Modules, Connectivity, Platforms

TerOpta: Leveraging LTE IoT Solutions to Minimize Air Pollution

How bad is air pollution? In the UK alone, nearly 40 million people live in areas where diesel vehicle emissions are high enough to risk damaging their health. According to the Royal College of Physicians, 40,000 people die each year due to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which has been linked to cancer, asthma, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and dementia. Those diseases affect the rest of the country, too, by costing the economy £20 billion yearly.

No wonder roughly 4,000 UK residents have air-pollution monitoring kits. However, more and better public monitoring stations are needed throughout the country to track NO2 and other pollutants such as particulates.

Currently, public monitoring stations don’t provide highly granular data in real time. That’s because high-quality sensors are too expensive for nationwide deployment.

A low-cost alternative is critical for improving public health. This sensor network may sacrifice some accuracy in individual pollution readings, but its geographical density and frequent reporting would offset that.

This network would produce a wealth of insights into how pollution moves, evolves and responds to weather, rerouting of road traffic, changes to speed limits and other factors. It would enable local authorities to make informed decisions and perform “what-if” experiments to improve air quality in their area. Companies such as heavy construction firms, which must monitor their operations’ effect on local populations, would also benefit from such a system.

An Affordable, High-Performance Alternative for Air Pollution Monitoring

To meet this need, TerOpta has developed a cloud-connected air-quality sensing system that balances affordability with accuracy. Optional bolt-ons include monitoring noise pollution and an image recognition system that can identify the traffic types and road speed creating pollution.

The system is tightly integrated with a cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) system, which handles applications such as pollution mapping and prediction, created as part of the UK government-funded Real-Time Emission Visualization (REVIS) project. This project also uses satellite navigation technology to help consumers map travel routes that create and experience the least pollution.

The TerOpta system is currently being trialed with a large construction company and is expected to significantly reduce the CAPEX and OPEX of its mandatory pollution monitoring. Another goal of the trials is to provide local authorities with actionable insights that were previously unavailable to them, enabling them to make faster progress in meeting air quality directives.

A device that is attached to a white background.

The Telit Cinterion Advantage

The TerOpta system features the ME910C1 module for LTE connectivity. With uplink and downlink speeds of 375 and 300 kbps, the ME910C1 is designed for applications requiring ultralow power consumption, moderate data rates and affordability.

The ME910C1 also supports LTE Cat M1/NB1 under 3GPP Release (Rel) 13. This standard is designed to meet the unique requirements that many IoT applications have. For example, Rel 13 provides enhanced coverage, giving up to +15 dB or +20 dB (depending on the application) increase in maximum coupling loss compared to other cellular technologies. That helps ensure reliable connections with IoT devices even when they’re in urban concrete canyons.

ME910C1 module series.

TerOpta chose the OneEdge™ system, which simplifies the design, deployment and management of IoT solutions. The ME910C1 is pre-provisioned with OneEdge software, then tested and network certified, so they’re ready to connect to the cloud upon activation. OneEdge also lays the foundation for TerOpta to migrate to 5G when it’s ready.

OneEdge logo

The choice of Telit Cinterion for module hardware, connectivity and device management has greatly speeded up our time to market. During our development process, we have seen good coordination between the different Telit Cinterion teams (e.g., device firmware and IoT platform support) all working together to solve any problems and provide the right functionality.

Paul Callan, CTO of TerOpta

Finally, TerOpta also uses the data plans provided with Telit OneEdge. These connectivity subscriptions release IoT developers and providers from the hassle of comparing multiple mobile operator plans and coverage maps. Instead, companies can focus on their products and customers — a key benefit for TerOpta as it expands to other countries.

The OneEdge system, with its comprehensive features and minimal or no graphical coding approach, has enabled us to concentrate more of our effort on understanding and meeting our customers’ needs rather than committing too many internal resources to non-core activities.

Mike Sharratt, CEO of TerOpta
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