SENTINAL – Transparency in ducts

An energy self-sufficient drainage monitoring system for critical event detection

Heavy rain alarm systems

Rapid flooding of drainage systems is a well-known but hard to predict consequence of heavy rain that occurs in many climates around the world, yet there are hardly any possibilities for planning offices and municipal civil engineering departments to evaluate how their sewer system works. Furthermore, there are not yet any comprehensive early warning systems on the market to warn of the dangers.

The resulting high flow rate and pressure in the duct system can lead to considerable damage to the substance or even worse to detached manhole covers which pose a danger to pedestrians and traffic participants and can lead to Injuries and even fatal accidents. The tremendous suction of the backflowing water during heavy rain events also can pose serious danger.


Sentinum’s holistic sensor system allows to generate an accurate picture of the events in the canal and damage to infrastructure and people can be prevented. By recording the water level, flow rate and pressure, conclusions can be drawn in real time about events in the drainage system. The positions of manhole covers are instantly detected and warnings are transmitted to the relevant authorities, by voice call, SMS or e-mail.

Additional, data is continuously recorded over many years and processed to provide information about changes and anomalies. This opens up a completely new perspective on the planning phase, implementation and, above all, maintenance of the sewer systems.

Smart manhole monitoring

Together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Component Technology IISB as a cascade funding partner, ST Microelectronics as a platform partner and Spekter GmbH as the first pilot customer, a wireless system is being created to monitor the status of sewage systems.
The overarching overall system consisting of wireless sensors, cloud infrastructure and an intuitive web application is intended to warn municipalities of the hard-to-predict consequences of heavy rain in sewers and protect citizens from the dangers that arise.

• The sensor is completely energy self-sufficient and wireless.
• The communication uses the latest LPWAN technologies.
• All data is stored by SENTINUM cloud services and visualized for the customers.
• SENTINUM holistic sensor system allows to generate an accurate picture of the events in the canal and damage to infrastructure and people can be prevented. By recording the water level, flow rate and pressure, conclusions can be drawn in real time about events in the drainage system.
• SENTINUM sensor also records the position of the manhole cover and the presence of harmful gases such as H2S to protect people in the vicinity.

The products will be available after the certification phase is completed early 2021.

FED4SAE support and opportunity

In Sentinal, the Sentinum flood protection product range has been expanded. In the implementation of the product, Sentinum benefited especially from the support provided by the partners via FED4SAE.
The STM32 platform offers a reliable and high-performance hardware basis for Sentinum sensors. In addition to the MCUs, Sentinum also relied on other electronic components from ST Microelectronics in order to meet the high quality standards for their products.
The firmware was developed using the tools available from ST and also Sentinum’s specially developed operating system Sentos, a platform-independent applicationoriented framework, for embedded software development.
These housings and specified adhesive for sealing and mounting of the sensor units were tested under corrosive atmosphere in the testbed at Fraunhofer IISB to simulate the harmful atmosphere under realistic conditions. Being able to fall back on such practical tests during product development accelerates time-to-market extremely and increases the quality of our final product.
In addition to the technical expertise, business expertise has been provided, especially on the place in the value chain when the IoT product is launched on the market and efficient design-to-cost strategies. With the constructive suggestions, Sentinum were able to sharpen their profile again and hope to be able to set new impulses with an innovative product in the future.



Sentinum offers IoT solutions for municipalities and companies, from the development of the sensors to the implementation of intelligent web services for end users. The company has specialized in energy self-sufficient and wireless sensors based on energy-efficient LPWAN communication technologies and offer scalable and inexpensive products.


  • Finished product development and first test customers
  • Extended tests together with THW and Spekter
  • Internationalizaiton of smart waterproduct line
  • First sold sensors ans strong increasing orders
  • Growing sales infrastructure with strong paterns

Supported by

Authors and Contributors: Fraunhofer, Digital Catapult, Sentinum

All images © Sentinum

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 761708