Use cases across application domains

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There are many potential application domains for the Web of Things, stretching across many industry sectors. This page will attempt to structure these domains and link to further details for the associated use cases. Your help is sought in expanding these pages. Please bring questions and comments to the public mailing list with the subject line prefix [use cases]

Please note we decided to gradually merge the use cases into the deliverable on use cases and requirements

Links to external work on use cases

Use case writing style

To sync the writing styles we might try to put forward some key questions to answer by the use cases. This might also provide some initial structuring and helps by reflecting what aspects we would like to consider for WoT technologies.

Here are some key questions for each use case to address:

  1. What is the user motivation for the use case
  2. How does this translate to a technical Description
  3. What application domains are related (e.g. referring to the taxonomy)
  4. What interaction pattern with or btw things can be observed
  5. Which Aspects are not considered

Please let us know you have further questions or alternatives.

Here is a worked example:

Smart control of washing machine

What is the user motivation for the use case

Joan has a heavy load of washing to do. She decides to run it over night to take advantage of the lower power prices. She loads the clothes into the washing machine and selects the economy operation mode. She has previously set her preferences with her home automation agent that is accessible on the Web from her phone, tablet, TV or laptop.

How does this translate to a technical Description

The physical user controls on the washing machine are deliberately simple, and designed to work in conjunction with the web based home automation agent. This agent has access to Joan’s electricity supplier and as is able to track the price charged by her supplier on her electricity plan as it changes according to demand across the city. The agent runs in the cloud, but is able to communicate through the firewall with devices in Joan’s home via her home hub. This was set up automatically when she first plugged the machine in. The washing machine has a very limited embedded controller. It suffices to run the desired washing and drying cycle, and has sensors that monitor its operation and enable components that are wearing out to be detected before they fail. Joan has agreed to share this data with the manufacturer as part of the warranty agreement. In return, she gets proactive scheduling of service visits at her convenience.

What application domains are related (e.g. referring to the taxonomy)

  • main: smart home / home automation / deferred operation
  • related: smart cities / smart grid / signaling with smart power devices

What interaction pattern with or btw things can be observed

  • Thing registers: thing registers with service in the cloud
  • Configure data subscription: specific data field (e.g. for maintenance) is forwarded (e.g. to manufacturer)
  • Thing integration in web based agent

Which aspects are not considered

  • Life cycle of devices, services and applications
  • Discovery of devices
  • Installation process
  • Dealing with faults
  • Replacing devices
  • Taking devices out of operation

Use Case Contributions

Use case contributions

Use Cases and Applications

Smart homes and buildings

Smart Homes is a term covering a range of application areas including home automation, home security, home entertainment and wearables. Some of these use cases also apply to offices and other buildings.

Home automation

This relates to applications for:

  • Environmental control
    • Heating, ventilation, air conditioning, sun screens
  • Deferred operation of power hungry devices
  • Electrical charging for vehicles
  • Solar panels for electrical power and hot water
  • Ambient lighting control (e.g. Philips Hue)
  • Smart lighting for aquaria
  • Home cooking
  • Garage doors
  • Smart watering systems indoors and outdoors
  • Baby monitors
  • Timed pet food dispensers
  • Monitoring perishable goods, e.g. in a refrigerator
  • Remote monitoring, e.g. of washer cycle status
  • Monitoring and proactive maintenance scheduling
  • Event triggered task execution

Home entertainment

‘’’to be considered’’’

Home security

  • Door locks
  • Sensors for open doors and windows
  • Pressure, motion and Infrared sensors
  • Security cameras
  • Notifications, e.g. to the owners or to the police
  • Sports and lifestyle
  • Fitness related use cases

Smart lifecare

Sports and lifestyle

This includes wrist bands and smart watches that monitor the number of steps you take and your performance when running, etc.

  • Fitness related use cases

Healthcare and medical

This covers the role of devices for monitoring your health and helping you to track your use of medications, as a basis for improving outcomes, and reducing the costs of healthcare. This is of importance to everyone now that we are all living longer!

  • Remote patient monitoring and care
  • Self monitoring and wellness

Assisted living for people with physical or cognitive impairments

This relates to devices, applications and services for people with disabilities of one kind or another, e.g. physical impairments in vision, hearing or dexterity, or cognitive impairments. This is increasingly important in societies where more and more people are surviving into an old age and need help to live life to the best extent possible.

