Posted on February 22, 2019
In the final installment of our four-part series applying a home IoT solution to commercial uses, Shannon Wnukowski, Sales Administrator for Sigfox USA, details how a holiday tradition from her youth was the perfect subject for IoT driven investigation, powered by the Sigfox LPWA network.
When I was younger, all my brother and I wanted to do the weekend after Thanksgiving was to put up our Christmas tree. But without fail, every year my father would give us a hard NO!! He would say that it was too soon, that it would be dead before Christmas creating huge fire risk inside the house.
With a family of my own now, I have realized that history often repeats itself. I found myself telling my children would not get a tree immediately after Thanksgiving, because it would be dead before Christmas… just like my father! But this year things changed that because I used the internet of things (IoT) technology to put my annual Christmas tree fire fears at rest.
Oh, Christmas Tree
Two weeks before Christmas we made our annual visit to a local farm to buy the perfect tree. The next day I set up a simple IoT solution to monitor the temperature and moisture level of our tree, using two Sensit devices. Using the sensit.io application I set temperature and moisture thresholds triggering a notification via email if the temperature of the tree reached 79 degrees. The rationale being the tree lights were dangerously close to heating up the tree.
Water Consumption and Temperature
After a week the tree stopped drinking water and the temperature of the tree did not once reach 79 degrees. Fears that lights would cause the tree to heat up to potential fire temperatures were no longer a concern. Another insight that my IoT solution revealed was that while the tree stopped absorbing water after a week, the moisture level was unchanged. In retrospect, fears about Christmas tree catching fire are perhaps based on outdated electrical wiring that was common in the ’60s and ‘70s. This is not to say that Christmas tree fires are all but solved now with new lighting and electric, more so it is just one precautionary measure beyond watering regularly, choosing an ideal location, and other safety measures as reported by this Traveler’s Insurance article.
Data From Mother Nature
As you can imagine, there are countless commercial applications that IoT moisture and temperature monitoring solutions could potentially be applied to. For instance, IoT temperature sensors placed throughout orange groves in Florida can send an alert when temperatures dip to a crop-risk level. IoT sensors can monitor the soil moisture of sensitive orchids in a large commercial greenhouse so watering is perfectly timed. The water levels of pinot noir grapes in a Oregon vineyard can be monitored using IoT sensors. Beyond this, IoT sensors can be a powerful tool in fighting forest fires with data by providing insights on the conditions of a geographic area.