CO2 Monitoring: The Corner Stone of Indoor Air Quality

CO2 Monitoring

CO2 Monitoring: The Corner Stone of Indoor Air Quality


There are numerous factors that contribute to a healthy and comfortable indoor environment; lighting, sound, humidity, cleanliness and temperature, but since the pandemic, air quality as taken a priority position. On average, people spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Carbon dioxide is one of the greatest contributors to poor air quality. As the number, size and activity levels of the people present in a building increase, so do CO₂ levels, opening the door for widespread airborne contaminants.

The Impact of CO₂ on Health

In poorly ventilated rooms, CO₂ concentration increases rapidly, which crowds out oxygen. Carbon dioxide is considered a simple asphyxiant because it reduces the amount of oxygen available for each breath. For example, a 4 m2 space occupied by only one person, increases CO₂ levels from 500 ppm to more than 1,000 ppm, in just 45 minutes. Now consider the impact a crowded office, classroom or conference centre has on indoor air quality. Excess carbon dioxide concentrations of 1000 ppm-2500 ppm can lead to fatigue, lack of concentration and can contribute to the symptoms of Sick Building Syndrome such as headaches, eye, nose and throat irritation, itchy skin and nausea.

Indoor carbon dioxide can also impact our decision-making and problem-solving skills. A Harvard led study shows cognitive function scores of office workers were 50% lower when CO₂ concentrations reached 1400 ppm. The connection between indoor CO₂ and cognitive functioning is also important for parents. A study done in Texas revealed that most schools had carbon dioxide levels above 1000 ppm, and one in five had levels exceeding 3000 ppm. This level of CO₂ can inhibit a child’s school performance and overall health and wellness.

Amidst the pandemic, CO₂ levels are under much further scrutiny with mounting attention on its impact for transmitting respiratory infectious diseases. If there is a high amount of exhaled CO₂ in the air, there is also a high number of aerosols. If pathogen-containing aerosols and CO₂ are co-exhaled by those infected with COVID, this can significantly increase the risk of infection for everyone else in the room.

Enter Wireless CO₂ Monitoring

The combination IoT sensor technologies and wireless connectivity have become an intrinsic part of indoor environmental quality strategies. Wireless air quality monitoring sensors provide granular real-time insight into not just CO₂ levels, but also other harmful contaminants like particulates, pollutants and noxious gases that can drastically impact the health and safety of occupants. When CO₂ levels reach unsafe thresholds, triggers can be sent to building automation systems to activate ventilation and HVAC filtration. Likewise, when low or no CO₂ levels are detected in specific rooms or spaces, these systems can be turned off to ensure optimal energy efficiency. With real-time notifications, wireless CO₂ monitoring can also prompt manual efforts to improve airflow such as opening windows and doors.

Paired with innovative IoT connectivity like Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), CO₂ sensors can ensure reliable and scalable data transmission in indoor environments and possess a battery life that span years to minimize maintenance overhead. This is particularly important when it comes to a campus-style deployments such as an office complex or retail centre where a vast number of distributed sensors are required.

As the economy slowly reopens, offices, restaurants, schools and beyond are faced with restoring trust and confidence in the built environment for every individual person. Today, state-of-the-art air quality sensors can be instrumental in minimizing harmful indoor contaminants and facilitating faster responses to acute health risks to deliver enhanced health and wellness and peace-of-mind to all occupants.   

Monitor building health with MYTHINGS-enabled CO₂ sensors from ioAirflow.

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Harness IoT for Mining Safety with Intelligent Rock Bolt Monitoring

IoT for Mining Safety

BehrTech Blog

Harness IoT for Mining Safety with Intelligent Rock Bolt Monitoring

An innovative, non-destructive approach to rock bolt monitoring is proving the power of IoT for mining safety.

“Safety first” is the watchword in the mining sector and it’s not without a reason. While the exact number remains unknown, experts estimate there are around 20,000 mining deaths globally each year. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), mining accounts for 1% of global employment, but is responsible for 8% of fatal incidents. And these statistics haven’t covered innumerable cases of nonfatal lost-time injuries. Given the significant financial and human costs alongside lost productivity, the possible economic impact of a mining worksite incident can exceed US$ 5 million.

