The Internet of Things (IoT) has made its way into every industry sector, but the use cases for charities and nonprofits are proving to be among the most innovative and beneficial solutions created to date.
From contactless payment systems embedded in windows to canine fundraisers, IoT can make a world of difference when it comes to collecting donations for the causes that change our world and make us feel good about how we’re spending our money.
These are the top ten IoT projects and companies making a positive impact on the world around us:
The Yard Creative offers expertise in creating brand and retail experiences to be remembered. They have brought those skills to charity using connected devices to both make people look and bring out their humanity for a cause.
One example of their work includes a mirror that, when touched, displays a girl from Uganda who tells her story, as long as the listener does not move their hand from hers. This contact incites very humanly, personal emotions in viewers which incites their generosity.
HabitatMap is a nonprofit that uses connected devices to measure pollution in cities. Users can contribute to the noise pollution maps by using their smartphone's microphone to record noise pollution. The company also released a crowdfunding campaign for a sensor called AirBeam which measures particulate matter, temperature, and humidity. The sensor is wearable, so users can crowdsource and view their exposure to pollution in real-time.
The Center for Sustainable Energy is a charity offering advice to people who struggle with fuel poverty. Through the use of the CharIoT kit, they help collect valuable data regarding factors such as temperature, humidity, electricity, and gas usage, just to name a few. The data they collect also helps to better judge the problem of fuel poverty and to offer actionable advice to sufferers.
Surtrac is using IoT and artificial intelligence to help the world with a problem that plagues most of us everyday traffic. Surtrac signals are a smarter way to manage traffic because they analyze the traffic on the roads on a second by second basis, making them better able to manage the flow, avoid wait times and congestion, and even reduce emissions thanks to increased efficiency on the roadways.
Companies all around the world use services from tech giant Amazon to create scalable infrastructures for many facets of business technology. Amazon Web Services offers inexpensive services directly to nonprofits to keep them up and running, even as they grow. AWS can be used in conjunction with IoT device sensors and other data-heavy endeavors. Their shared services open possibilities that would be unavailable if in-house tech were required meaning that charities and nonprofits can focus their funding toward their cause.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, alongside Intel, is employing Amazon Web Services technology with their IoT efforts, and Amazon serves many other notable non-profits such as PBS, Just Giving, and Change.org.
Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research supported Intel in their work to design a platform for big data collection and analysis from IoT sensors in smartphones to help provide users with more information in hopes of finding a better understanding and a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
You can learn more about this project in the following video:
Mendix was able to use a Christmas-themed IoT application to raise 4000 GBP for Action for Children. The app consisted of four buttons, all linked to a Christmas tree in the office of Mendix, and users were able to use these buttons to turn on lights on the tree. The event was live-streamed and sported a counter to show in real-time how many times the lights had been light. For each time users lit the tree, Mendix vowed to donate to the cause. The idea received a great response and sometimes involved 150 users trying to light up the tree at once.
This type of innovative campaign is a benchmark for creative marketers and fundraisers of the future.
Traditional door-to-door charity collection is not as effective as it once was, in major part because very few people still carry cash. WhyDonate and Tele2IoT worked together to create a solution called the “Collection Box” which uses IoT technology to accept touchless payments from users’ credit cards or mobile phones to bring donation and charity into the modern world. The device uses a SIM card to ensure connectivity.
Blue Cross lays claim to the world’s first canine fundraisers. These trained dogs who frequently visit schools and attend events to help raise awareness for the charity have now been equipped with blue coats that harness an IoT payment device. This way, users can pet the dog and also send a contactless donation to Blue Cross using their credit card via Paypal Here. Volunteers remain with the dogs to activate the payment mechanism as well as to issue receipts.
Blue Cross helps sick, injured, and homeless pets with the proceeds.
For more information about these dogs, check out their video!
Offering donors an experience, especially something truly novel, is likely to incite a reaction and, subsequently, donations.
Cancer Research UK turned their windows into a contactless payment point using IoT technology. With the help of Clear Channel Outdoor, users were able to simply touch their device to the glass to make a donation to assist with cancer research.