The promotion of sedentary lifestyle by the
internet of things

Benjamin Pepple

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Missouri University of Science and Technology

Abstract

“Internet of things” has become a
growing discussion topic of conversation not only in the office but also at
home since it is a revolutionary concept that will change the way we work but moreover
the way we live. So, what exactly is the “Internet of things” and why
is it impacting us or will it impact us? A lot of technical, social and political
policies concerning this topic are currently being made but many people are still
trying to understand what it is about. In this paper, I wish to torchlight the
viewpoint on how the internet of things at home or work (industrial internet of
things) has the potential of promoting a sedentary life style which has a
potential to lead to increase in health issues in our society.

This article
is directed at providing an all-inclusive overview of the concept of internet
of things and how it will lead to decrease in physical workload, thereby
fostering a sedentary lifestyle, which contributes to the increase in the
prevalence of health issues in our society.

 Furthermore, this paper discusses the
potentials and risks of fully exploiting the industrial internet of things into
work processes as it may lead to unbalanced physical load situation for office
and household members. For this purpose, this paper introduces the internet of
things, how it can contribute to sedentary life style and also the effects of
sedentary life style resulting from internet of things on health issues.

 

Keywords:  Internet
of Things, industrial internet of things, sedentary lifestyle, musculosketal
disorder, Physical workload.

 

 

 

Introduction

The Internet of Things (IOT) describes
the connectivity of devices, equipment’s and general everyday things to the web
to make them smart by providing artificial intelligent capabilities and functionalities.
1 Internet of Things aims at making each device or computer or equipment
interconnected thereby resulting in globally automated world which will
interface between inanimate and animate things. 2 But this global automation
and internet connectivity will lead to the phasing out of the human component
of machine operation thereby making humans less physically active and embrace a
much more sedentary lifestyle. Although the public is now noticing the internet
of things, most of our processes have already been automated with sensors and transducers,
for example out automated lightening in the workplace etc.

The following describes are
some applications of IOT in our everyday life. 3

Smart Traffic:
A smart traffic monitoring system aided by connectivity from the internet of
things will provide a great mobility experience by facilitating free flow of
vehicles. It will also provide features like theft-detection, reporting of
traffic accidents, etc.

Environmental Applications:
Internet of Things and its innovations will be able to accurately predict
natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flood etc. 12

Home Applications:
Internet of Things will enable the enhancement of do it yourself (DIY) home
automation solutions with which we will have the capacity to remotely control
our home appliances/ devices according to our requirements and personal
preferences. Correct observation of utility meters, energy and water supply
which will help in energy conservation while efficiently detecting leaks and
power surges etc. Also, it will foster enhanced security and trespassing
detection system which will prevent burglaries. 4

Health Centers Applications:
Medical centers will be installed with smart adaptable wearable devices which
will be provided to the sick patients and via which health practitioners can
observe the necessary vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and
other conditions) of patients inside or outside the premises of the health
centers 5.

Automated Farming:
Farmers will be able to observe factors like Soil nourishment, Light, soil
moistness etc. And improve the green housing farming practices by automating
watering, fertilization processes which will lead to optimal crop production.

Retailing and Supply-chain
Administration: Internet of Things with RFID
gives many preferences to retailers. With the equipping of RFID in items, a
retailer can easily track their stocks. Retailers can monitor every one of the
things in a store and to keep them from going out of stock.

From the above examples, it is
seen that the IOT will increase automation in homes, schools, stores, and in
many industries. The industrial internet of things (IIOT) which is basically the
application of the Internet of things to the production / manufacturing
industry has the potential to revolutionize plant operations by empowering the
procurement and availability of far more noteworthy measures of information, at
far more prominent rates, and much more proficiently than some time recently. Many
innovative companies have started to implement the IIOT by leveraging
intelligent, connected devices in their production plants. Thereby eliminating
the need for middle men in computer to computer interactions.

 

So, at
this point in our evolution, we are creating a workplace where we will see devices
and machineries better connect to each other and their environment for enhanced
collaboration and productivity. And this will ultimately lead to the office of
the future, were jobs will be done mostly via robotic devices and automated
service delivery will be the order of the day.

 

Human
factors and internet of things

The
value to be gotten from of the Internet of Things are supposed to be numerous.
In any case, the challenges and lifestyle implications in executing the
internet of Things appropriately also may be equally numerous.  In my perspective internet of things is
automation on steroids because it promises the capabilities to eliminate human
operation of devices/ machines. Now machine can talk and operate one another.
With the pursuit to create the next “smart thing” in the society e.g. (smart
cars, smart factories, smart homes), inventors and designers have eliminated
physical workload in our day to day activities. But
I am afraid that this internet of things will lead to humans being over-reliant
on technology to do our day to day activities while neglecting the positive
physical aspect of work.  And this
relying solely on technology in every aspect of our lives could lead to a
health crises via sedentary living.

