Can the Internet of Things change how cities react to the weather? | Panda Anku

Most of the United States has seen record-breaking heat levels through July 2022.

This muggy weather leads to a phenomenon known as heat domes. Heat domes or heat islands occur when the climate in rural areas surrounding an urban area differs from that in the urban area.

According to Bryan Fried, CEO and chairman of Pangea Global Technologies, in these cases, the temperature in the metropolitan area is usually higher than in the surrounding areas. “This condition exacerbates unfavorable climates and temperatures in the area and can cause other problems,” Fried said.

“Heat domes in Arizona are common, and their effects are often worsened by high levels of particulate matter in the air, especially during the summer months,” Fried said. “Heat domes and excessive ambient particulate matter affect air quality, carbon dioxide levels and overall air quality.”

Fried believes extreme weather can be mitigated by installing smart devices in urban areas that recognize these types of conditions. “The devices are connected wirelessly [..] where data is collected and stored in the platform and then analyzed.”

The data could include particle saturation, temperature, humidity, wind speed, and carbon dioxide levels.

“For example, if the level of particulate matter in the air could damage intake systems of structural air conditioning systems, these systems can be automatically shut down by the platform to prevent damage and malfunction,” Fried said. “Similar notifications could also provide an alert when public action can be taken to reduce traffic or use of heavy equipment, which would also worsen air quality.”

The company says its open architecture and wireless lighting platform can collect various data, including temperature, humidity, soil content, spectrum control, and automate reactive actions like watering, turning lights off, and more.

The platform monitors particle saturation and air quality in a project using Trane air systems at a proving ground in Mesa, Arizona. When particle levels become dangerous, Trane Pangea Air Systems help close the air intake dampers to prevent site contamination and damage to equipment due to Haboob dust storms that regularly hit this area.

Bas Steunebrink, co-founder and director of artificial general intelligence at NNAISENSE, said that smart cities, and especially cities organized around digital twin technology, have the potential to reduce energy consumption and optimize power grids.

“This measure will prevent power outages and ensure that critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools, public transport and emergency services remain operational,” said Steunebrink. “Digital twin technology is used to build a deeper understanding of the myriad processes that interweave people, businesses, infrastructure and spaces in the smart city to generate actionable insights and calculate improvements.”

Steunebrink says that by connecting the digital twin to weather data and sensors on IoT devices, climate management can be achieved through forecasting and planning based on real-time data.

An open architecture platform can integrate detection and notification utilities for heat domes/islands or other weather issues into its framework. These solutions can be housed in powered outdoor lighting fixtures and can be widely deployed in any urban area.

According to Fried, this approach also works in flood-prone areas such as New Orleans. Flood detection systems integrated into IoT platforms [..] can register normal water levels from storms triggering notifications and potential drainage logs when water levels are too high.

“Climate in general can be tracked and assessed [..] in these detection systems to alert people and authorities to potentially harmful climate conditions and events and trigger automatic responses to those events,” Fried said.

Fried adds that by connecting and integrating these devices with a technology platform that resides in luminaires, installation and maintenance costs are reduced and widespread deployment becomes easier and less expensive.

“In the event of an emergency caused by climate events, the lighting itself can also be programmed to automatically blink or strobe to visually notify the public of an event,” Fried said.

Fried believes the possibilities of an open-architecture platform to track and respond to climate issues are virtually limitless. “The ability to create automatic alerts gives people and agencies the ability to create plans based on these contingencies to mitigate climate-related issues.”

Fried says that IoT alone does nothing to mitigate heat domes, but IoT is information, so it’s what’s done with knowledge that can help mitigate the effects of heat domes.

“For example, if the information indicated it, a city could limit traffic or take other measures to reduce the heat input,” Fried said. “So any adjustments must be made materially in response to the information provided; this is the value of IoT-based detection systems.”


Leave a Comment