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Monitoring the environment better with IoT

Monitoring the environment better with IoT
The environment is one of the toughest issues facing municipalities, which have to make sure the air is clean and resources do not go into waste. Luckily, the Internet of Things and other smart technologies can increasingly play a role in this regard.
Singapore has done a lot in using IoT to improve the environment. Sensors deployed in apartment complexes alert residents of their energy usage, waste production, and water consumption (water consumption is a real issue given Singapore’s effort to move towards water independence), and the government can also aggregate this data for future design and planning purposes.
“Smart technologies, such as our i-bus KNX system as well as our smart home automation system, allow more efficient energy usage as well as provide remote access via mobile devices with an app,” said John Tan, Key Account Manager at ABB. “On top of that, CCTVs and energy usage trends can also be monitored via the same app.”
The U.K. has also done a lot in this regard. One example is the BuggyAir project initiated by the Internet of Things Academy (IOTA). According to the Inquirer, the project, deployed in major UK cities, hopes to remedy Britain's air quality problem with a sensor fitted to baby strollers that measures pollution at street level and records the real-time exposure to potentially harmful air. A built-in GPS records the precise location of each data point, and an accelerometer combines with the GPS to determine when a stroller is being walked around or is in a bus or a car. A dynamic air quality map is then created by automatically uploading the anonymized air quality data from the device to a platform and combining it with data from other pushchair sensors across the city.
Meanwhile, prevention of natural disasters such as flooding and landslides is also an important part in cities’ dealings with the environment, and with IoT administrators can be aided in this area. One of the companies providing IoT-based environmental monitoring and disaster-prevention solutions is Geonerve Technology based in Taiwan. The company was a participant in a smart city summit held in Taipei last month.
Solutions are consisted of individual sensors including rain gauges, water level sensors, and surface tiltmeters; as well as transmission devices. Take the water level sensor, for example. It is made up of stainless steel, can withstand temperatures between -10 and 80 degrees Celsius, and is submerged in water. It’s connected to an overhead transmission node via wire. The node then transmits the data, via low-power long-range transmission protocols like LoRA, to a gateway, which then relays the info to the backend via cellular technology such as 3G or 4G. Video surveillance, meanwhile, can also be used for monitoring purposes.
These solutions combine to raise a city’s situational awareness. “For example if they detect a water level rise they can close the area to visitors or evacuate local residents,” said Mike Chen, GM of Geonerve Technology, adding solutions have been deployed in various Taiwan cities and counties.

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