With regards to the field
of ergonomics, the knowledge of positive and negative stress due to physical
workload is widespread. 6 But we hardly encourage or publicize or even take
into consideration the benefits of good physical workload on the human beings.
Instead over time ergonomics has been known as a synonym for good posture. This
has yielded an inefficient and a counterproductive way of life where by we try
to eliminate all or most physical tasks done by humans. For so many years designers
and inventors have tried to make our way of living better and prevent health
risks by introduction of less physical workload activities in the workforce.
Typically, this has been done via machine automation and recently global
industrial internet of things (smart machines, smart facilities, smart devices
or smart way of life.) Without giving proper diligence to the fact that this lack
of physical workload will lead to associated health risks 6

Therefore,
I my opinion human factored oriented designs should try as much as possible to
aim at promoting healthy, active lifestyle. To enhance our way of life, our
design mindset about the utilization of the internet of things should not aim
at promoting unhealthy and sedentary living, which is currently one of the
leading causes of fatality and illness in the world today. 7 but rather it
should encourage a more salutogenic
lifestyle approach.

 

What is sedentary lifestyle

It is a life style were human beings live with
little or no physical activity or exercise. 8 Any working activity that can
be described or categorized with an energy expenditure ? 1.5 metabolic
equivalents are considered as sedentary behavior. 9 The globalization of the
current process of internet of things have the potential of threatening our way
of life with regards to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. People are spending
more and more hours of their day doing sedentary activities. For example, we sit
when we want to relax. Also, when we work we are sitting more than ever. 10
And this can be attributed to the continuous drive to globalize the internet of
things aka making things smarter. Ultimately, many of our jobs have become more
sedentary. Work hours every day is being spent sitting at a desk monitoring and
observing how computers interact with one another.  Thereby ensuring the extinction of every physical
workload as regards work.

 

 

Sedentary
Lifestyle and associated risks

A lot of
evidence exists to demonstrate that being sedentary will lead to greater ill
health and a shorter life expectancy. 13 Musculoskeletal issues have been
linked to lack of physical workload exercises. Examples of the impact of sedentary
behavior on some aspects of musculoskeletal health: includes back pain, knee
pain, shoulder pains etc. 14-15

A lot
of the deterioration we see with aging of our workforce can be attributed to a
more sedentary lifestyle instead of aging itself. Par example, the oil and gas
industry has over the last decade transformed its way of working by introducing
the internet of things to the oilfield. Resulting in field engineers having to
spend most of their time observing jobs via screens and monitors. Because of
this, typical engineering processes have been automated and are now being
controlled by machines via the internet. This reduction in physical work, will
not just lead to back pains from over sitting during work hours but can result
in shortage of life span.

Over the last few years various health
organizations have highlighted this death by sitting phenomenon where by the
increasing trend of inactivity in the workplace leaves workers/ human susceptible
to terminal ailments e.g. heart diseases and musculoskeletal disorders. It has
been advised that people should increase the amount of physical workload done
at the job. But due to the continual investment in the industrial internet of
things most workplace is still being designed to eliminate every possible form
of physical activity. 18

 

 

 

How to eliminate sedentary life style when
implementing internet of things

To integrate Salutogenic approach via introduction
of optimal physical activities in the work place, designers of internet of
things need an organizational concept and methodology. In the following, I will
give an overview of such concepts as discussed by M.Dangelmaier,
W. Bauer, C. Vocke, V. Melcher in their paper titled work and work out6

Separate Training Concept (STC):

STC is all about compensating for removal of
physical workload from the workplace by introduction of separate training
plans/ programs for the workers. Typically, organizations help in paying for
gym membership or sometimes provide a gym facility at the workplace.

Work Process Redesign (WPR):

Since the global acceptance of the industrial
internet of things is here to stay, to incorporate good physical workload, most
jobs will have to be redesigned. Ways to do this can include partially
de-automation etc

Added Time Concept (ATC):

Like the name suggest
this concept involves creating an allowance for additional time for workers to
take breaks and stretch etc. For example, most oil and gas firms has a type of regulation
that ensures employees take a 15 minutes break after every 2hours of work.

 

Furthermore,
to solve the issue of sedentary lifestyle that result from human dependency on
internet of things we should apply the concept of neat. NEAT (Non-Exercise
Activity Thermogenesis), simply means activities that we do not define as
training or exercise. For instance, any way we deviate from sitting either
by standing or making small movements will add up in preventing sedentary
living. What can we do practically in
the workplace and at home to change this behavior The following are some
list of activities we can consciously incorporate in our life to eliminate
sedentary lifestyle health risk factors. How can I be more active at work?

