IoT Home Environmental Monitoring in the New Normal

North is building the UK’s most advanced Internet of Things (IoT) network – IoT Scotland. In April free access to the IoT Scotland network was announced for anyone responding to the unique challenges raised by COVID-19. We are continuing our series of articles exploring applications that will help us to get safely back to work and protect vulnerable individuals on an ongoing basis.

In this second article, we focus on monitoring indoor living environments for individuals who are shielding, self-isolating, or recovering from COVID-19 at home. Whether in their own homes or in long term care facilities, it’s essential to ensure that they are comfortable and safe – without unnecessary exposure to other people and the associated potential for disease transmission.

Measuring Data in the Home Environment
A wide range of factors can be measured in a home environment to understand its comfort and security, but critically also to provide proxies for the health of the individual(s) in that home without monitoring that person.  Temperature, carbon dioxide (CO2) and humidity measurements all help to indicate whether a room is comfortable.

Unless sufficient fresh air is regularly introduced to an enclosed space, the CO2 which is naturally produced by humans builds up and can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. Anomalous behaviour can also be inferred by understanding if electricity or lights haven’t been turned on for a prolonged period, or if the temperature is uncomfortably high or low. Establishing that the main door or a window was opened in the early hours of the morning might indicate unusual or criminal activity in the property. All measurements can be captured using sensors and LoRaWAN connectivity.

Keeping People Safe at Home
IoT Scotland partners SafeHouse Technology has a range of solutions, proven to help to measure these factors and provide meaningful insights about a property and its occupants. Those responsible for the care of those individuals, whether housing associations, care workers, or a family member, can install an app on their smartphone or tablet to receive alerts and notifications relating to the home, such as low temperature, smoke alarm activated, or even fridge door left open. In one pilot SafeHouse conducted in Liverpool, they were able to identify a property break-in, and even help to reveal, (through a series of power outages), that a resident had undiagnosed dementia. Find out more 

Critically, the majority of SafeHouse sensors are simple “plug and play” devices, meaning no complex installation is required. All the equipment can be preconfigured and delivered, tagged for individual rooms or users, ready to plug into mains power sockets. There is also no requirement for the home to have internet or mobile reception.

This technology is more relevant than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the same devices and applications serve to address other persistent challenges including identifying fuel poverty and alerting to dampness before it causes poor occupier health and costly repair action. To this end, these are sage investments for social landlords and care homeowners.

Apply for Free Access to IoT Scotland
We want to hear from you if you are a potential end-user of IoT applications or a developer or provider of IoT hardware and solutions.

To apply for free of charge access to IoT Scotland for a condition monitoring project, or any other Covid-19 related application, please complete the application form here