The Impending Danger of a Mine Roof Collapse

Among countless potential hazards, an underground roof collapse is a commonly faced issue. In the US, it contributes to roughly 50% of total underground deaths. The number of incidents is vast, but there’s one common underlying cause – rock bolt failures.

IoT for Mining Safety

The mining sector extensively relies on rock bolts to support and stabilize the structure of underground cavities. Mounted into mine roofs, these steel rods bind the rock mass together to avoid deformation and ensure mine solidity. Their failures can lead to disastrous roof falls, costing workers’ life and incurring substantial expenses for companies.

Under the harsh impact of continuous seismic events and corrosive groundwater, rock bolts are at high risk of fractures, rusting and corrosion that degrade their load-bearing capacity. Monitoring the integrity of these reinforcement pillars is critical, yet, remains a significant challenge.

Conventional options have been limited to either visual checks or removing the bolts from the rock mass for inspection. Needless to say, both are nonoptimal with the latter inherently inefficient and complex, not to mention the risk of permanently damaging the bolts. The resulted lack of visibility leaves both mining operators and workers with an obscure picture of underground conditions.

A Non-Destructive Approach to Rock Bolt Monitoring

The new wave of smart sensor technologies brought by the Internet of Things (IoT) is now opening the door to effective and non-destructive rock bolt monitoring. Built into the bolts, these sensors automatically capture multiple readings on their structural and operating conditions. For example, vibration and strain gauges distributed along a bolt detect excessive seismic events and loading levels that potentially damage its integrity. Likewise, ultrasonic sensors identify abnormal sound waves that indicate a crack or delamination issues.

Embedded with a communications module, IoT sensors wirelessly transmit these readings to an on-premises control system. With the setup of an automated workflow, workers can be alerted to the danger of undergoing deformation. This enables timely corrective actions to circumvent catastrophic failures of the entire rock mass.

Taking a step further, mining managers can even improve future ground control practices with contextual information from IoT data. Long-term analysis of historical defects and seismic activities reveal more accurate insights into degradation patterns and service life of the ground support system. This allows for relevant adjustments in system design, as well as the level of drilling and excavation activities to enhance operational safety.

IoT for Mining Safety

Looking Ahead

The potential of IoT for mining safety is enormous and its application in rock bolt monitoring is the compelling evidence. Development of smart rock bolt sensors is on the way and their implementation will ultimately require several conditions to be fulfilled.

For companies to quickly extract values out of it, an IoT-based rock bolt monitoring system must be cost-effective, easy to install and manage. As the bolts are firmly embedded in the rock mass, sensors must be able to operate for years without battery replacement. Above all, high data reception rate must be guaranteed in hostile underground environments with extreme depths and nonsymmetric topography.

Eventually, all of these requirements boil down to the need for highly robust, cost-effective and power-efficient connectivity.

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Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

Costs of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses

BehrTech Blog

14 Eye-Opening Facts About Worker Safety

The costs of occupational injuries and illnesses is a major pain point common across a variety of industries. Industrial work is traditionally difficult and dangerous; and has been identified by the International Labour Organization as a primary focus for improving workplace safety and wellness globally.

With millions of workers affected by occupational health and safety incidents annually and a growing focus on improving workplace conditions and safeguards, having an understanding of the true costs of occupational injuries and illnesses is essential.

The infographic below recaps 14 of the most eye-opening facts about worker safety and the substantial costs that companies bear when employees are injured on the job.

costs of occupational injuries and illnesses

To improve worker safety, innovative IoT and wireless connectivity solutions are being utilized to monitor and report on the health and safety of workers. Intelligent devices such as watches, helmets and vests can now capture vital physical metrics in real-time like heart rate, temperature, movement, activity, and location. In parallel, environmental sensors can be installed on site to monitor critical information about employees’ working conditions and their exposure to external dangers. With the addition of advanced analytics platforms, notifications can be sent when accidents or potential hazards are detected to help reduce and prevent workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities.  

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3 Remarkable IoT Applications for Fire Safety

IoT applications for fire safety

BehrTech Blog

3 Remarkable IoT Applications for Fire Safety


Enabling unprecedented visibility into hazardous sources and on-site fire trends, IoT applications for fire safety in smart buildings and cities are game-changing.