At work:

More meetings should be done while standing
up, the encourages creativity and its good for brain performance while reducing
risk factors due to sedentary lifestyle. Also, workers should cultivate the
habit of having face to face meetings/ conversations with colleagues’ when
possible instead for calling via phone or messaging via skype/ emails. Also
utilization of a standing desk and frequent use of the stair case are effective
ways to reduce sedentary lifestyle. Finally parking farther away will give the
employee ample time to walk.

At home:

To eliminate or at least reduce the development
of sedentary lifestyle when we introduce internet of things at home. We should
try as much as possible to capitalize on any opportunity to move or stretch.
Because the benefits add up positively over time. Example do yoga stretches,
stand while taking via the telephone, take frequent strolls around the house.
Stand up during tv commercials, take breaks when binge watching etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusions

Benefits of internet of things are numerous
but Internet of things is more than just interfacing gadgets. It’s a new way of
life, therefore when fabricating projects about internet of things, designers
should take into consideration the total wellbeing of the users by expanding
their scope of thinking about this innovation to include the human side of the
undertaking.  Consequently,
by understanding how reliance on the internet of things eliminates physical
workload, encourage sedentary lifestyle and its resulting health problems, we
can do more by advising and guiding humans to think about their lifestyle and
to address their health risks. A more Salutogenic lifestyle approach is needed
in workplace / home when introducing internet of things.

In addition to incorporating an optimal level
of physical activity in our daily work life, it is advisable that we create
policies and plans that creates an encourages the workplace and people in
general to embrace physical activity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 1 Bernard Marr. (2017, March 8). The Dangerous Downside of The
Internet Of Things.
Retrieved from https://principia-scientific.org/botnets-dangerous-downside-internet-things/

2 Internet of things: an overview. Retrieved
from http://www.ictliteracy.info/rf.pdf/IoT-Overview-2015.pdf

3 Y.Cao, W.Li, J.Zhang, “Real-time traffic
information collecting and monitoring system based on the internet of things,”
in Pervasive Computing and Applications (ICPCA), 2011 6th International
Conference, pp. 45-49

4 Adam Greenfield. (2017, June 6). Rise of
the machines: who is the ‘internet of things’ good for? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/jun/06/internet-of-things-smart-home-smart-city

5 M. Weiser,” The computer for the 21st
century”, Sci. Amer., 1991, pp.66 -75

6 M.Dangelmaier, W. Bauer, C. Vocke, V. Melcher
(july 2015)Work and Workout – How to Introduce Healthy Workload at Workplaces Retrieved
from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2351978915006459

7 WHO, Global Health Observatory (GHO) data
– Prevalence of insufficient physical activity,

http://www.who.int/gho/ncd/risk_factors/physical_activity_text/en/,
accessed 8 April 2015.

8 Wikipedia, sedentary lifestyle definition,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedentary_lifestyle

9 M.S. Tremblay, S. Aubert, J.D.
Barnes, T. J. Saunders, (2017) Sedentary Behavior Research Network (SBRN) –
Terminology Consensus Project process and outcome

Retrieved from https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-017-0525-8

10 Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle Retrieved
from https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

11 L.Atzori, A.Iera, G. Morabito, “The
Internet of Things: A survey,” in Computer Networks – Science Direct

12 Internet of Things: Vision, Applications
and Challenges International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology
(IJETT) – Volume 47 Number 7 May 2017 ISSN: 2231-5381   http://www.ijettjournal.org Page 380

 13 Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2014, August 28). The Cost of a Sedentary Lifestyle
to Muscle and Bone. Retrieved
from https://www.fightaging.org/archives/2014/08/the-cost-of-a-sedentary-lifestyle-to-muscle-and-bone/

14 L.F Machado de Rezende, M.R
Lopes J.P Rey-López, V.K. Rodrigues Matsudo, and O.C. Luiz (2014, August 21) Sedentary
Behavior and Health Outcomes: An Overview of Systematic Reviews. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4140795/

15 Proper KI, Singh AS, van
Mechelen W, Chinapaw MJM (2011) Sedentary behaviors and health outcomes among
adults: A systematic review of prospective studies. Am J Prev Med 40: 174–182

16 R. Bhisey – (July 26, 2017) Sedentary
Lifestyle of People to Increase Musculoskeletal Pains Retrieved from https://tmrresearchblog.com/sedentary-lifestyle-people-increase-musculoskeletal-pains/

17 N. Sanchez (March 26, 2014) Low Back Pain
Caused by Sedentary Lifestyle Tops Disability Concerns. Retrieved from http://guardianlv.com/2014/03/low-back-pain-caused-by-sedentary-lifestyle-tops-disability-concerns/

18 The Risks of a Sedentary Lifestyle: Stand
Up for Your Health retrieved from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/standing-desk

 

19 https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en_us/solutions/trends/iot/introduction_to_iot_november.pdf

 

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