Smart cities

Smart grids

  • Smart meter reading
  • Street lighting automation
  • Signalling with smart power devices
  • Advanced transmission and distribution
  • Monitoring of water levels for hydropower

This includes:

  • Consumer devices that adapt to the supply and demand of electricity on the public grid
    • Deferring the start of a wash cycle until power is cheaper
    • Deferring the full charge of an electric car until power is cheaper
    • Electric based storage heaters
  • Devices that generate electricity, e.g. solar panels and wind turbines
  • Smart meters that would enable variable tariffs according to the current load on the grid

Some questions:

  • How does the grid signal the current load so that devices can dynamically adapt to the conditions?
  • Where to place the control? In the device that consumes or generates power, or elsewhere, e.g. a home hub or a cloud based service.
  • Are there opportunities for consumers to switch between suppliers dynamically according to spot prices that are set according to supply and demand?

Other utilities

  • Monitoring water levels for flood warnings
  • Weather monitoring stations

Satellite based remote monitoring, e.g. aridity of farm land and forest fires


  • Aviation
  • Monitoring and forecasting
    • Traffic slow downs
    • Timetables and current status
    • Navigation and route planning
  • Vehicle diagnostic and maintenance reports
  • Remote maintenance services
  • Traffic accident information collection
  • Fleet management using digital tachographs
  • Smart parking
  • Car/bicycle sharing services

How to get the best out of different modes of transport:

This includes:

  • Traffic congestion
  • Availability of parking places
  • Local, regional and long distance trains
  • Metro
  • Buses
  • Taxis
  • Bicycles
  • Pedestrians

It also includes opportunities for the use of web technologies in vehicles (smart cars). This includes ideas such as allowing cars to sense and report road conditions, e.g. flooding, fog, ice and potholes.

Emergencies and civil disturbances

The Web of Things offers opportunities for faster reporting of accidents and for managing traffic lights and route planning for emergency vehicles. Cameras in the street, or within buildings of vehicles can make it easier to track civil disturbances, whether an individual act of violence or a demonstration that looks like getting out of control. For earthquakes and other disasters, there are opportunities for resilient communication and control systems.

  • Fire, medical and police vehicles
  • Information delivery in devastated areas
  • Robust communication and control
  • Monitoring and management of demonstrations and riots


Opportunities for offering customers personalised deals, better analytics through tracking people as they move around with stores, location based services and more. The emergence of technologies to sense what items are in your shopping cart or basket for a streamlined check out process. Simplified inventory tracking.

  • Inventory management
  • Perishable goods
  • Anti-theft devices
  • What do people spend their time looking at whilst shopping?
  • How do people move around the store?
  • Pushing location and context dependent offers
  • Point of sales terminals


Opportunities for improved tracking of warehouses, items and shipments through tags on individual items, pallets and containers. This can range from optically scanned bar codes, to RFID tags, and smart tags that can track the location, temperature and humidity. Tagged objects can be associated with data held in the cloud. For example, where a given food item was produced and packaged, and the conditions it has experienced during its shipment, as well as its target destination. Knowing where items, pallets and containers are currently located and where it is needed makes it easier to plan shipments and optimal ways to move items about a warehouse.

  • Location and environmental sensors
  • Metadata relating to shipments
  • Logistical planning support
  • Inventory management

Smart manufacturing

  • Design of bespoke products
  • Monitoring of system operation
  • Robots, 3D printing and other technologies
  • Bringing new workstations online
  • Inventory management and logistics

The Web of Things brings opportunities for reducing the time from the start of design to shipping new products. It will also make it much easier to support bespoke products tailored to the specific requirements of each customer. Putting these together heralds a major shift in how products are managed. The Web of Things will also make it practical to optimise maintenance through accurate measurement of how individual manufacturing tools behave under use. It should be much quicker to introduce new manufacturing tools into a production chain, and to move work items from one station to another. The Web of Things will help with improvements to logistics and inventory control. Better information on how products are used in practice will be fed into improvements in the design of the next generation of products.

Construction and building automation

The Web of Things has opportunities both during construction and during the lifetime of buildings. During construction sensors can provide detailed information as to the conditions within the building site, as well as for the logistics involved in large projects. During the lifetime of a building, sensors can detect stresses in the fabric of the building, and help with emergencies by sensing fire and smoke, as well as the presence of people and guiding them to safety. Lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems can be optimised based upon sensing the conditions throughout the building and comparing this to which rooms are currently occupied.

  • Use cases relating to construction sites
  • Use cases relating to operation of large buildings

What’s missing?