One-time measurements have been our only option in many domains. They offer accuracy and are expensive. But why keep taking snapshots to explain entire situations when innovation and technology now enable us to measure and monitor things and people remotely and in real time?
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers a comprehensive understanding of complex systems, timely issue detection, and data-driven decision-making through real-time measurements.
Reshaping our approach to measurement and monitoring
One-Time Measurements vs. Real-Time Measurements with IoT
The perceived benefit of simplicity fades when we consider the following disadvantages associated with relying solely on one-time measurements:
- Incomplete understanding and limited insight: One-time measurements are snapshots of specific moments that fail to capture complexity. They limit our understanding, provide incomplete information, and can lead to incorrect conclusions.
- Limited accuracy: Static measurements do not represent the true behavior or performance of a system as they fail to capture variations and fluctuations. In that sense, there is a high probability of missing anomalies or intermittent changes.
- Reactive approach: One-time measurements are reactive in nature, which limits our ability to proactively address issues or anticipate them.
- Missed trends: Certain issues may not manifest themselves during the moment of measurement but can be easily detected when undertaking continuous monitoring.
Embracing real-time measurements with IoT addresses all the above-mentioned disadvantages and provides more granular data for a more comprehensive, accurate and proactive approach.
Benefits of Real-Time measurements
There are several benefits of using IoT to measure physical objects (“things”), systems or people in real time:
- Comprehensive insights: A continuous stream of data can capture fluctuations, patterns, and trends over time. It offers a holistic and dynamic view of complex systems, thus allowing for a more accurate assessment.
- Proactive interventions: One of the main advantages of real-time measurements is that it allows you to detect issues and anomalies promptly to take effective action, for which trigger alerts and notifications can be set up.
- Improved efficiency: Fine-grained data from real-time measurements help identify inefficiencies and areas of improvement, thus providing unparalleled opportunities to optimize processes.
- Data-driven decision-making: By analyzing real-time data patterns can be found and informed decisions can be made to respond to circumstances and capitalize on opportunities.
Analyzing Data: Machines can do it better
By continuously measuring, sets of measurement data are collected. Extracting valuable information from this data can be left to machines – they are better at it than we are. In fact, in many instances machines can extract information that is more accurate and more actionable from data that results from continuous measuring, than from measurements that are taken only once in a while. That is true even if the measurements themselves are collected from sensors that are less accurate than the technology used for one-time measurements.
One such example of the power of continuous measuring can be found in elevators maintenance. Due to regulations, elevators need to be checked periodically. However, a maintenance company decided to install simple sensors in each elevator to gather real-time measurements of key parameters like vibration of speed of doors. With the real-time data, the company:
- Improved the operational reliability of the elevators.
- Reduced the number of unscheduled outages.
- Lowered maintenance costs.
- Started undertaking predictive maintenance and working more efficiently.
And, on top of that, the company got actionable information on use patterns that allowed them to predict the elevator’s performance and ended up being useful during the development of the next generation of elevators.
Examples of real-time measurements with IoT
With its real-time and remote monitoring and measuring capabilities, IoT has emerged as a transformative technology with the ability to address many of the complex challenges we face across various sectors. Here are a few examples:
- Enhancing efficiency in healthcare: IoT wearable devices are revolutionizing healthcare by enabling healthcare providers to track patients’ vital signs and health conditions remotely and in real time. Monitoring a patient from the comfort of their home after a surgical operation or monitoring someone’s heart remotely and in real time are two examples. Getting more granular data reduces readmissions, enhances personalized care, and improves overall patient outcomes.
- Transforming Environmental Sustainability: Environmental challenges require continuous measuring and monitoring to allow us to make data-driven decisions on time. IoT-enabled environmental monitoring systems currently provide real-time insights into air and water quality, resource consumption, and nitrogen emissions in farms. About the latter, IoT-enabled monitoring systems are replacing costly periodic ammonia concentration measurements with continuous measurements that allow a better analysis and interventions.
- Increasing Industrial Safety: Industries have benefited immensely from IoT’s real-time and remote monitoring capabilities (think about monitoring machines and predicting maintenance to avoid downtime). Additionally, IoT-enabled wearable devices are now being used, for example, to increase the safety of workers by preventing heat-stress and related injuries.
- Enabling Smarter Urban Planning: As the world becomes more urbanized, cities face numerous challenges related to infrastructure, mobility and resource management. Take, for example, electricity grid challenges. Real-time data gathered through IoT can improve energy efficiency by providing city planners with granular and up-to-the-minute information about energy use and production of distributed systems (e.g., houses with solar installations) to make informed decisions.
Real-time measurements are increasingly indispensable in addressing the dynamic and multifaceted challenges of our world. IoT’s ability to offer real-time and remote monitoring is thus evidently impacting several sectors. By leveraging IoT’s monitoring capabilities, we can navigate complex problems, enhance quality of life, and build a more sustainable and interconnected future.
With over 15 years of experience, EVALAN is the leading IoT solutions provider. Recognized among the 100 most innovative enterprises in the Netherlands and present in over 50 countries, we help clients to solve challenges and make data-driven decisions allowing them to improve efficiency, save costs and achieve sustainability goals.
For More Information
Your process, machine, building or operation may benefit from continuous monitoring as well. Real-time measurements can supplement the information you are already collecting and decrease your costs by replacing some of those costly one-time measurements.
If you want to know more, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or book a meeting with us here.