25% OFF with the purchase of any new system, Ends Monday.

Expanding the Scope of IoT Alarm Monitoring: From Security to Environmental Health

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionising the way we perceive and interact with the world around us, particularly in the alarm monitoring industry.

Traditionally associated with security systems and fire or intruder alarms, monitoring technologies are now transcending these conventional boundaries, venturing into the critical realm of environmental health monitoring.

As a result, local authorities and other stakeholders are better equipped to detect and mitigate threats to public health. Whether it’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, mould spore growth, or harmful gas leaks, the IoT marks a new era in safeguarding community well-being. 

In this article, we explore the many new opportunities for alarm monitoring services regarding environmental health. 

The Evolution of Alarm Monitoring

Historically, alarm monitoring systems were simplistic, primarily focusing on immediate public and business security concerns, but the scope of these systems has dramatically expanded since the early days. Let’s have a brief overview of how things have developed. 

In the Beginning

Initially, alarm monitoring systems were largely mechanical, relying on basic circuits and physical triggers. These early systems could signal an alert locally through bells or sirens but lacked the capability to communicate information beyond the immediate vicinity.

Signal Transmission is Introduced

With the development of telephony, alarm systems gained the ability to transmit signals to a central monitoring station. This marked the first step towards remote monitoring, allowing for a response from the emergency services even if no one was present at the alarm’s location.

The Digital Revolution

The digital revolution of the late 20th century brought profound changes to the industry. Microprocessors and computer-based systems replaced mechanical and analogue components, enabling more sophisticated functionalities. 

This period also saw the introduction of alarm monitoring software, which could improve the standard of an alarm monitoring service by quickly transmitting signals and filtering false alarms. 

Despite these advancements, early digital systems were still largely siloed, focusing on specific risks like fire alarms or intruder alarm monitoring without the capability to integrate broader functions or analyse complex datasets. 

IoT Monitoring Emerges

The introduction of IoT technology was a quantum leap for the security industry, enabling the interconnectivity of a vast array of devices and transforming isolated alarms into integrated monitoring networks.

Sensors could now collect data on a multitude of parameters beyond traditional security concerns and communicate real-time data to an Alarm Receiving Centre.  

Combining IoT with Other Technologies

The above was made possible thanks to the combination of IoT with other technologies including cloud computing, which provides the resources needed to process the huge volumes of data that IoT devices generate. Without such processing capacity, real-time analysis would not be effective.

Speaking of analysis, machine learning and AI algorithms are behind the predictive nature of modern monitoring – the pattern recognition that enables threat detection. Edge computing makes this all the more powerful; it enables processing to occur on IoT devices, giving rise to more agile responses.  

When we add 5G into the mix, things step up a few gears. More complex and expansive networks are now possible at an affordable cost.  

These technologies collectively enhance the accuracy, speed, and reliability of IoT alarm monitoring systems, paving the way for their broader adoption. So, now it’s time to explore the many new possibilities for environmental health monitoring. 

Environmental Health Applications

The modern monitored alarm system can receive data from a variety of sensors to track all kinds of variables, from motion and sound to air quality and chemical compositions.

Beyond detection, IoT monitoring can also serve as an early warning system, predicting potential hazards and enabling rapid response measures. What’s more, these practises make it easier for organisations to comply with environmental regulations.

Air Quality Monitoring

IoT-enabled sensors can continuously monitor air quality, detecting pollutants such as NOx, PM2.5, and PM10. These sensors can be deployed in urban areas, industrial zones, or inside buildings to provide real-time data on air pollution levels.

Warnings can be sent to affected residents, among other appropriate actions that can mitigate the health risks, especially for vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly.

Indoor air quality monitoring is especially important in facilities such as mines and chemical plants, and the global market for this type of monitoring is forecast to be worth USD 7.23 billion by 2030.

Water Quality Monitoring

Urbanisation continues to pose a threat to water quality, with many potential sources of pollution to keep an eye on. Water contamination is also a threat to biodiversity, so in the interests of sustainability, monitoring water quality is an essential practise.

Sensors and metres can analyse water sources for contaminants like heavy metals and bacteria, as well as pH levels, temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, conductivity, and so on.

