Air Quality and Pollution Monitoring

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Pilot C – Air Quality and Pollution Monitoring

Pilot Overview

The AGILE pilot on environmental monitoring of air quality and pollution is based on an IoT solution where multiple monitoring stations are distributed in a wide area and are responsible to collect local information about air conditions and pollution levels. The collected data are processed locally by the monitoring stations and published to a cloud platform, where the information become easily accessible to the final users. Institutional users can have direct access to all the data retrieved and have a wide perspective of the information gathered, while the private users can have an immediate view of the actual conditions using a specific application developed, in example, for mobile devices. The monitoring station is based on the AGILE Industrial Gateway hardware platform and on the AGILE software stack (see the following figure):

Pilot C architecture.png

Business View

The main benefit of the solution proposed in pilot C is the possibility to deploy a pervasive network of monitoring stations, with a cost that is significantly lower, if compared to the existing solutions. The cost reduction doesn’t affect the potentialities of the monitoring station, which provides high quality and certifiable data acquisition, with a rich set of environmental parameters monitored. The large amount of data collected with a cloud based IoT solution represents a valuable asset for new added-value services that, in turns, can generate new business opportunities.

Scenario Rationale

The monitoring stations exploits the modular hardware design of the AGILE industrial gateway: the modularity allows to identify the hardware configuration that better satisfies the required features and price in a specific vertical application in the context of air quality monitoring. The requirements provided by the customer drive the selection of the hardware modules, without preventing future extensions of the monitoring station. The design of the industrial version of the Agile modular gateway has been adopted and customized to develop a new device characterized by smaller size, higher integration, lower power consumption and modular capabilities focused on sensing and network. From a software point of view, the pilot exploits the AGILE stack, both in terms of IoT solution and development support tools, with a specific focus on the functionalities offered by the AGILE Kura component. This open-source IoT modular framework enhances hardware value, simplifies its use and management, and gives to the customers the possibility to implement their own business application and integrate existing solutions.

The prototype

The prototype of the monitoring station has been designed starting from the AGILE Industrial Gateway reference design and following three main technical objectives:

  • reduce the size, through a higher integration of components;
  • limit the modularity level, that is focused only on sensing and network functionalities;
  • ensure lower power consumption.

The following figure illustrates the consolidated architecture of the monitoring station.

Monitoring station architecture.png

Hardware modularity has been focused on the sensing functionalities of the monitoring station that relies on the two internal and two external expansions. In Pilot C, all the expansions are used by sensing modules, but in principle they are not reserved exclusively to them: according to the reference design, the expansions are intended for general usage and can host different types of modules. Internal and external expansions adopt different types of interfaces to increase the design flexibility and ensure the potential support for a wide range of expansion module. The following figure illustrates the prototype of the monitoring station.

Pilot C prototype.png

Extending the monitoring station

The monitoring station has been designed with a modular approach that allows to customize it depending on the requirements of a specific application domain. Through modularity the monitoring station can be extended both in terms of hardware and software components. Hardware extensibility is focused on the sensing capabilities. Sensing modules are connected to the main board through:

  • an internal expansion interface based on a serial/TTL and/or SPI interfaces,
  • an external expansion interface based on a I2C interface and
  • the Air Sensor Card that hosts standard industrial sensors (see [1])

Software modularity can be exploited following two approaches:

  • develop a new AGILE component in a specific container and use the REST API provided by AGILE Kura component;
  • develop a set of OSGi bundles directly in the AGILE Kura container.