‘Internet of Things’ digs into dumpster opportunitites

The “Internet of Things” (or IoT), in which machines are fitted with sensors and network connectivity to exchange data with one another, enabling services like remote activation and monitoring, may soon be literally going into the dumpster.

That’s because one company is aiming to enter the Canadian market with its line of “smart” public trash bins, fitted with sensors to monitor the capacity, with a software program connected to the bins via Wi-Fi notifying the appropriate agency when a bin gets too full, or when an emergency such as a garbage fire occurs.

Los Angeles-based Ecube Labs, one of the few companies expanding the use of these “Clean Cubes” on the global market, said it has installations in cities like Hermosa Beach, California, and Washington, D.C. Michael Son, CFO of investments and global business development with Ecube, said the company has also found a partner in Toronto and is looking to launch a pilot program in Markham and Mississauga.

IoT has been popping up in various household appliances in recent years. Electronics makers Samsung and LG have been among the most aggressive promoters of the technology for household use, making refrigerators with cameras to track, say, how much milk is left, and including a connection through credit card mobile apps to allow an owner to order needed groceries for delivery, directly from the fridge.

“The one thing that is true is that device capabilities like IoT will become ubiquitous,” said Carl Anderson, president and CEO of the BC Innovation Council, who closely tracks IoT development within the sector. “There’s a parallel with the internet itself; in 1975, 0.25% of the global population was on the net. In 2017, that percentage is 51%. For IoT, where we are at right now is the 1975 level for internet use; more application will come.”

Anderson said there will be cases where IoT will be especially welcomed by consumers. One such field is seniors’ care, in which IoT could allow for non-intrusive monitoring of an elderly person living alone.

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