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How Engineers Can Leverage Internet of Things for Better Development Interventions

By Guest Writer on September 16, 2019

global engineer ict4d

Typically, an engineer’s role in addressing global poverty challenges has often been confined to the engineering problem facing community, regional or national scale service interventions. Engineers focused on product design and development and sometimes were excluded from more holistic engagement activities.

After fifty years of these traditional approaches:

  • Over half the world’s population still lives on less than $5.50 a day,
  • The global burden of disease in low-income countries is overwhelmingly attributable to environmental health issues,
  • Climate change is already negatively impacting people, most significantly in developing countries.

The conventional engineering approaches to poverty reduction are insufficient to address the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Emerging Field of Global Engineering

I am excited about the emerging field of Global Engineering that can address these structural issues, through developing and validating methods, tools, and standards that are broadly useful to the global development community. Global Engineering envisions a world in which everyone has safe water, sanitation, energy, food, shelter and infrastructure and can live in health, dignity, and prosperity.

Global Engineering can include contributions from civil, environmental, mechanical, aerospace, chemical, computer science and other domains, and works alongside established professions including Global Health, Development Economics, and public policy.

We have a special opportunity to showcase the new Global Engineering field in two upcoming special issues in the journal Sustainability, a monthly peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal that explores the likelihood of cultural, environmental, economic and social sustainability for human beings.

The ICTWorks community may consider submitting your work to these special issues. Papers selected for this Special Issue will be subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications. Typically turnaround from submission to publication is eight weeks.

As the Guest Editor of these special issues, I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

1. Global Engineering and Sustainable Development

The special issue in Global Engineering and Sustainable Development explores new roles for engineers.

The aim and scope of this Special Issue of Sustainability is to present and review emerging engineering methods, technologies, and evidence that work to address the unequal and unjust distribution of access to basic services such as water, sanitation, energy, food, transportation, and shelter.

Examples may include technology and methods development and validation, data collection, and impact evaluations that can contribute to evidence-based influence on policies and practice. Examples may place an emphasis on identifying the drivers, determinants, and solutions favoring equitable access to basic services.

2. IoT to Support WASH Monitoring and Management

The special issue “Internet of Things, Remote Sensing and Analytics to Support Distributed Monitoring and Management of Water, Sanitation, Agricultural and Energy Resources in Remote and Low Income Regions” offers a narrower focus on technologies applied to development challenges.

Monitoring and managing distributed water, sanitation, agricultural, and energy resources and services in remote and/or low-income regions are increasingly important as population pressures and climate change impact the reliability of these resources.

The aim and scope of this Special Issue of Sustainability is to present and review emerging methods and technologies including “internet of things” sensor systems, cellular-based data collection, remote sensing, machine learning, and other analytical tools designed to support the remote monitoring and management of water, sanitation, agricultural, and energy resources in remote and/or low-income regions.

Examples may include remotely reporting sensor technologies for monitoring water service infrastructure; satellite-based remote sensing of agricultural yields; localized air quality monitoring; cellular-based survey and decision support tools; and machine learning-enabled analytics.

By Evan Thomas, PhD, PE, MPH  |  Director, Mortenson Center | Global Engineering University of Colorado at Boulder

Filed Under: Thought Leadership
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One Comment to “How Engineers Can Leverage Internet of Things for Better Development Interventions”

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