Last week, a massive blaze engulfed the Notre Dame Cathedral and destroyed significant parts of Paris’s iconic cultural landmark. The tragedy left Parisians distraught and startled the rest of the world. Firefighters did a tremendous job saving the main stone structure and plenty of valuable artifacts. However, there was significant room for improvement on how the catastrophe could have been prevented and mitigated in the first place.

The blaze is presumably accidental, and its specific cause has yet to be determined. However, the fact that Notre Dame was under renovation allegedly makes it exposed to multiple fire sources. On top of that, basic safeguarding mechanisms like firewalls and sprinkler systems were purposely absent – to avoid major architectural alterations or potential structural damage caused by electrical wiring inside the ancient cathedral. This left Notre Dame much more vulnerable to fire hazards, and its wooden structure obviously intensified the problem.

[bctt tweet=”Providing unprecedented visibility into hazardous sources and on-site fire trends, the potential of IoT for fire safety in smart buildings and cities is tremendous.”]

Elevating Fire Safety to the Next Level with IoT

The event raises a pertinent question, can we do a better job of protecting historic buildings against fire incidents? While it’s impossible to completely eradicate the risk, advanced technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT), could help us minimize it to the largest extent. Providing unprecedented visibility into hazardous sources and on-site fire trends, the potential of IoT for fire safety in smart buildings and cities is tremendous.

New IoT sensor technologies with miniaturized form and multi-sensing capabilities satisfy specific requirements of historic facilities – as they can be easily retrofitted without modifying or burdening the structure. Additionally, low-power wireless solutions allow these sensors to stay connected on independent batteries for years – eliminating any complex, dangerous wiring. IoT data is powerful in helping combat a fire disaster or even prevent it from happening altogether.

1. Hazardous Source Monitoring and Early Fire Warnings

Buildings under renovation like Notre Dame are highly susceptible to fire threats. Renovation work often entails the use of blowtorches or welding torches to solder pipes or metal-roof components. Drops of hot molten materials are an inherent risk, but even induction heat can ignite a fire in older buildings constructed with highly flammable timber. What’s more, the danger isn’t just limited to where the work takes place. Pipes can indeed transport the heat to other building parts where a flame can break out after hours of smoldering. Besides threats from renovation activities, overheat and malfunction of electrical cables and equipment also play a role in triggering fires.

In this context, IoT sensors can be deployed to continuously monitor electrical systems and identify any active heat sources that are invisible to the naked eye. Once a temperature spike is detected, an alert is immediately sent for relevant inspections to avoid potential catastrophes. IoT temperature sensors also outweigh traditional smoke detectors by detecting ignited fires much faster – even before they emit smoke. In an emergency when every second counts, the sooner an alarm is set off, the more the consequences can be mitigated.

2. On-Site Situational Assessment

Once a fire breaks out, IoT data can support firefighters’ strategic decision in what equipment and approach would be most effective to battle it. Heat-proof sensors can communicate where the fire starts off, its intensity, nature and spreading patterns, as well as whether there are any occupants in the fire zone. Knowing what is happening on the ground in real-time, enables streamlined firefighting and evacuation effort to minimize damage and fatalities.

3. Management of Fire Safety Equipment 

Ensuring critical safety equipment is available when they are most needed, is no doubt a top priority. Smart fire detectors and alarms can report whether they are running low on battery for timely and efficient maintenance. IoT sensors can additionally indicate if a fire extinguisher is missing, or whether a fire door is left open and the automatic sprinkler system still functions properly – in buildings with more sophisticated safeguarding instruments. Digitized management of safety-critical assets eliminates human errors and costs associated with manual checks while providing much higher asset visibility.

Beyond Historic Buildings

The Notre Dame incident is a reminder of how cultural heritages deserve thoughtful care and supervision. But IoT applications for fire safety certainly extend beyond the scope of historical buildings. For all large-scale industrial, commercial and residential facilities, the consequence of a similar fire could lead to the disastrous loss of lives and/or irreversible impacts on the environment. In such modern buildings, potential use cases are boundless with decentralized fire suppression systems, optimal escape route calculation and LED-based navigation or predictive maintenance of complex safety-critical systems – all powered by IoT sensor data.

