A Scottish Government-backed Internet of Things (IoT) network has helped a local council improve the way it monitors water safety levels in over 100 buildings.

A national IoT network – delivered by Boston Networks – has provided the necessary infrastructure for Highland Council to be warned of any risk of legionella in its water systems.

Previously, engineers had to travel between sites and manually take temperature readings. But under a three-year contract with Dundee-based M2M Cloud, the company’s Neptune water-monitoring sensor technology – which provides instant red flags of unsafe levels – had replaced that system.

Water systems with the right environmental conditions, such as temperatures between 20 – 45°C, can potentially develop harmful bacteria, such as legionella.  To negate this risk, sensors are attached to the surface of water pipes to record temperature readings every 10 seconds.  Data captured is then transferred over the IoT Scotland network for The Highland Council to view via an ‘intelligent dashboard’.

Real-time alerts notify the building users of changes to the temperature to provide early notification that the water system is out of specification, replacing a previously timely and manual monitoring process where engineers would travel across the council estate to take temperature readings.

The Highland Council is responsible for the largest local government area in the UK. Covering an area larger than Belgium, with a population of over 230,000, the council manages 1100 non domestic properties.

M2M Cloud developed their Neptune technology following a proof of concept trial involving CENSIS – the Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems and IoT – which saw the technology rolled out at two Highland Council properties.

The Scottish Government backed IoT Scotland network provides businesses and the public sector with access to affordable IoT connectivity. Allowing them to monitor and potentially control the status, efficiency and productivity of their assets and equipment, and to make more informed data driven decisions that will deliver economic and social benefits and drive operational efficiencies.

Chair of the Highland Council’s Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson, said: “The Internet of Things (IoT) has been ‘the next big thing’ for a while now, but in recent years it has developed in a major way, to the point that there are now a number of well tested and useful applications for the public sector. IoT represents a very real opportunity to help local authorities save money, reduce their energy/carbon output and improve service delivery, and a national IoT network provides the connectivity facilitate these projects.”

Scott Edgar, Operations Director at M2M Cloud, said: “Having a National IoT network will enable any business or public sector organisation across the country to potentially access and benefit from Neptune Water Monitoring technology.  Neptune helps ensure a water system is compliant and also helps with planned preventative maintenance schemes. The technology can also help organisations react quicker to problems and target resources to the right place saving time and money, while lowering carbon emissions.”

The Highland Council project has been part funded through the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as part of the Strategic Intervention “Scotland’s 8th City – The Smart City”.

IoT Scotland is the Scottish Government-backed National IoT network for Scotland. Announced by Kate Forbes Funded by theScottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Boston Networks, IoT Scotland will deliver seamless and resilient IoT connectivity to every city in Scotland, as well as major towns, and will be rolled out to challenging rural and remote areas, where demand exists, to ensure businesses and public-sector organisations across the country can take advantage of the efficiencies IoT technology can deliver