IoT remote monitoring: how it works, applications, and benefits

Learn how IoT remote monitoring helps businesses keep a pulse on facilities and assets.
Maggie Murphy
May 7, 2022
man monitoring equipment remotely using iot technology

When people think of IoT technology, the word ‘smart’ often comes to mind. But what makes an IoT solution smart? We can answer this question by looking at IoT remote monitoring as one example of intelligent, connected technology. IoT monitoring gives businesses crucial insight by automatically collecting performance data, analyzing it in the cloud, and illuminating opportunities for improvement. The use cases for IoT remote monitoring span everything from a task as granular as detecting volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that could cause poor air quality, to demonstrating whether the company is meeting its strategic sustainability goals. Here’s how IoT remote monitoring works, how businesses are using it, and the benefits this smart technology offers.

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How IoT remote monitoring works

IoT remote monitoring gives businesses the tools they need to understand the condition of important assets or processes and steadily improve them. By placing IoT sensors on or in specific pieces of equipment or their components and configuring those sensors to transmit precise data back to a cloud-based IoT monitoring solution, companies can continuously collect the information needed to analyze performance on a micro or macro level.

IoT remote monitoring uses

Businesses are using IoT remote monitoring to improve their operations in a wide range of areas. Here are just a few of the most popular examples:

  • Industrial and manufacturing companies are leveraging the monitoring capabilities of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to increase factory efficiency and perform predictive maintenance
  • Logistics and shipping businesses are using IoT remote monitoring to improve fuel efficiency, proactively troubleshoot vehicle problems, and improve regulatory compliance.
  • Healthcare organizations are using IoT asset tracking to keep inventory up to date and quickly locate medical devices that have gone missing.
  • Businesses in multiple sectors are using smart building technology to cut energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits of IoT remote monitoring

Companies can use IoT monitoring to improve their operations in several ways, whether improving their response time on customer support calls or more effectively allocating their limited office space. IoT monitoring enables them to maximize efficiency, cut costs, enhance customer satisfaction, and become more agile.

Improve sustainability and efficiency

IoT remote monitoring can help businesses improve their sustainability and efficiency. For example, by remotely collecting data associated with the performance of Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) units within a facility, a company can keep its HVACs running at precisely the ideal levels based on office occupancy. Not only does this practice save on energy costs, but it also prevents HVAC units from breaking down or requiring replacements ahead of schedule.

Companies can also use IoT remote monitoring to understand overall trends in their energy consumption and confirm whether their energy reduction strategies are generating the intended outcomes. Once these businesses have concrete analytics on their energy reduction results, they can correlate those data points to environmental impact metrics such as carbon offset and air pollution reduction.

Analyze equipment performance

Businesses can use IoT remote monitoring to collect and analyze data on how well their equipment is performing and conduct predictive maintenance. This capability is especially critical in a factory setting, where an equipment failure can halt production altogether. An IoT monitoring solution can monitor and evaluate specific characteristics like vibration, motor current, or temperature fluctuations and then flag potential issues before they cause an equipment failure. With IoT-enabled insight, companies can improve production uptime and reduce the cost of staff time spent on unnecessary maintenance tasks.

Personalize spaces to improve occupant wellbeing

As anyone who has worked in an office knows, not everyone feels comfortable at the same temperature. Some people do their best work in slightly warmer environments, while others focus better in cooler conditions. Poor air quality can lead to problems like sick building syndrome (SBS), which can make staff unwell. In our pandemic era, poor ventilation may even raise understandable concerns about the risk of contracting COVID-19, causing some employees to feel uncomfortable about returning to the office. Yet, facilities managers find it difficult to properly troubleshoot these kinds of issues based on employee feedback alone. To truly resolve these complex problems, they need accurate environmental data.

Facilities managers can use IoT monitoring to remotely monitor and adjust key settings like temperature, humidity, air quality, and ventilation in their spaces, personalizing conditions for people in individual rooms or improving environmental settings across an entire workspace when required. Businesses can quickly improve the health and well-being of everyone working in their spaces without having to guess or make a time-consuming site visit to manually adjust the settings for each space. This way, they can increase productivity and boost staff retention.

Recommended reading: The future of remote patient monitoring

Track field assets

IoT remote monitoring is perfectly suited to tracking assets in the field, as well. For example, as cities are increasingly looking for sustainable urban transportation solutions, some of them are deploying public e-scooters that people can use to get around their neighborhoods. IoT remote monitoring can not only help local governments keep track of where their e-scooters are located, but it can also alert them when a particular e-scooter needs service. This way, the fleets can remain in peak condition, and city residents will always have working e-scooters available when they need them.

