20:36:46 AEST 2018

Newcastle Council uses sportsground for smart city trial
Matt Johnston
Apr 24 2018

> ... a soil monitoring sensor will be used to measure the field's moisture, potentially allowing council to save on water costs and maintenance.

The groundsman and his travel to grounds are a fixed and unavoidable cost.  Costs associated with watering and repair (as distinct from 'maintenance') *might* be capable of being reduced;  so this does seem that it might be worth investigating.

>The sensor will also allow sports organisations to remotely determine whether the field is fit for play hours in advance of competitions.

Speaking with the benefit of 15 years as a soccer referee:
(a) no Council could afford to close grounds without inspecting them first, because the wrath of parents and players could be upon their heads;  and
(b) no referee would ever decide whether player safety considerations precluded or enabled the game to go ahead without inspecting the ground. 

Put another way, this 'application' is pure salesman's dream-world.

>The sportsground is also set to trial bin sensors to streamline emptying schedules and routes, ...

They should try re-discovering the traveling salesman problem.  The complexities of most scheduling and routing tasks are beyond computational modelling.

Is there really any benefit to be gained from knowing which bins are routinely fullest and emptiest?

And wouldn't monitoring of where events are being held (resulting in more people-traffic, and hence an increased likelihood of bins overflowing) be at least as good a predictor of demand for bin-emptying services?

And can we really expect a standby team of bin-emptiers to be scrambled to empty the ones that are fullest, when they're full?

> ... smart lighting control, ...

Maybe tenable, but what benefits does a network bring in comparison with a localised sensor-actuator combination?

> ...  and parking sensors.

Ah, something that could actually be useful.  But:
(a)  they're only useful in car-parks that have high occupancy-levels
(b)  they're only useful during the periods when those levels occur;  and
(c)  availability can change rapidly, so data-availability over even medium-distance is valueless, so the primary users are those approaching the car-park and those already inside it, so 'the Internet' (and the cloud) are irrelevant, because a LAN can do it

One doesn't want to be *unduly* sceptical, but such things really do seem far too much like either techno-solutions desperately seeking a problem, or excuses for the installation of sensors that have other purposes that the sponsors would sooner not publicise.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 6916                        http://about.me/roger.clarke
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

More information about the Link mailing list