Do you remember the ZX Spectrum or the Commodore 64? No? Those were early computers, in-fact so early even before my time. However those machines paved the way for new technologies, which in-turn paved the way for new technologies and so on. Its 2021 why do those old machines matter? Those machines were a part of a journey which eventually caused mass adoption of computers. Every human on the planet would eventually have some sort of computing power quite literally in the palm of their hand.

Internet of Things (IoT) in 2021 is like the ZX Spectrum or Commodore 64 of the early days. It’s an advanced technology with great potential to significantly change the world. Why? What could come next if every human already has vast computing power? The answer, in the simplest of terms is “things”. Things in the most literal terms are everyday objects or tools or really anything that humans use or interact with to make their lives better. This could be a fridge used to keep foods and medicines cold or vehicles which need to move around site or even keys.

Internet of Things is being driven by a long standing trend – data. Data is the most valuable asset of the current decade and it’s foreseeable that data will continue its uptrend. Humans have been generating data for decades; the things around us are an entirely new beast! Medicines expire if they are too warm – we are seeing this daily with the Pfizer vaccine that needs to be stored at very cold temperatures. It’s far too costly for a human to monitor a thermometer for every second of the day but it’s easy, practical and cheap for a computer to monitor it. If the temperature goes out of range the computer sends a notice through the internet to a human who can quickly take corrective actions.

The Mining industry has already had some great success with implementing IoT technology in areas like safety, vehicle management, mapping and early warning systems. We’ve also seen some very creative and practical IoT implementations designed to automate some manual daily operational issues like load counting or vehicle road optimisation.

IoT is still very much in its infancy. Hardware engineers are constantly finding new and innovative ways to implement IoT technology. There is no doubt that mines need those solutions to better automate operations or gather data faster and more reliably.

Mines can do quite a lot right now to tip IoT in their favour. While implementation might lag due to a lengthy development process planning does not! Right now management and board members need to strategically rethink the way they approach IoT solutions. Instead of searching for a limited number of finished applications they should rather focus on identifying problematic aspects in their business and brainstorm potential technological solutions. Armed with a solution to a problem mines can approach IoT engineers to help them design the technology required. Mines become a partner in the problem solving process guaranteeing an implementation that is perfectly suited to their needs.

IoT is new and costs money to implement. The investment is worth it 100 times over when the solution to a specific problem is identified, quantified, understood and ultimately solved.

Our best pick of top tech for Mines. Angle of Arrival 3D mapping… Angle of arrival is a Bluetooth technology that allows for an accurate 3 dimensional map anywhere (even underground). The potential use cases are plentiful. Safety is currently the most prominent in that workers and machinery can be accurately pinpointed while underground in real time. Automating management, preventing collisions or quick assessments in the event of an accident.

Gavin Levenstein is the CEO of TechThrive. TechThrive has been involved in IoT since 2019. We’re thought leaders key in developing strategic IoT implementations as well as managing the process from idea to full scale deployment. Our niche focuses on battery powered or mobile deployment into hard to reach, remote locations for continuous long term operation.