Various environmental problems threaten millions of habitats, ecosystems, and natural resources, including pollution, water contamination, and greenhouse gas emissions. As a result, many manufacturers are producing environmental monitoring technologies designed to track ecological changes and inform policy responses. One particular tech category called the Internet of Things (IoT) has been central to improving the accuracy of environmental data.
IoT sensors, devices, and edge computing techniques allow organizations to develop rapid insights, remediation, and detection of environmental changes. For example, IoT sensors can be set up in irrigation systems, the ocean, industrial equipment, and weather stations to measure and record environmental data such as temperature, humidity, wind speed, gases, and leaks. One of the primary benefits of IoT sensors and devices in environmental monitoring is that they feature embedded communication systems that can rapidly transmit information and alerts to administrators.
Many IoT systems can even be programmed to send alerts regarding significant environmental changes via text or email. In addition, program automated responses to these environmental changes in IoT systems that initiate specific procedures or shut certain systems down in response to emergencies. Given how important it is to support the health and well-being of the environment, let’s explore how IoT devices lead us toward a better ecological future.
Benefits of the Internet of Things on Environmental Monitoring
Gathering accurate data has always been central to achieving environmental goals. Data loggers are small electronic devices that collect environmental data such as temperature, humidity, moisture, and differential pressure. Traditionally, data loggers were set up in specific areas and later connected to external computer systems to have that data analyzed.
Today, however, IoT sensors and next-generation data loggers can be connected to the internet to transmit data wirelessly. Not only does this enable the wireless transmission of data, but it also allows the transmission of environmental data viewed in real-time. According to Dickson Data, getting quick updates about environmental changes is key to maintaining a valid compliance strategy.
This real-time data related to environmental subjects ranging from water quality to fuel flows to air quality can utilize an intuitive dashboard or interface that makes it easily understandable for administrators and staff. These dashboards can even include data modeling or visualization tools for administrators to draw insights or conclusions.
Sophisticated machine-learning predictive modeling software can provide forecasts of future environmental events or consequences with the input and organization of data.
Some IoT devices can even be programmed using edge computing techniques to automatically take specific actions in response to sudden environmental changes. In these cases, an IoT device might instruct hardware, software, or manufacturing systems to shut down, issue alerts, or initiate a data recovery protocol in response to environmental changes.
Essential Functions of IoT Devices for Environmental Monitoring
First and foremost, IoT devices are used in environmental monitoring to measure and collect data. For example, many water management centers and industrial areas require logging data on air and water quality.
Next, analyze environmental data to identify events that impact the environment, such as contamination, pollution, chemical leaks, or equipment malfunctions. Those insights can significantly drive future policy and procedural choices when a company expands internationally.
For example, a company might identify certain practices or equipment that disproportionately increase environmental toxins emissions. That company can then take specific steps to reduce its carbon footprint, decrease pollution, and manage valuable commodities such as water and power. The data could also alert management regarding how certain industrial practices increase natural disasters.
Another critical task that IoT devices can help companies undertake is to help catalog data. Massive global databases such as the Microsoft Planetary Computer are available today that house enormous quantities of environmental data. Cataloging and submitting data to these international databases can help scientists and researchers develop environmental insights that can drive the policy decisions of other companies and governments.
Finally, IoT devices can facilitate the data analysis process. Companies can use cloud applications like Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services alongside open-source or proprietary AI software to draw important environmental conclusions from massive datasets. Leveraging the power of AI can give companies the more significant ability to predict future ecological trends and plan accordingly.
It should be no surprise that IoT tech is already monitoring municipal water treatment plants, city water quality, stormwater, and agricultural irrigation systems. It is also helping organizations monitor ambient air quality, carbon monoxide levels, and methane production. IoT is even helping to predict and prevent spikes in energy usage to stabilize regional power grids.
Given the many benefits of IoT-led environmental monitoring, it’s likely that more companies will take steps to implement a digital-first approach to collecting and analyzing ecological data.