Sensors Change Lives in Developing Countries – IoE technology is being used to improve everything from farming to water quality

If you were to visit many rural areas in developing countries, most likely you‘d come across hand-operated water pumps used to get clean water.  While non-government organizations introduce thousands of them every  year,  a large number fail in the first 12 months of installation—and no one in the organizations realize what’s happened.

That’s where SWEETSense comes in.  Using Internet of Everything technology developed by a team at Portland State University, the system uses sensors to report on the status of water pumps, so technicians can make repairs if necessary. SWEETSense is just one of a myriad ways IoE technology is being used to improve the lives of people in developing nations.  For example:

 Pump Failure Alert

A recent spinoff from Portland State, SWEETSense uses technology developed by  the university’s SWEETLab (Sustainable Water, Energy, and Environmental Technologies Laboratory).   How does the technology work? A sensor is placed inside hand pumps to measure movement and water  flow, relaying data only  when changes in specific parameters are detected. That data is transmitted through cell  phone networks to engineers and technicians, who view the information– pump location, number of uses, and maintenance requirements and records, among other things–on a dashboard.

SWEETSense recently launched a project to install 200 remote sensors on water pumps in Rwandan villages; sensors notify technicians directly through text messages and emails that maintenance is needed, so they can take action.

“Our main interest is in cost-effectiveness,” says Evan Thomas, an engineering assistant professor who heads SWEETLab. “With roughly half of water pumps broken at any given moment, it’s a huge waste of money and resources to not focus on maintenance.”

Pneumonia Diagnosis without Beads

The leading cause of death in children worldwide, pneumonia is especially pernicious in South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization. But to diagnose whether or not a sick child has the illness, people in developing countries often use a stopwatch or counting beads, highly inaccurate methods, particularly because an infant with pneumonia has a respiratory rate of 70-90 breaths a minute.

That’s where Inspire Living comes in. The Fairfax, Va, enterprise is testing a two-tiered system in Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda that uses seven sensors to get a quick and accurate reading of a child’s status; they measure everything from heart rate to  body activity and galvanic skin response (sweating).

One level of care is aimed at healthcare workers in the field who may not have a lot of training. It displays on a device in pictorial form the child‘s health metrics. The other allows the data to be sent to a  mobile app and then transmitted via Bluetooth to an NGO, where doctors can analyze the information  to look for patterns. “If you see trends, you can take action,” says co-founder Michael Script.

Boosting Farmers’ Efficiency                                                                           

A few years ago, while working with thousands of farmers in Kenya, Jason Aramburu tested a prototype for a low-cost Arduino-based platform that could make farming more efficient.  Then, last year, back in Berkeley, Cal., he read a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs report predicting the earth’s population would hit 9.6 billion by 2050, with much of that growth in developing countries, especially those in Africa. Aramburu, an evolutionary biologist and entrepreneur, got to thinking about  ramping up his technology.

So he launched Edyn to sell an IoE-based agriculture system that could help growers easily determine such factors as the right amount of water and fertilizer to use.  A sensor, which is placed in the first six -to -eight -inches of soil, detects information about the state of soil moisture and fertilizer, plus ambient temperature, humidity and light. It sends that data through the cloud to a computer or smartphone.  Then the back-end processes the information and makes suggestions about, say, when to water or add fertilizer, as well as the best plants to grow in that area. You also can see a graph for the day, week and month showing, for example, the amount of moisture in soil over time.  There’s also a smart irrigation controller.

For now, Aramburu is focused on gardeners in the West. (In the spring, Home Depot will begin selling the product). But he figures that, as costs decrease, he’ll be able to reduce prices and  introduce the technology to more cash-strapped developing countries.  “We’re looking at the long-term,” he says.

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Sensors Change Lives in Developing Countries


Anne Field is an award-winning journalist who specializes in covering entrepreneurship and small business. A freelancer for many years, she has contributed to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Business Insider, Crain’s New York Business, Inc., and the New York Times, in addition to many other publications. She lives in Pelham, NY, with her husband, two children, and dog. Used with the permission of

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58% Of Local Marketers Will Change Tactics After Pigeon Update

Columnist Myles Anderson shares the results of an InsideLocal survey detailing the impact of Google’s recent local algorithm update, Pigeon.

