The Internet of Things (IoT) may seem far on the horizon for nonprofits, but some organizations are already taking advantage of this technology to devise creative ways to incorporate smart Things into their missions.
AirBeam, a wearable device that gathers information on air pollution and sends the information to a crowdsourced platform. The AirCasting app, created by Brooklyn-based HabitatMap, puts data into the hands of activists while increasing the number of advocates working to identify and locate areas where air pollution is a problem.
The Plastic Tide harnesses drone and algorithm technology to create an open source map of the plastic pollution problem. Their Marine Litter DRONET uses drone-mounted cameras to take thousands of aerial photos that are fed back to a software algorithm capable of recognizing plastic garbage. The public can then go to the website to help tag images of plastic, which helps the software differentiate between marine litter and marine life. Anyone can access the data to figure out which areas are worst-affected.
Rainforest Connection (RFCx) creates acoustic monitoring systems for those who want to end illegal deforestation and animal poaching by employing conservation technologies. RFCx employs a monitoring system within certain areas, allowing users to respond to real-time alerts, while at the same using large quantities of ecosystem data. This helps increase protection, because users are notified when poachers or loggers enter a protected area. Supporters can head directly there to help tackle the problem.
These are just a few examples of the ways the IoT can further the missions of charities and nonprofits. Today, almost all nonprofits work with volunteers, stakeholders, employees, and others dispersed around the globe, often in remote areas, who all have to coordinate their efforts and share data. This makes the Things comprising the IoT essential to philanthropic missions.
The Need for Expanded Thing Management
The IoT offers many new opportunities, but it also presents challenges. CIOs and IT teams in charities and nonprofits have been tasked with managing the computers, software, servers, and other Things required to run their philanthropic organizations. However, with the advent of IoT technologies, the number of sensors, drones, other Things they need to succeed is set to grow exponentially. This will make Thing Management more complex than ever for IT professionals in a traditionally resource-strapped sector.
Many charged with managing all these Things still use a fragmented array of stagnant spreadsheets, a strategy that ultimately does not provide a comprehensive view into the asset ecosystem. Or, they try to manage Things based on information housed in departmental systems that inevitably have different data. Either way, legacy asset management tactics result in poor data quality, manual efforts to coalesce information, and prevent any organization from having a true single source of truth about the Things that power the mission.
To manage the new barrage of IoT assets, organizations need a single source of truth for every Thing. They need to be aware of changes in the life cycle of every asset, whether it is fully operational, stolen, lost, in need of maintenance, or ready to be decommissioned. Tracking Things accurately is essential for budgeting, forecasting, auditing, reporting, employee onboarding and offboarding, and other key business processes. But it is even more important for the future of nonprofits and charities where the IoT is used to further research, improve outcomes, reach remote populations, and constantly improve through data.
Introducing a New Way to Manage Assets
Next generation Thing Management is capable of tracking assets from purchase through decommissioning. With comprehensive, end-to-end Thing Management, philanthropic organizations can avoid the time and costs associated with searching for asset information. They also can worry less about security breaches.
With next generation Thing Management, charities and nonprofits can fully understand their IT landscapes, whether their assets are traditional computers, smartphones, networking gear, or the latest IoT devices.
Philanthropies, because they operate on tight budgets, struggle to get the information they need to effectively manage their organizations’ Things. The reasons: poor data quality, manual processes, and the lack of a shared system to serve as a single source of truth for assets. These issues have been compounded with the advent of the IoT. With Thing Management from Oomnitza, they have access to the information they need to optimize asset utilization and reduce the manual effort needed to understand the organization’s complete asset inventory. As assets become pivotal to ongoing philanthropic success, it’s more important than ever to know everything about every Thing.