• Milind Raj

I.o.T. Environmental Monitoring: Use Cases & Network Considerations

Environmental monitoring is a broad application for the Internet of Things. It involves everything from monitoring levels of ozone in a meat packing facility to monitoring national forests for smoke. Using IoT environment sensors for these various applications can take an otherwise highly labor-intensive process and make it simple and efficient.

Below, we’ve outlined eight of the most common IoT environmental monitoring use cases, a few considerations when selecting an IoT network, and why a low power, wide-area network (LPWAN) may be your best solution.

8 I.o.T Environment Monitoring Use Cases

  1. Monitoring air for quality, carbon dioxide and smog-like gasses, carbon monoxide in confined areas, and indoor ozone levels.

  2. Monitoring water for quality, pollutants, thermal contaminants, chemical leakages, the presence of lead, and flood water levels.

  3. Monitoring soil for moisture and vibration levels in order to detect and prevent landslides.

  4. Monitoring forests and protected land for forest fires.

  5. Monitoring for natural disasters like earthquake and tsunami warnings.

  6. Monitoring fisheries for both animal health and poaching.

  7. Monitoring snowfall levels at ski resorts and in national forests for weather tracking and avalanche prevention.

  8. Monitoring data centers for air temperature and humidity.

Some Considerations When Selecting Your Network For IoT Environmental Monitoring

Bluetooth and BLE are often not suited for long-range performance, which makes them a poor choice for running environmental sensors. WiFi has long-range performance limits as well, and the infrastructure costs involved in setting up a Wi-Fi network can be prohibitive.

Mesh topologies like ZigBee wouldn’t work for IoT environmental monitoring either, as the sensors are not close enough together (and could be on the ground)—so getting solid point-to-point links would prove to be very difficult.

And aside from cellular M2M networks being power hungry, expensive to deploy, and costly, they also wouldn’t work in many rural environments without cellular service. That leaves low power, wide-area networks (LPWAN) as an ideal choice for IoT environmental monitoring.

Why LPWAN For IoT Environmental Sensors?

Low power, wide-area network (LPWAN) technology is perfectly suited for environmental monitoring, as it can connect devices that need to stay in the field for an extended period of time and send small amounts of data over a long range. Some IoT applications need to transmit only tiny amounts of information—like a sensor that sends data only if it senses smoke in a forest.