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The Application of LoRa Technology in Environmental Monitoring

Environmental issues have always been a long-term issue that people need to pay attention to in their development. Poor environmental conditions can constrain the sustainable development of society and lead to several adverse effects on people's healthy lives. It is crucial to adopt environmental monitoring solutions in residential units, workplaces, educational parks, and industrial facilities so that they can operate smoothly without interrupting operations or putting personnel at risk. With the widespread acceptance of IoT technology in multiple industries such as healthcare, agriculture, and industry, it is also widely welcomed in the field of environmental monitoring. This article explains why IoT LoRa technology is a blessing for environmental monitoring solutions.

What is environmental monitoring

Environmental monitoring refers to measuring representative values of factors that affect environmental quality to determine the degree of environmental pollution and its changing trends. The main purpose of environmental monitoring is to manage and minimize the impact of any human activity on the environment. On the premise of ensuring that activities comply with relevant laws and regulations, we strive to change people's behavior to protect health and reduce risks and dangers to the natural environment. 

Environmental monitoring is developed on the basis of environmental analysis, mainly measuring various indicator data representing environmental quality. With the continuous growth of population, industrial activities, and energy consumption, the connotation of environmental monitoring has also enriched from monitoring industrial pollution sources to monitoring the natural environment. Meanwhile, traditional high cost and low density environmental monitoring stations can no longer meet the current monitoring needs. The adoption of new technologies has become the mainstream development trend in environmental monitoring.

Why LoRa is used for intelligent environmental monitoring solutions

The purpose of environmental monitoring is to provide relevant parameter data support for environmental management and planning. Environmental monitoring cannot do without the support of a large amount of reliable real-time data, including indicators such as Pm2.5, wind speed, temperature, and noise. The statistical data of traditional monitoring is manually recorded, and comprehensiveness, timeliness, and accuracy cannot be guaranteed. More importantly, it cannot meet the impact of various complex and ever-changing environmental factors.

At present, most environmental monitoring solutions are based on ZigBee or RS-485 bus for short distance communication, with complex wiring and insufficient communication distance, which cannot be applied on a large scale.

The wireless environmental monitoring system based on LoRa can be designed according to the specific requirements of environmental monitoring, which can effectively solve various existing problems. Using the latest sensing technology, the LoRa solution effectively reduces the cost of environmental monitoring. By deploying monitoring stations on a large scale, high-density monitoring of the regional environment can be achieved, providing support for scientific decision-making.

What are the types of environmental monitoring

The environment is an extremely complex comprehensive system. Only when people obtain a large amount of quantified environmental information can they generate actionable insights. In daily life, the four main types of environmental monitoring include soil, atmosphere and water, temperature and humidity. Let's take a closer look at them.

Air quality monitoring: Air monitoring refers to the fixed point, continuous or regular sampling and measurement of air components, mainly including nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, floating dust, etc. Air monitoring is the foundation of air quality control and reasonable evaluation.

Soil monitoring: Soil environmental monitoring is an important means of understanding the quality status of soil environment. In order to prevent and control soil pollution hazards, dynamic analysis and measurement were conducted on the degree and development trend of soil pollution.

Water quality monitoring: Water quality monitoring is the process of monitoring and measuring the types, concentrations, and trends of pollutants in water, and evaluating the water quality status. The monitoring scope includes various uncontaminated and polluted natural water (rivers, lakes, oceans, and groundwater) as well as various industrial wastewater.

Temperature and humidity monitoring: Temperature and humidity monitoring amplifies the measurement of environmental temperature and humidity values by using appropriate measurement methods. Its main purpose is to create a suitable living and working environment for people, as well as a suitable storage environment for goods.

The Benefits of Utilizing LoRa in Environmental Monitoring

The environmental monitoring solution based on LoRa technology can effectively monitor various environmental parameters, improve communication distance and power consumption performance to a certain extent, not only achieve remote real-time monitoring, but also improve the reliability of the entire environmental monitoring system.

