Earth Day 2021: IoT Provides a Watchful Eye

Kelly Brieger
Director of Marketing
April 19, 2021

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Although a quick search reveals this ancient quandary has recently been worked over by quantum mechanics experts, satellite communications and Internet of Things (IoT) technology provide a direct route to a simple answer: yes. As a metaphorical eye monitoring the earth’s vast natural resources, satellite based IoT solutions can detect and report environmental threats to the environment as they happen––no human presence required. 

Satellite environmental monitoring is on the rise

Last week the BBC reported that starting in 2023, Carbon Mapper, Inc., a non-profit environmental organization, will fly a network of satellites equipped with multiple high-resolution (30m) sensors that can deliver a pinpointed, daily view of significant releases of climate-changing gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Carbon Mapper’s detailed, highly visual heat maps will be an improvement over current satellite monitoring, which the BBC characterizes as:

* Most of these [existing satellite monitoring] spacecraft can sense the likes of methane over very large areas but have poor resolution at the local level, at the scale, say, of a leaking pipeline. And those systems that can capture this detail will lack the wide-area coverage and the timely return to a particular location
. . . .
* [The Carbon Mapper satellites] will look for super-emitters - the actors responsible for large releases of greenhouse gases. These would include oil and gas infrastructure, or perhaps poorly managed landfills and large dairy factory facilities.

* Often these emitters want to know they have a problem but just don't have the data to take action.
(Emphasis added.)

The last sentence is important because it’s the essence of the problem Skylo can proactively address today, globally, at the incredibly detailed level of, say, a leaking pipeline or a downed power line. Our solutions are being used right now by manufacturing and mining companies, fisheries, utilities, farms and other organizations being called upon to step up their environmental stewardship. 

Skylo’s “eye in the sky” collects data from anywhere on earth

Skylo’s satellite based IoT solution delivers the world’s most affordable way to monitor physical assets and natural resources anywhere, with no on-the-ground human presence required. Rather than relying on extremely expensive satellite cameras to produce visual maps, our Skylo Hub is a ruggedized data transmission device that can connect up to 15 sensors that are stationary or moving, in freezing cold temperatures or sweltering heat. With a Hub continuously transmitting data collected from the sensors at 10-minute intervals, 24 hours a day, industries can monitor operations to detect problems, saving the environment by nipping them in the bud. Here are just a few examples:

  1. Wildfire prevention: Dry conditions and high winds can whip up wildfires in just minutes. Forest floors in high-risk areas can be seeded with sensors to monitor moisture levels and detect ignition, speeding firefighters to the scene. In addition, power lines, transformers and grids can be monitored for overheating and spark detection. 
  2. Pipeline operations: Pipeline leaks occur regularly, contaminating land and drinking water. Miles of pipeline can be cost-effectively outfitted with sensors, detecting leaks as they happen, not after thousands of gallons of oil have spilled.
  3. Precision farming: Optimizing water use is critical to reduce waste, preserve soil quality and maximize crop yields. Sensors deployed across farmlands can constantly monitor soil moisture, nutrients, fertilizers and pesticides.
  4. Dairy and food production operations: Farm operations are one of the biggest producers of methane. Air quality sensors can monitor for high methane levels on dairy, cattle and hog farms, pinpointing problem areas and tracking their improvement.  
  5. Sustainable fishing: The damage from overfished oceans ripples across multiple ecosystems in the water and on dry land. To help bring an end to overfishing and poaching, sensors can monitor boats’ locations, and their gross and tare weights. 
  6. Waste management: Landfills are hotbeds of noxious chemicals and gases. Here, sensors can detect waste levels and chemical concentrations, to guide their removal.
  7. Mining impact mitigation: Mineral and coal mining can lead to deforestation, erosion, contamination and alteration of soil profiles, contamination of local streams and wetlands. Sensors deployed at active and dormant mines can keep conditions top of mind and track remediation.
  1. Energy management: Efficient energy use reduces consumption and carbon dioxide footprint. Although many of today’s newer buildings are outfitted with smart technologies, older structures typically aren’t. These can be tagged with sensors to report on energy consumption, energy loss and CO2 emissions, paving the way for specific improvements.  

Again, these are just a few examples, any of which can be deployed today with Skylo. 

Every day can be Earth Day

Because the Skylo Network is satellite based, Skylo Hubs can be located, literally, anywhere on earth. This game-changing freedom from traditional wireless networks means that Skylo can collect data from the remotest regions of any continent and the farthest reaches of any ocean. Today our technology is already in wide use, silently watching over the environment with an “eye in the sky” that never blinks or misses a beat. In partnership with our amazing customers, Skylo is proud to honor and protect our planet, today, on Earth Day, and every day.

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