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Importance of Waterproofing in Smart Cities

a city during a thunderstorm

Ria Madan | July 31, 2020

People have become increasingly dependent on a wide variety of electronic devices. According to the IDC, there will be 41 billion electronic devices by 2021. Many of these devices are subject to various environmental conditions such as rain, snow, humidity, fog, and even sweat. Because such conditions can easily damage connected devices, it has become more critical than ever to waterproof electronic devices, especially when it comes to IoT and smart cities.

What is a Smart City?

According to the Smart Cities Council, smart cities have “digital technology embedded across all city functions.” What does this mean? Well, in simple terms, it means that smart cities use technology and data to connect and enhance the lives of people through infrastructure, public utilities and services, and more.

How Does a Smart City Work?  

IoT or the Internet of Things is a crucial component of smart cities. IoT uses devices, sensors, and applications to collect data and use that information to send signals and messages to improve quality of life and increase economic growth within cities. This process occurs in 4 steps:

  1. Collection – Sensors & applications are spread throughout the city to gain data in real-time.

  2. Analysis – The data collected is then analyzed to make insightful conclusions.

  3. Communication – The insights and conclusions made in the analysis phase are communicated with decision-makers.

  4. Action – Cities use the insights received from the data to create solutions, optimize operations and asset management, and improve the quality of life for residents.

IoT Sensors & Applications 

Sensors are a core part of the IoT and Smart Cities. From traffic lights to cars to smart homes, almost all these devices have sensors that acquire data and send to the cloud. These sensors can then measure essential aspects of cities like traffic congestion, pollution, water quality and energy usage.

The data and information gained from these sensors about the critical aspects are then applied to smart cities to improve the quality of life. Some examples of IoT applications in smart cities are:

Public Transportation – The sensors within the public transportation system can send data to the city, allowing you to see the precise amount of wait time for trains and buses along with alters for delays. 

Sustainability – Cities are using this technology to create a cleaner environment and reduce waste. A district in South Korea is eliminating garbage trucks. Instead, their buildings have garbage collection stations that are separated into two categories of organic and combustible. The sensors in the station detect when it is full, and the trash is sent directly to the recycling center through highpressure pipes. 

a picture of a city that's blury because of water on the lenses

Why Do Smart Cities Need to be Waterproof? 

As can be seen, IoT devices, sensors, and applications are at the core of smart cities. However, these sensors can be subject to harsh environmental conditions including water, extreme temperatures, humidity, chlorinated liquids, beverages, corrosive substances, and more, which may damage its sensors and other devices needed for smart cities to reliably function. When this occurs, many problems could arise, like product returns, warranty claims, or expensive repairs.  

What are the Solutions? 

Previously, the conformal coating has been used to protect sensors from environmental conditions. However, traditional conformal coatings such as silicones, acrylics, or epoxies don’t measure up when it comes to performance and protection. Thin-film coatings and nanocoatings based on material science, including Parylene and plasma-based derivatives, offer a better solution. 

The combination of IoT sensors, applications, and devices, along with big data is what allows smart cities to function correctly and effectively. Protecting the main component – sensors using Parylene and plasma-based thin film coatings will allow for superior results and protection.   

HZO’s Spectrum of Protection™, a portfolio of coating solutions, includes this technology and has a proven track record of success. Delivering coatings with a convenient turnkey solution, we help Fortune 100 companies and top-tier IoT product manufacturers offer a more reliable product. If you’re interested in exploring the capabilities of Parylene and plasma-based nanocoatingscontact us today. 

To watch our educational video series on the IoT, click here. 

Mallory McGuinness

Mallory is an electronics protection evangelist who writes content for HZO. In her free time she is reading non-fiction, and hanging out with her beta fish, King Awesome.

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