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IoT Devices Deployed in Environmental Monitoring

IoT Devices Deployed in Environmental Monitoring

The Internet of Things (IoT) has transformed many industrial sectors around the world, from manufacturing to agriculture and beyond. The sector that has seen more of an impact and transformation is Environmental Monitoring.  This has become more at the forefront since the realities of climate change and environmental degradation have been evident. IoT sensor technology has become a reliable and trusted tool in the hunt for a more sustainable future, helping reduce our carbon footprint and reduce energy usage and costs.

The demand for Environmental Monitoring

Every year, it is estimated that globally nine million people die from pollution, thus demonstrating the need for effective environmental monitoring and solutions. This was the result of a two year study from the Lancet Commission

As we continue to witness the devastating effects of climate change and a rising carbon footprint around the world, IoT technology offers a solution to slowing or even reversing the effects of climate change.

IoT-based environmental monitoring consists of gathering measurements and data from the physical environment using sensors. These sensors can be embedded anywhere such as - irrigation systems, pipelines, water tanks, weather stations and can monitor variables such as temperature, light, moisture, CO2, water levels leaks and more.

Application Areas

Air Quality Monitoring - IoT sensors can be used to monitor the air quality such as the concentration of pollutants and particulars in the air. Thus, providing real-time data on air quality. This is especially important in urban and city areas where pollution levels can fluctuate. Most cities now operate a green zone at particular times of the day or have varying traffic speed control.

Weather Monitoring - IoT sensors in weather stations can gather detailed meteorological data, improving the accuracy of weather forecasts and providing critical data for climate research.

Waste Management - IoT sensors can monitor waste levels in bins and containers, optimising waste collection routes and schedules for bin men. This could result in a significant cost saving for governments and local authorities.

Noise Pollution - In urban and city areas, sensors can be used to monitor noise pollution. This can help city planners and key policy makers make decisions on implementing strategies to reduce noise pollution and improve the overall quality of life for residents.

Forest Monitoring - Sensors can be used in forests and woodlands to monitor conditions such as temperature, humidity, and smoke levels. This can help significantly in the early detection of forest fires and aid in conservation.

Deploying Sensors

The first step in the journey to harness the power of IoT technology for environmental monitoring is to deploy sensors in the field. These sensors will gather critical data, helping you keep tabs on the area they are deployed in and process data in real-time, regardless of location. 

These sensors can detect noxious substances, chemical spills, harmful pollutants in the atmosphere and more, providing important data in real-time. The data gathered from these sensors can range from water treatment readings, air quality measurements, water levels and liquid flow. This offers a comprehensive overview of the environmental health of a system at any given time.

Use Case: Clean Air Greater Manchester (UK)

Clean Air Greater Manchester is a collaboration between the 10 Greater Manchester local authorities, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Transport for Greater Manchester. Its sole purpose is to clean up the air in and around Greater Manchester. 

In order for Greater Manchester to make informed decisions about their city, they set up and deployed sensor stations all around Greater Manchester. These sensors are able to detect nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM10 & PM2.5) levels in the air.


Converting Sensor Data into Viable Solutions

Once sensors collect important data, they use edge computing, such as LoRa Gateways, to process and send data to the cloud for further analysis and data visualisation. The data can be visualised using an analysis dashboard such as Nebra Sense, showing trends, spikes and abnormalities in real-time. This can also include real-time alerts and notifications when a sensor has reached a particular threshold.                                                                                                                 ;l                                                                                                                     

These monitoring dashboards, such as the Nebra Sense, can be configured to detect abnormalities or specific conditions and trigger alerts or automated processes. These could include launching service tickets to address the issue, or in critical conditions, it could shut down a system to prevent an environmental disaster. 

Use Case: Preventing WildFires in the US

In the US up to 10 million hectares of woodland is destroyed by wildfires every year. Trees are valuable and play a critical role in the climate. It takes decades for forest regeneration to occur after wildfires have swept through the areas. Furthermore, wild fires account for up to 20% of the global carbon emissions. 

Dryad, a start-up company in the US, is looking to protect 1.4 million hectares of forest from fires by 2030, preventing 600 million tons of carbon. All this is possible through the use of sensors using LoRa technology and analysing the data in real-time to provide a viable fast response solution.

A large proportion of forests that are destroyed each year could be saved with a forest fire early detection system. Sensors such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen and other gases can be vital to detecting fires. These sensors when connected to a cloud system can alert emergency services, all within a few minutes. Time is critical for systems like this, every minute matters when there is a forest fire. A faster response means many fires can be extinguished before they spread and cause devastating damage.

Making data driven decisions

The data collected and analysed by IoT sensors can be important in guiding decision making processes, enabling environments and industries to take appropriate actions. These insights can help reduce waste, manage valuable resources like water, increase sustainability, and even prevent environmental disasters or reduce climate footprint.

In addition, IoT technology supports the trend towards green technology, helping industries reduce their carbon footprint and go green. The resulting data can also aid policymakers in creating regulations that help protect the environment.

Use Case: Edinburgh Rolls Out Smart Waste Bin Sensors as Part of a Smart City Project

In 2022, Edinburgh rolled out 11,000 smart sensors in waste containers throughout the City. The technology will allow the City council to make informed decisions about their waste collection services. By detecting waste levels and predicting usage trends, this allows the council collection routes to operate more efficiently and thus saving a significant amount of costs and reducing unnecessary emissions. 

In Summary

The use of IoT sensors in environmental monitoring represents a significant leap towards a more sustainable future. By using technology such as LoRaWAN, you can not only detect and address environmental issues quicker, but make data driven informed decisions to protect and preserve. 

How can Nebra Sense Help?

The easiest way to access these features is using an IoT platform such as the Nebra Sense. Inside our platform users can collect, analyse, and take action based on data from multiple sensors and locations. 

Moreover, Nebra Sense enables effortless integration of any type of sensor, allowing you to connect and monitor a wide range of devices. Each sensor comes with a barcode that you can simply scan and add to your dashboard in no time at all. Nebra Sense supports more than 254 brands of LoRa sensors and more are being added every month.

Create custom dashboards - take control of your devices through the user-friendly dashboard, where you can efficiently manage and track sensor data, device status, and performance in a centralised and visually appealing interface.

Extensive notification system - Set custom notifications based on specific value thresholds. Whether you’re monitoring temperature, humidity, pressure or any other sensor data, the extensive notification system ensures that you stay informed when critical thresholds are reached allowing you to make informed decisions.

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