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What is the best way to use IoT?

While data is the output of an IoT system, it needs to be considered right from the very start of the system design process.

While data is the output of an IoT system, it needs to be considered right from the very start of the system design process.

Making the most of data from IoT

Given the critical importance of data being generated by an IoT system, having an overarching vision for the project, and knowing what the intended outcome or action should be, is critical to developing sustainable and useful IoT systems. There are also many other factors to consider when thinking about data, starting off with a seemingly simple, but complex question:

  • What type of data do you want to collect and why? The type of data that you would like to collect will influence the type of technology (discussed in week 1) that it will be suitable for.
  • Whose data are you collecting? It is important to consider, whether you are collecting data about the natural environment, people, or constructed systems.
  • How are you going to use that data? As we are interested in sustainability in this course, how will it inform decision-making in relation to sustainable outcomes?

An example

Let’s take healthcare as an example. IoT is said to be transforming healthcare, providing opportunities to optimise individual patient care, and improve overall population health. With the expansion of telehealth prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, ‘virtual care’ is likely to become a key part of health care systems and approaches even post-pandemic.


With healthcare in mind, consider an application of IoT, focusing specifically on data. Healthcare in this context could be at an individual or population level? How could IoT be used, what data would be useful to collect and why, whose data would you be collecting, and how might that data inform decision-making for more sustainable outcomes?

You might like to think of applications that use IoT that you have seen being used in your local context as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic as an example.

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Internet of Things (IoT) and Sustainability

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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