Can IoT help to reduce the risk of Legionnaires disease?

Most healthcare professionals and facilities managers know all too well the risks of Legionella; a pathogenic bacterium found commonly in water supplies. The problem is that, under certain conditions, including temperature and incubation, bacteria can grow and replicate to dangerous levels of concentration. If Legionella bacteria is present in a sufficient concentration, something as simple as turning on a tap or a shower can cause the bacteria to be air bound in tiny water droplets. If inhaled, the bacteria can cause a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, known as Legionnaires disease.

Today, many organisations rely on a member of staff, or even a 3rd party, walking around a facility with a thermometer and checking the temperature of the water whilst the tap runs for two or more minutes. Not only is this extremely time consuming and inefficient, it is wildly unreliable. With the current process, it is not possible to continually measure the temperature of the water, meaning fluctuations that could lead to an increased presence of Legionella are missed. So how can IoT help combat the risk?

The risk of Legionella is highest when the water temperature sits between 20 degrees and 45 degrees Celsius. SPICA, a vendor of Technology Solutions, formerly a division of Avnet and now part of Tech Data, has recently launched Devicepoint® for Healthy Water. This IoT solution attaches sensors to water pipes to measure temperature. Non-invasive external pipe sensors remove the risk of introducing unwanted contaminants into the water supply. Devicepoint® detects if the conditions are right for Legionella to thrive. The sensors are constantly monitoring the temperature and can detect if the water inside the pipe is flowing. The sensors transmit real-time information to a cloud platform. Here raw data is processed and turned into insightful analytics. When conditions meet predefined thresholds, before conditions reach optimum levels for Legionella, automatic alerts are sent out to an engineer.

Using this IoT technology, facilities managers are able to manage multiple sites through a simple user interface to ensure the water is safe and healthy. Proactive risk management means the resources are created to intervene only when it is needed. This has the ability to not only save time but also save water. In addition, the solution can be applied to identify other risks such as scolding or the risk of freezing pipes. These sensors are specifically designed to be retrofitted, as they are easy to install allowing for highly versatile deployments. Devicepoint® sensors can be attached to pipes of various sizes and offer a typical battery life of around 10 years.

IoT has the power to remove the risks of this disease to almost zero, showing us again that IoT is not just to connect your household items, but also can help advance new industries. Devicepoint® is being used by organisations all around the world with huge success. If you have customers who want to reduce the risk of Legionella, then SPICA’s Healthy Water IoT solution, available through Tech Data, could be the answer to the problem.  For more information, contact the IoT team on: