Watford Borough Council rolls out Internet of Things-powered devices


Watford Borough Council has partnered with local firm IoT Solutions Group [IoTSG] to install hundreds of Internet of Things [IoT]-powered devices in council-owned buildings across the borough.

The technology is being used to monitor the presence of the deadly Legionella bacteria, as well as the continued operation of emergency lighting, which is essential to safety during a power cut or fire. Both solutions are expected to help improve the council’s health and safety compliance processes by making them more efficient and less labour-intensive, as well as free up resources for other crucial services.

IoTSG will deliver almost 590 Legionella mitigation and emergency lighting management devices to a number of public properties in the area, including Watford Town Hall and Watford Museum, as well as other local amenities.

The Legionella mitigation solution is aimed at improving the detection process for Legionella – the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease – which commercial landlords, facility managers, and leisure and hospitality providers have a legal obligation to monitor and mitigate in their water systems.

The devices are battery-powered and work by assessing temperature and flow levels in real time, automatically raising an alert when abnormalities are detected. This reduces the need for manual checks by 75%, therefore minimising costs, improving efficiency and removing the margin of error associated with human interaction.

The emergency lighting management solution, meanwhile, enables estate and facilities managers to automate their emergency lighting function testing through the fitting of light monitoring sensors.

For building managers, continuous management of emergency lighting is a critical and mandatory part of wider fire safety management. Those that fail to comply face significant fines or even imprisonment. Using the new devices, technicians will no longer be required to make monthly building visits unless a light has failed, allowing them to focus on other duties.

The initial service contract is a multi-year agreement for both types of solutions.

Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “We’re really excited about this partnership, and to be incorporating this new technology into our essential processes as a council. Devices that can communicate to each other in this way are a big part of the future of infrastructure, and will help us immensely in improving efficiency and public safety across Watford. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this technology will take us next.”

Emma Mahy, chief executive and co-founder of IoTSG, said: “We are delighted to be working with Watford Borough Council to roll out our Legionella mitigation and emergency lighting management solutions. The partnership will help the council improve the efficiency of health and safety management processes and allow the diversion of valuable resources to be used more effectively in other areas.

“The potential applications of IoT technology for enhancing public services are seemingly limitless, and deployments with other councils have garnered strong results.

“I would therefore encourage local authorities like Watford Borough Council to discover the benefits that using IoT could bring to them and the communities that they serve.”

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