Low cost: One of the biggest benefits of LoRa environmental monitoring solutions is their low cost. The low-cost LoRa communication module and free operating frequency band greatly reduce the cost of deploying LoRaWAN networks.

Low energy consumption: Another benefit of using LoRa environmental monitoring solution is its longer lifespan. Due to the requirements of low power consumption and low peak current, the transmission and reception of LoRaWAN data require low current (less than 50mA), greatly reducing the power consumption of the device. The lifespan of environmental monitoring equipment can be extended to 10 years, greatly reducing support and maintenance costs.

Wide coverage and geographic positioning capability: The communication distance of LoRa in open areas can reach 15 kilometers, which means that a few gateways can cover a huge area. At the same time, LoRa's strong penetration ability extends its coverage to indoor and underground areas, which is beneficial for indoor environmental monitoring or groundwater monitoring. The geographic positioning function can quickly locate specific devices for precise environmental monitoring.

Easy installation and high reliability: The environment monitoring solution that supports LoRa is easy to install and expand, and can achieve high accuracy and efficiency. By automatically executing some environmental monitoring tasks, relevant personnel can free up time to focus on more strategic analysis or management tasks, thereby achieving efficient and reliable monitoring.

Application Scenarios of LoRa Environmental Monitoring Solution

LoRa based environmental monitoring applications include the use of various intelligent sensors to track various environmental parameters in real-time. The main purpose of the monitoring plan is to ensure that these parameters are within the appropriate range, which is very beneficial for protecting the environment and creating a suitable living environment. The following section will show you the different applications of LoRa based environmental monitoring solutions.

Air pollution monitoring

Using intelligent air quality monitoring solutions can help you measure indoor and outdoor air quality and make informed improvement decisions. Lora's remote communication and low-cost sensors make it the perfect medium for determining air quality in specific facilities. These intelligent connected devices can perceive the environment, including various pollutants such as toxic gases and particles.

Environmental monitoring of server room

The server room and data center are the core of network operation. A suitable environmental monitoring solution is crucial for ensuring the efficient and stable operation of server room equipment. Real time monitoring of various indicators in the computer room environment often includes temperature, humidity, water leakage, fire, etc. In emergency situations, alarms can be quickly and automatically issued.

Greenhouse environmental monitoring

The greenhouse environment monitoring system based on LoRa uses environmental data and crop information to guide users in correct planting management. It is widely used in agriculture, horticulture, and animal husbandry. Real time monitoring and management should be carried out in areas that require special environmental requirements, in order to provide timely and scientific basis for the healthy growth and adjustment of crops.

Museum Exhibition Hall

As an important venue for displaying, preserving, and storing cultural relics, museums must take effective measures to protect historical and cultural treasures. Only by doing a good job in cultural relic protection can we better showcase and maintain the value of cultural relics. The museum environmental monitoring solution that supports LoRa has played a significant role in ensuring the safety of cultural relic storage environments, greatly avoiding the harmful effects of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, noise, and gases on collections. 

Environmental monitoring of office buildings

There are many sources of pollution in the office environment, including various decorations, office furniture, and equipment. In addition, with the widespread use of air conditioning, natural ventilation has become impossible. Therefore, monitoring the indoor air quality and environmental temperature and humidity in office buildings has become a common demand. A healthy and comfortable office environment is crucial for improving employee motivation and productivity.

Tunnel environmental monitoring

Tunnel environmental monitoring is crucial for ensuring construction safety. Due to the narrow construction space, accidents such as rockfall, floods, and landslides are prone to occur. Therefore, adopting advanced intelligent sensors for monitoring the tunnel environment is of great significance. The powerful penetration of LoRa makes it possible to achieve remote wireless communication within the tunnel. 

River, lake, and sea level

Flooding is one of the main challenges faced by people around the world, especially in coastal areas. The rising water level caused by tides and rainstorm weather poses a great threat to the safety of people's lives and property. By deploying LoRa flood sensors at the water edge and necessary locations, real-time water level data can be collected and monitored, and alarms can be issued when a specific water level is reached.

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