New IoT technology makes access control and water damage detection effortless and cost-effective.

The technology company Digita Ltd and Novosec Oy, a provider of security equipment, alarm systems and access control solutions, joined forces. The cooperation resulted in solutions based on IoT technology that are suitable for municipal, corporate and consumer customers alike.

A few years back, Novosec surveyed the potential of new to the market IoT (Internet of Things) technology in the security sector. A partner was also needed, as IoT devices require a network to function.

“We chose Digita. Digita is a large company whose ability and prospects to expand the Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) nationwide were realistic”, Novosec Sales Manager Iiro Vuorela recalls.

According to Vuorela, the advantage of the LoRaWan network is that all devices approved for the technology network can be connected to it. The network has clear standards, as do devices that connect to a mobile network. There is no need to worry about compatibility.

“This is an advantage for both us and our customers”, Vuorela says.

The introduction of the technology is also profitable for Novosec’s subsidiaries in Sweden and Estonia, as the LoRaWAN network has a high coverage in the neighbouring countries as well.

“Digita wants to work together to develop our service. They are not just an operator, but a real partner”, Vuorela praises.

More affordable monitoring

IoT devices are easy-to-use but versatile devices designed to gather information. Software connected to these devices and a network allows the information to be used for a variety of purposes. Such information can be utilised in the security sector.

“We found that to date, the majority of software solutions on the market have been fancy and large, but expensive. Such solutions are intended primarily for industrial use, to monitor the power and water consumption or other operation of some piece of equipment. The systems provide information on savings targets”, Vuorela says.

Novosec does not call its new IoT-based solutions alarm systems. The new devices and software are not security systems, as alarm systems are based on different standards, are usually heavier and thus more expensive.

“Alarm systems always have a central unit that requires mains power and also has a battery as a backup. They are meant to prevent or at least alert you to break-ins. Today’s security systems also have the potential for water leak monitoring and access control, but these features raise the price”, Vuorela explains.

Traditional industrial solutions are too heavy for lighter use, and not every space requires all the features of an alarm system.

“For instance, no complex analytics are required to monitor a single door. Such doors may include, for example, doors to technical facilities, medication room doors, or a distribution cabinet. All you need to know is whether the door is open or closed. So we set out to develop software that is easy for the customer to manage”, Vuorela emphasises.

Expanding product family

The EL-IoT product family resulting from the cooperation currently includes three device solutions. More devices, such as panic buttons and various sensors, will be launched for the product family in the future.

“A multifunction detector that detects tilting and the opening of a door or window by means of a magnet can be used, for example, for the access control of a space. The detector also measures humidity and temperature”, Vuorela describes.

“A PIR motion detector, in turn, can be installed in a space where basically no one should be moving around. The motion sensor also measures the temperature of the space”, Vuorela says.

In addition to the two traditional access control solutions, the product family includes a device that can save many rental properties from major damage.

“The third device in the product family is a water leak detector that can be fitted with up to four water leak sensors. The sensors can be installed in the vicinity of potential leak points, such as under the washing machine or dishwasher, or even near the sink. In the event of water damage, the device sends a signal to the software, which notifies you of the water leak by text message”, Vuorela explains.

Easy and energy efficient

A common factor for all the solutions is the software through which the devices are managed. Similar devices on the market usually run on the manufacturer’s own application, with each device having its own separate application. In EL-IoT solutions, all devices can be managed with the same software, regardless of the device supplier. There is no need to learn and update separate applications.

“Devices connected to the EL-IoT software can have a very long service life, so having the same management application for several devices saves time and effort. Alarms caused by water leaks or unauthorised access can be transmitted, for example, by text message directly to the maintenance personnel responsible for the area”, Vuorela says.

In the LoRaWAN network, each device is independent and communicates directly with the network. The operation of the devices does not require a separate server, for example.

“No specially trained technician is required for installation. Anyone can mount the detector on a wall or door. Likewise, the water leak detector is easy to place, say, under the dishwasher”, Vuorela says.

EL-IoT solutions are also energy efficient. The devices run on batteries, as monitoring and data transmission require very little power.

“The power consumption of traditional alarm systems using mains power or large accumulators is something completely different”, Vuorela says.

Even though the EL-IoT software is currently only available to businesses, municipalities and cities, Novosec is also developing a mobile application for consumer use.

“The mobile application is coming to market after the summer. If you buy a device or two for the cottage, for example, managing them through the application is easy and sensible”, Vuorela says.

Vuorela points out that there are lots of places that would be too expensive to monitor using traditional alarm systems. Such places may include, for example, equipment facilities that basically no one should enter. They are not monitored because that would be too expensive with traditional monitoring methods. “EL-IoT is simple, easy and affordable to use for this purpose. All devices are first tested in Digita’s network. In this context, Digita acts like mobile operators”, Vuorela concludes.

Digita’s LoRaWAN network

  • A national network that can be used for IoT (Internet of Things) solutions
  • Designed for wireless and energy-efficient data transfer
  • Based on LoRa (Long Range) technology, which is especially well suited for sending and receiving small amounts of data over long distances
  • Key features of LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) technology include two-way data communication, portability, tracking solutions and easy deployment
  • The sensors used to collect data are lightweight and easy to install wirelessly
  • A wide range of sensor solutions available

This article was originally published on the website as part of a commercial partnership.