Legionella is increasingly in the news, and problematic and traditional methods of water outlet and sentinel temperature monitoring associated with reducing its risk have proved to be resource intensive, manual, costly and prone to error. To address this, Sigfox operator and independent internet of things (IoT) network operator Heliot Europe has entered into a partnership with Cistermiser for the development of its LinkThru Temperature Monitoring Unit (TMU) devices.
Managing the issue is rife across many settings, including offices, hospitals, care homes, restaurants and stadia, and the firms say managing the electronic log book that is required to demonstrate legionella compliance is difficult with current traditional paper-based systems.
The TMU devices have been designed to connect to Heliot Europe, Heliot’s Sigfox-0G network for IoT. They see use with building owners, facilities managers or maintenance professionals to monitor water flow and temperature in water systems, in an effort to reduce the risk of legionella.
Once devices are connected to pipework systems, they harness IoT technology and connectivity to monitor water temperature and flow, and the data captured is reported in an appropriate format for regulators. This is said to enable building owners to ensure compliance with HSG274 regulation so they can reduce the risk of legionella and other waterborne pathogens 24/7.
Cistermiser’s TMU devices were designed in collaboration with Heliot Europe and Spica Technologies. They are described as compact, easy to install and scalable, and connect to cloud-based reporting and alert systems.
They are fundamentally intended to replace traditional resource-intensive approaches to legionella risk management, and automate the process and reporting required to mitigate the risk of legionella.
Device connectivity is handled by Heliot’s Sigfox network. Spica enables data captured by TMUs to be configured into the appropriate required reports and alerts, that enable organisations to adhere to HSE technical guidance and approved codes of practice.
Explaining how the deployment of the technology will work, Cistermiser managing director Richard Braid said: “Since our LinkThru TMUs are often fitted in remote locations, we needed to ensure we developed an effective network to connect our devices to.
“We considered SIM cards and cellular networks and Wi-Fi – but the reality is that these were not cost effective for our devices, nor were they as reliable,” he said. “Instead, we explored the use of Sigfox and sub-gigahertz network technology, and settled on that for a number of reasons. Sigfox is ubiquitous, robust and reliable across the UK and Europe. When this form of connectivity is integrated into our devices, it enables reach into areas that other networks cannot access.”
This matters greatly in the use case as many water systems are located in underground locations or in concrete buildings. Connecting devices to a Sigfox network is said to enable Cistermiser to transmit small packets of data, helping to ensure battery power on devices is not compromised, meaning devices can last in the field for longer. Cistermiser also believes that using Sigfox connectivity is more appealing to IT and security teams, as it means devices do not need access to clients’ networks, Wi-Fi or security systems.
Heliot Europe is the exclusive operator of the global Sigfox 0G network in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, the UK, Denmark and Liechtenstein. This, said the company, made Heliot Europe the largest 0G network operator in Europe.
Looking at the deployment, Heliot said low-frequency radio technology is also a cost-effective alternative to existing Narrowband internet of things (NB-IoT and CAT-M) infrastructures.
“Cistermiser is a true industry leader in its field,” said Gareth Mitchell, UK partner manager at Heliot Europe. “It has reviewed the market and developed IoT-based devices to improve operational efficiencies within the water management sector. Its LinkThru devices, connected to the internet of things via our sub-gigahertz Sigfox network, enables organisations to improve how they run legionella risk management operations.
“Moreover, this is a proven example of how Sigfox can drive reliable connectivity across IoT devices and applications, where other forms of connectivity cannot succeed. We are delighted to support Cistermiser as it takes this product to market.”