This data can be critical in preventing the spread of waterborne diseases. It also ensures that drinking water supplies and recreational waters are within safe limits, and enables early warnings for issues like sewage leaks or industrial runoff that threaten water quality.

Various organisations are already using IoT technology for water quality monitoring. These include water consumption management and wastewater management facilities, as well as water distribution networks and industrial sites.

Many cities are also using these solutions. For example, an article in The Financial Times discusses applications in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, where water management costs were reduced by 33% thanks to IoT, while in Chicago, sensors trigger alarms if pollution levels in drinking water supplies or public recreation levels reach unsafe levels.

Chemical Leak and Radiation Detection

Manufacturing plants and other industrial sites deploy IoT devices to detect hazardous gases or chemicals in the air or water. In the event of a leak or spill, immediate alerts can be triggered, allowing for quick evacuation and response efforts, thus minimising exposure and helping to contain the environmental consequences.

The same process can be implemented in areas with potential radiation exposure, such as near nuclear facilities or in medical settings. Here, IoT sensors can continuously monitor radiation levels to ensure they remain within safe limits.

The most common types of chemical incidents are fires (46%), followed by spills (15%), leakages (14%), releases (10%), and explosions (1%), with industrial and residential settings being the most common locations.

With that said, chemical incidents in the UK’s hospitals have been increasing. 115 incidents occurred between May 2022 – May 2023, which included toxic spills and leaks of radioactive waste and bodily fluids. Some have blamed these incidents on the poor condition of NHS facilities. Perhaps in future, more hospitals will add smart monitoring to their repertoire.

Mould and Pollen Detection

Particle sensors can detect mould and pollen, and other conditions that favour the growth of mould (i.e., temperature and humidity) can be monitored to help predict its proliferation.

IoT therefore enables timely interventions to prevent the health risks associated with mould exposure. Also, alerts from pollen sensors can trigger warnings to individuals with severe allergies.

Such applications are used in medical facilities and as part of air quality programmes.

Noise Pollution Monitoring

Prolonged exposure to high noise levels can lead to health issues such as sleep disturbances and stress. The increased use of vehicles within urban settings is partly to blame, while industrial premises also need to keep their noise levels within permissible limits. IoT devices help to identify problematic areas so that local authorities can employ targeted interventions.

Disease Surveillance

The final example we’ll look at is the (non-invasive) surveillance of diseases. This can be done by monitoring environmental conditions conducive to outbreaks. For example, monitoring the temperature and humidity in different locations can help control the spread of vector-borne diseases like malaria or dengue, as certain vectors thrive in specific environmental conditions.

Ethical Considerations

Data Misuse

In many cases, the collection of environmental data is not linked to individuals, so there are typically no concerns about handling personal data here. As such, using IoT for environmental monitoring is one of the least controversial applications of this technology.

With that said, non-personal environmental data can be sensitive or proprietary, especially if it relates to industrial processes or protected natural areas. If such data were accessed or manipulated by unauthorised parties, it could lead to misinformation, harm to ecosystems, or unfair competitive advantages.

Environmental data could also potentially be used in ways that were not originally intended or explicitly agreed upon, raising concerns about consent and transparency. For instance, data indicating high natural resource availability in a specific area could attract exploitative industrial activities that harm the local ecosystem.

Public Trust

Another issue pertains to public trust. If communities feel they are being monitored (even if no personal data is being collected), or if the technologies are perceived as intrusive or harmful, it could be challenging to gain public buy-in to their deployment.

Regardless of these concerns, IoT is being used more and more to enhance public health. GeminiSense is a leading provider of alarm monitoring software that can handle alerts from any type of sensor as well as traditional security devices. 


Thanks to IoT, local authorities, public health officials, and environmental agencies can identify and respond to various health risks more effectively, protecting communities and promoting a healthier environment.

As mentioned, our solution offers a robust foundation for any IoT monitoring application. And it’s compatible with virtually any hardware, able to handle alerts from any type of connected device. To book a demo, contact us today.

Prev post
Next post

Leave A Reply

Supported Systems

This list shows those CCTV products where at least minimum functionality is supported. As manufacturers improve their products and GeminiSense is continuously enhanced, the integration functionality is subject to change.