Acoustic measurement embraces M2M/IoT connectivity in extreme locations
Noise and meteorology monitoring: sound and wind-proofed solutions call upon resilient M2M connectivity. In the world of acoustic and meteorology monitoring, UK-based Acoustic1 has developed an enviable reputation to deliver rapidly-deployed solutions to many of the country’s major construction projects.
The company has evolved a growing range of solutions for temporary structures, where the need to gauge and alert threatening weather conditions are both vital to the safety of spectators/users as well as the fabric of the structure itself.
Utilising the hardware of French-owned ACOEM Group, Acoustic1 has seen its acoustic and wind-monitoring deployments on landmark construction projects such as the Forth Bridge Crossing, due to finish in 2016, where noise and wind data are recorded on a per second basis, analysed in real-time and provided as alerts if thresholds are surpassed. Data is accessible via an easy-to-use web-based platform which enables users to review and process legacy data, as well as individually connect with any device to monitor activity as a live feed.
- UK-based Acoustic1 roll out solutions to high profile locations
- M2M managed services and connectivity courtesy of Wireless Logic
- Bar to be raised with arrival of 4G
Transmitting data reliably, securely and quickly, Acoustic1 will seldom have the luxury of hardwiring their strategically placed devices, often many metres up in the air and within remote locations. The use of SIM-based connectivity has consequently become more and more mission-critical to deliver data-heavy communication, always-on, and at an acceptable cost. “In just a short number of years, we’ve seen the progression of bulky externally-mounted modems, to in-built SIM-enabled modules incorporated within the ACOEM device. Whether battery or mains-powered, the entire hardware has become easier to handle, assemble and provision,” comments Steve Thomas, Acoustic1’s founder and Managing Director. “And it is this portability, combined with the larger bandwidths now achievable through 3G, which are now enabling us to survey, scope and deploy entire solutions in a matter of hours.”
Vital to the success of 3G-enabled acoustic and meteorology monitoring is the ability to assign a ‘fixed ip’ to each device. And it is here that a unique partnership has developed with Wireless Logic, Europe’s leading specialist managed services provider of M2M connectivity. A close relationship with the Wireless Logic team has seen Acoustic1 take advantage of every development rolled out by the mobile networks, with added value layers of service and platforms from Hurley-based Wireless Logic. “We have worked with the WL team for over 8 years,” continues Steve Thomas. “As a network-agnostic M2M provider, we’ve utilised their entire suite of UK networks, all accessible and controlled via their SIM provisioning platform, SIMPro. With some deployments more data heavy than others, we can aggregate the usage so that costs remain manageable across the entire estate.”
Wireless Logic’s ability to deliver multiple network solutions through one window gives Acoustic1 high degrees of flexibility when planning new projects. Justin Godfrey-Cass, Account Manager for Wireless Logic explains: “Whilst it’s not about the quantity of SIMs in the field for Acoustic1, it is all about data-rich connectivity that must be resilient. We will site-survey to ensure the optimum signal for the location, and ensure the monthly data package will satisfy intended usage. They now use all of the UK’s major networks, with negotiated data tariffs which account for the intense levels of data traffic related to the nature of Acoustic1’s work.”
From the Forth Bridge Crossing to Crossrail and a number of other high profile construction projects, Acoustic1’s most notable deployment culminated in being part of the UK’s most memorable summer in 2012. With monitoring equipment in no less than 15 different Olympic venues, the ACOEM DUO monitoring device, provided by Acoustic1 and connected through Wireless Logic, saw more sporting action than any spectator. Mounted on scaffold-based temporary structures, live data monitored sound, wind direction/speed and rainfall, all retrieved to give objective data to the organisers responsible for spectator management. Each device triggered text-alerts if wind levels peaked at any of three levels – thus enabling safe evacuation if required, or notification that crowds may start to exit given adverse weather conditions. Full compliance was met on every deployment. As it happens, the strongest gust was saved for Eton Dorney, which thankfully gave a tailwind to one of the GB canoe team… no evacuations necessary.
Acoustic1 are now ready to exploit the expected increase in bandwidths when 4G comes on stream. “For customers wanting to remotely listen to a low-level generator in an isolated location, 4G will give untold opportunities to monitor acoustic outputs not always audible to the human ear. Yet the packages of data will be large. We are looking forward to developing solutions that can give more in-depth analysis alongside greater accessibility,” concludes Acoustic1’s Steve Thomas. “We are preparing the way for a number of trials with Wireless Logic and will be forging ahead once the networks are ready.” Wireless Logic’s Justin Godfrey-Cass agrees: “Live streaming of audio can run into multiple mb usage. We will field test a number of networks and develop new solutions which Acoustic1 can take to the market with confidence.”
Last word to Steve Thomas: “We are really excited about the market and how the technology is developing. Communication is key and it’s good to know that in Wireless Logic, we can ensure our service offerings come with the latest M2M connectivity solutions backed by first-class Service Level Agreements. We are now looking at linking in to their European network partnerships and have ambitious plans to eventually deliver global monitoring solutions.”