The people of Austin are being deluged with package bombs. Within a few weeks, there have been packages left on doorsteps, connected to tripwires and early this morning exploding in a FedEx facility in Schertz, Texas. So far, two people are dead and four others have been injured.
Police have told residents to stay indoors. Obviously, if you don’t leave your house, you need to order online. The packages you receive however could be bombs. How does one know if a package is safe?
Thankfully, technology has become inexpensive enough to solve this problem. IoT sensors embedded in packages can verify the authenticity of the sender. A central authority could manage a registry or alternatively blockchain can be used.
Once a package is delivered, the smarthome or smartbuilding can notify the proper person if it does not have a proper tag. Motion detection is built into smart doorbells and some have AI as well. This means they can scan for package sensors to ensure anything left is legitimate.
It is possible for a would-be bomber to reuse a tag but blockchain could be used to mark a tag as used and thus nonfunctional. It could also be embedded with specific geographic information, making it non-functioning if is used elsewhere. A sensor can also be stolen but LPWAN or NB-IoT can be used to monitor these tags to ensure they can be tracked if stolen.
The smart city of the future will need to have AI and analytics built-in to ensure packages are authorized or at least non anonymous as they move throughout the supply chain. Civil libertarians may be horrified by the thought but for the most part, companies and governments already have access to what ships where.
IIoT solutions are currently tracking virtually all components in a similar manner but we may need to take this one step further. Companies like Comcast are building out large-scale LoRa networks thanks to tech from Actility. Semtech too is a strong player in the LP-WAN space. The next step is to bring the sensor technology used in factories to the final product. In fact, the same sensors can likely be used to track from factory floor to home.
Unabomber Ted Kaczinski was said to have sent bombs due to hate of technology but he said this wasn’t really true. Still, he lived his final free days in the wilderness – almost hiding from technology which could have been used to catch him. It seems fitting then that technology advancements like smarthomes, smartcities, smartfactories, big data and AI are the exact things which will hopefully make it very difficult for future bombers to send anonymous explosive-laden packages.
One last point is Amazon, with it’s purchase of Jamie Siminoff’s Ring is in a perfect position to monitor packages from origin to destination and ensure a package is legitimate. Once again Jeff Bezos is years ahead.
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