An IoT-enabled fire safety network doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be deployed. Emerging wireless options like Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) can deliver peace-of-mind with lower capital and operational expenditures. Having said that, reliability, scalability and power efficiency are similarly important network criteria. At the end of the day, it is worth investing in an effective safety system than watching valuable properties falling into ashes.


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IoT for Worker Safety: 3 Applications That Will Transform Your Workplace

IoT for Worker Safety

BehrTech Blog

IoT for Worker Safety: 3 Applications That Will Transform Your Workplace


The Internet of Things (IoT) enables remote monitoring of the mobile field workforce in a non-intrusive and effective fashion, promising significant improvements in industrial worker safety. To support these revolutionary IoT solutions, you need the robust, scalable and cost-effective connectivity power of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN).

IoT for Worker Safety
The size of Worker Safety Challenges (Source: International Labor Organization)

From chemical exposure and equipment mishaps to fatigue, heat stroke and fatal falls, there are numerous workplace dangers facing industry. Robust regulations and extensive training alongside conventional personal safety equipment (PPE) are vital, however, these practices do not inform workers when external environments suddenly turn dangerous. Likewise, supervisors and managers are entirely unaware when remote field workers are reaching their physical thresholds.

The introduction of IoT and smart, connected devices are now giving rise to an unprecedented level of visibility into workers’ health and their environments. Intelligent gadgets (watches, helmets, vests…) continuously capture vital physical metrics like heart rate, skin temperature, movement, activity, and location. In parallel, environmental sensors record critical information about employees’ working conditions and their exposure to external dangers.

Leveraging an advanced analytics platform, situational data can then be distilled into actionable insights visualized at a remote management console. Through enhanced visibility, IoT for worker safety solutions empower data-driven decision-making, thereby improving the safety and productivity of the cross-industry field workforce.

[bctt tweet=”IoT and smart, connected devices are now giving rise to an unprecedented level of visibility into workers’ health and their environments.”]

1. Faster Emergency Response

As critical events experienced by employees are instantly reported to the command center, pre-determined, automated workflows can be executed to accelerate evacuation and rescue activities. For example, when a worker falls from a height or suddenly passes out, alerts are triggered at the safety control center for timely dispatch of medical aids. Similarly, if atmospheric gas levels surpass the tolerated threshold or an imminent explosion is detected, employees are immediately notified and evacuated out of the endangered areas.

2. Enhancing workers’ health, wellness, and productivity

Improved visibility into work environments also help avoid prolonged exposure to harsh conditions like CO2, radiation, noises, heat or humidity. Sensor data enables managers to watch out for any signs of fatigue, dehydration or exhaustion encountered by their workers, thus encouraging them to take a recovery break, as needed. Minimizing overexertion not only improves overall productivity, but also reduces the risk of injuries, accidents and chronic diseases.

3. Diagnosing and preventing future incidents

Beyond reactive responses, predictive analytics fueled by massive field sensor data allows for anticipating and preventing hazards ahead of time. For example, smart sensors installed on rock bolts measure seismic activities in underground mines and help detect the potential collapse of unstable shafts. If a threat is identified, operation in these areas will be banned or preventive measures will be taken to circumvent mishaps.

Likewise, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance minimize failures of critical assets like pumps and pipelines. The explosion risk of gas leaks can, therefore, be reduced. With remote tracking, heavy machinery that is not in use, but still functioning, can be identified for shutdowns. This helps bypass equipment accidents and improve efficiency.

IoT for Worker Safety
Operational Benefits

Versatile Field Connectivity is a Prerequisite

Amid enormous potential, a significant challenge in implementing IoT for worker safety solutions is finding viable field connectivity. Many high-risk industrial workplaces like construction sites, factories, offshore drilling platforms, and underground mines, are characterized by challenging topography, heavy physical obstructions and vast areas. These hostile conditions hinder effective radio propagation by causing shadowing, attenuation, diffraction, and reflection.

Providing an extensive range of many kilometers and a deep building penetration capability, LPWAN introduces a versatile communication solution for geographically dispersed, structurally dense industrial campuses. Ultra-low power consumption also allows for increased battery life, making LPWAN a practical solution for connecting battery-operated IoT devices like wearables and environmental sensors.

Alongside coverage and power consumption, the best LPWAN solution for IoT Worker Safety, will also offer excellent Quality-of-Service, scalability and mobile communication.


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