The post 58% Of Local Marketers Will Change Tactics After Pigeon Update appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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By cranbak on November 17, 2014 | Webmaster
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Google AdWords Quality Score Algorithm Change

WebmasterWorld members are reporting and discussing the latest Google AdWords Quality Score change.

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By cranbak on November 10, 2014 | Webmaster
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Twitter Makes Minor Change To Make Tweeting Easier – Composing Box Moves To Top Of Users’ Feed

Not that it was that difficult before, but Twitter has made it easier for users to get their 140-character messages out.

TweetThe social network quietly introduced a slight change to its make-up this week as it moved the new tweet box off the left-hand side to the top of users’ feed. This means when someone wants to compose a tweet they no longer have to click on the small box on the left.

Rather, once someone opens their feed they’ll have the option to begin composing immediately.
The move, as reported by Mashable, means Twitter looks a bit more like Facebook now. Facebook users are also able to update their statuses through a box on the top of their newsfeed.

Twitter, also, didn’t feel the change was worthy of any big type of introduction, either. While the company has been known to inform users of changes through its blog site, there was little to no introduction to this alteration.

A tweet was sent out Wednesday informing users “It just got easier to Tweet on . You can now compose new Tweets at the top of your home timeline.” but that’s been the extent of acknowledgment from Twitter.

The change, as noted by CNet, comes after Twitter made a similar change on its mobile app. That change was done about one week ago.

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Twitter Makes Minor Change To Make Tweeting Easier


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on November 7, 2014 | Webmaster
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How Panda 4.1 Should Change Your Content Strategy

Contributor Jim Yu shares proprietary data that will help you determine how the latest Panda update might affect your site — and how you should adjust.

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By cranbak on October 21, 2014 | Webmaster
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Google Announces Launch of Android Lollipop – Update is Biggest Change to System Since 2011

Just how sweet it will be has yet to be determined, but Google’s new Android Lollipop certainly has many developers licking their lips.

alternative_android_web_browserOfficially announced Wednesday, the latest major update to Android comes loaded with more than 5,000 new APIs for developers. It’s been designed, a blog entry by Google states, to be flexible, work on an array of devices and be customized for the way users want it to operate.

“Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs,” the entry states.

“With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.”

Google initially unveiled the update back in June and it’s been properly promoted, CNet reports, as the biggest update to the system since 2011.

Currently, the first two devices to run on Android 5.0 Lollipop are the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 which will be available in early November.

Following that, the Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10 will be updated in “the coming weeks.” It’s estimated that updates will be available shortly after the Nexus 6 and 9 launch.

Google is boasting the new update will allow users to adjust their settings so only certain people and notifications can get through and when an important notification does come through, it will be seen directly from the lockscreen.

More impressive, though, is the battery saver feature that extends the life of a device by up to 90 minutes.

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Google Announces Launch of Android Lollipop


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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By cranbak on October 15, 2014 | Webmaster
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SearchCap: AdWords Local Call Extensions, Google Change Of Address Tool & Local Ranking Factors

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web. From Search Engine Land: Google AdWords Debuts Local Forwarding Numbers For Call Extensions Advertisers using call forwarding numbers for their AdWords call extensions in the U.S. began…

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By cranbak on October 14, 2014 | Webmaster
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Google Revamps Change Of Address Tool Within Webmaster Tools

Google’s John Mueller announced they have made significant changes to the Change Of Address Tool they initially added to Google Webmaster Tools in 2009. The new changes help walk-through a webmaster through the process of using the tool, while validating most of the important steps are…

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John Mueller – Don’t Expect Visible Ranking Change from HTTPS Switch

Google’s John Mueller stated: “I wouldn’t expect any visible change when you move from HTTP to HTTPS…”

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By cranbak on September 29, 2014 | Webmaster
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How the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Could Change SEO

The vast majority of Internet users have never heard of DuckDuckGo. And yet it could soon become an essential element of search engine optimization.

DuckDuckGo is a search engine that’s a little different from Google, Bing or Yahoo. It aims to cut through the clutter of the usual search results, delivering better answers to the questions being asked. And it also promises greater privacy than other search engines can give, a commodity at a time when so many Internet users have privacy concerns.

Obscure though DuckDuckGo may appear, it’s about to get a huge boost. Apple’s most recent operating system, iOS 8, is allowing users to pick DuckDuckGo as their preferred search engine, alongside much better-known options such as the aforementioned Google, Bing and Yahoo.

