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Towards a sensor commons | Technology Treason

The Internet of Things, a term being bandied to the point of almost meaninglessness now it’s hit the mainstream of the NYT and the BBC. Yet, while the mainstay of the media struggles to describe how and why smart sensor arrays are going to mean you spend less time in traffic, ultimately pay more for your electricity but make sure your fruit is always fresh, there is a quiet revolution taking place.

The action taking place is the creation of what I call the Sensor Commons. Why is this a revolution? Because as a population we are deciding that governments and civic planners no longer have the ability to provide meaningful information at a local level.

Two posts summarise this activity and its implications beautifully for me.

The first, by Ed Bordern from Pachube, is on the creation of a community driven Air Quality Sensor Network. His passionate call to arms highlights that we have no realtime system for measuring air quality. Further, what data does exist and has been released by governments is transient due to the sampling method (ie that the sensor is moved from location to location over time). Summarising a workshop on the topic, he discusses how a community oriented sensor network can be created, funded and deployed.

The implications of this quiet revolution are discussed by Jauvan Moradi in his post on how open sensor networks will affect journalism. Jauvan discusses how citizen data will re-establish the localised roots of journalism by reporting on issues that matter locally and with accurate, real time data to help drive the story. Obviously Jauvan has an interest in media so he’s taking that slant yet this is but one of the many implications of the Sensor Commons.

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