IoT Early Warning System Helps Save People From Mudslides

IoT Early Warning System Helps Save People From Mudslides

Published By: Network World, 08/24/2016

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This article describes an early warning system for mudslides and flood in rural El Salvador that uses a mesh network of simple devices. Reaccion worked with local villagers to develop a solution that fit their needs and cultural structures. The article can be used to highlight differences between the U.S., where a vast array of technological advances can aid in mitigating disasters, and remote areas of the world where many of the basic technologies involved, such as cell-phone networks, do not exist or are not reliable.

Extended Discussion Questions

  • In the article title, the author uses the term “IoT” (Internet of Things) to refer to the sensors and the mesh network of communication devices. What other areas of society does IoT impact, and how?
  • The article outlines how an automated solution (sensors) interacts with the knowledge of village elders, who have traditionally handled early warnings and analysis. How did the solution incorporate this aspect of the local culture? Can you think of other examples where culture impacts the design of computing solutions?
  • The article describes a mesh network of devices that connect peer-to-peer. What types of systems use peer-to-peer connections? How does the peer-to-peer structure impact the ways the system can be used?

Related Article

“Understanding the Differences Between Client/Server and Peer-to-Peer Networks”
Published By: TechRepublic, 05/26/2016 || View the Article
Provides background on peer-to-peer networks.

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
  • LO 7.1.2 Explain how people participate in a problem-solving process that scales.
  • LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.1.1E Widespread access to information facilitates the identification of problems, development of solutions, and dissemination of results.
  • EK 7.1.1J Sensor networks facilitate new ways of interacting with the environment and with physical systems.
  • EK 7.4.1B Mobile, wireless, and networked computing have an impact on innovation throughout the world.
  • EK 7.4.1D Groups and individuals are affected by the “digital divide” — differing access to computing and the Internet based on socioeconomic or geographic characteristics.
  • EK 7.4.1E Networks and infrastructure are supported by both commercial and governmental initiatives.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • 6 The Internet

Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Crop 6”, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0

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