This represents a huge opportunity for the startup company. With opt-in inclusion in Apple products, DuckDuckGo will be exposed to millions of potential users, spreading the word about the search engine organically, without having to pay for advertising.

But the rise of DuckDuckGo also raises some questions for SEOs. Will this change affect how marketers who optimize primarily for Google operate? Should they be optimizing for DuckDuckGo?

Here’s a more in-depth look at what this development means.

The History of DuckDuckGo

First, a short history lesson. DuckDuckGo was founded in 2008, and it’s named, as you might have guessed, for the kids’ game “Duck, Duck, Goose.” It prides itself on not presenting the most information on a topic but presenting the best information. Its goal is to answer questions relevantly and cut out the excess results that other search engines pile up.

The site has grown quickly over the past three years. By 2011, it was averaging 1.5 million visits per day and had several employees. Here’s what really sets it apart: DuckDuckGo refuses to trade on the information it gathers from users to make money. It insists on keeping searches and information private, and it pledges not to pass along those things to increase advertising.

Among techies, the site, which was redesigned in 2014, has developed a following, and the privacy activists much prefer it over Google, for obvious reasons. Still, less than 10 percent of online users actually know about the site, giving it a relatively small audience, especially when compared to major players like Google.

Optimizing for DuckDuckGo

Given the limited reach of DuckDuckGo, most SEOs have not bothered to try to optimize for the search engine, instead focusing efforts on Google and, to a lesser degree, Bing. It may be premature to start targeting the young search engine for optimization, even with the inclusion in iOS. But it never hurts to be prepared, especially in SEO, where staying a step ahead of online habits is part of the challenge of the job.

Here are a few tips on how to optimize for DuckDuckGo. Some of these hints will be helpful no matter what search engine you are targeting, but a few of them are clearly meant to increase your chance of a hit on this “smarter” web searcher:

  • Value quality above all else. DuckDuckGo prides itself on its high standards in delivering search results. It won’t offer users a site that it considers subpar, and so the cleaner and more targeted your content, the greater chance you’ll get a hit.
  • Link to Wikipedia. DuckDuckGo highly values crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia. Linking to them on your pages will get you better results.
  • Don’t block the DuckDuckGo bot. Yeah, seems like obvious advice, but it has to be said.
  • Use geotargeted keywords. The search engine will match you with local search results if you qualify as a local business, averaging under 10,000 visitors per month. But you still need to use smart keywords to show up in results.
  • Optimize your site for mobile. Chances are if someone new finds DuckDuckGo by using iOS 8, they’ll be doing it on a mobile device, either an iPad or an iPhone. Make sure, then, that those mobile surfers can access your site by making it mobile-friendly.

How Will DuckDuckGo Impact Google Targeting?

The answer, at least in the short term: Not much. Right now on the average day Google processes more than two times the number of searches done on DuckDuckGo in a year. That gap will probably shrink with the iOS love, but there’s very little chance that DuckDuckGo will truly infringe on Google’s traffic anytime soon.

And that means that, for now, SEOs shouldn’t be changing their current Google optimization strategy. Instead they should be enhancing it with the tips mentioned above for optimizing search results on DuckDuckGo.

There are many things SEOs can do for Google that will also pay off for DuckDuckGo. For example, putting up better-quality content and using geo-targeted keywords will pay dividends on both search engines.

But in the long run, there is one advantage DuckDuckGo holds over Google, and that’s the lack of privacy concerns. Google holds on to search data long after you’ve typed in your keyword, and that’s disturbing to a great many online users. They would prefer to have an anonymous footprint, and so eventually, with more publicity about DuckDuckGo and more outcry over Google’s complete lack of regard for privacy, there could be a backlash against the dominant search engine. That’s when SEOs need to really start tweaking their targeting.

The Bottom Line

DuckDuckGo is very promising and could be a big deal sometime in the future. That future will come a little sooner with the inclusion in iOS 8. But it’s still way too early for SEOs to be ripping up their search strategies in favor of the startup. Google’s still king, while DuckDuckGo waits in the wing.

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How the DuckDuckGo Search Engine Could Change SEO


Adrienne Erin writes twice weekly for SiteProNews about online marketing strategies that help businesses like Blanchard Machinery succeed. Follow @adrienneerin on Twitter to see more of her work or get in touch.

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By cranbak on September 24, 2014 | Webmaster
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