Recommended Reading: Digital connectivity on the move: micromobility and IoT

Reduce the cost of condition-based monitoring

Companies can use IoT monitoring to understand the real-time condition of any asset in the field. This condition-based monitoring allows them to find out in advance when performance is beginning to degrade in a specific unit. For example, they can proactively issue a service call for a vehicle to have it repaired instead of waiting for a regularly scheduled maintenance interval or, worse, keeping it in service until it fails. Depending on the asset in question, the business could even remotely issue a fix before the customer is even aware that there’s a problem.

This IoT-enabled proactivity allows companies to reduce maintenance costs, improve performance, and improve customer satisfaction. Some intrepid businesses are already using CBM in tandem with digital twin technology to run virtual simulations that give them enhanced visibility into what is happening within their machines, so they can gain even greater insight into potential performance issues.

Accelerate response time

When your internet router stops working, don’t you wish that your internet service provider (ISP) had been keeping tabs on its performance before it finally conked out? IoT remote monitoring can help businesses like your ISP become more proactive, identifying issues before they become full-blown failures. They can either remotely issue a patch, with the customer blissfully unaware anything was even wrong, or proactively schedule a service call instead of waiting for the customer to report an equipment failure. In either event, companies can be far more responsive than they otherwise would be — and the customer will appreciate the timely service.

Recommended Reading: Everything you need to know about IoT smart cities

Protect inventory

IoT monitoring can even help a company protect sensitive inventory. For example, a cold storage management system equipped with IoT sensors can let a pharmaceutical company know when there are empty spaces available in a cold storage unit, alert it when a product is about to expire, or notify it when abnormal movement is detected — possibly indicating a theft. A food and beverage business could use the same technology to make sure its products stay fresh until they reach the customer. With the ability to better understand how their cold storage spaces are being used and protect the inventory within them, businesses can reduce the cost of expired products and optimize their storage processes.

Reduce repetitive, manual labor

Companies can use IoT remote monitoring to reduce the amount of manual labor associated with inspections. Rather than traveling to a site such as a factory and examining each asset by hand, for example, a technician can remotely inspect it instead. In addition, that technician will no longer have to perform manual analysis in order to gain a high-level view of the entire facility’s status — AI-enabled analytics can instantly generate this sort of insight instead.

By reducing the repetitive, manual labor associated with inspections, businesses can decrease travel costs, boost productivity, improve asset tracking and performance, and potentially even increase employee satisfaction. Additionally, since the technician will no longer have to do such rote, tedious tasks, they can apply their time toward more creative, higher-level projects that deliver even greater business impact.

Smart space allocation

If you’ve ever shown up at a conference room with your coffee and smartphone in hand only to find that the space has been double-booked, you know the frustration of having to find a backup meeting spot on short notice. IoT remote monitoring can help businesses solve this common problem, as well. Facilities managers use remote occupancy monitoring tools to understand how employees currently use shared spaces. They can use visualization tools like an occupancy heatmap, and then adjust the allocations so that no single meeting room is overbooked or underutilized.

Now that hybrid workplaces are becoming more popular, and some employees are only coming to the office part of the week, primarily to collaborate with colleagues or meet with clients, it’s more important than ever to make sure they have space to do so. Space utilization data can also help companies design spaces that better serve their employees’ needs when renovating offices or building new ones.

Recommended Reading: Eight common IoT connectivity technologies & use cases

Streamline inspections and maintenance

IoT remote monitoring helps businesses streamline inspections by automatically gathering detailed information on equipment and components. Instead of traveling out to the field to manually perform time-intensive inspections, employees can simply view detailed data on an asset or facility level. If maintenance is required, technicians can proactively service it rather than wait until a scheduled site visit. Companies facing a skills gap for qualified personnel like inspectors and technicians can benefit from this monitoring because it allows them to reduce the number of staff required to perform those tasks. It also reduces the amount of time required to train new personnel.

Gain a 360 degree view of operations

With the ability to remotely manage assets and processes across all of their factories and locations, companies can quickly create a 360-degree view of their operations and optimize their management based on KPIs. For example, many businesses keep a close eye on their overall equipment efficiency (OEE), which measures downtime, production rate, and quality. IoT remote monitoring can capture the data associated with this KPI far more easily and cost-effectively. This capability also helps businesses calculate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a crucial sustainability metric. With the ability to understand whether their energy usage reduction strategies are working across all of their spaces, companies can then calculate the resulting environmental impact and continually move the needle toward their intended goal.

Stay connected with IoT remote monitoring and Hologram

Businesses are looking for smart technologies that will help them digitally transform and become more agile. IoT remote monitoring gives them a powerful tool to do just that, providing real-time insight on how they can improve at both the micro and macro levels. With IoT sensors regularly collecting the precise data you need and analyzing it in the cloud for you, your company can gain the insights it needs in far less time and at a lower cost than it would if it had to send people out to do the job by hand. If your company wants to stay one step ahead of the competition, you’ll find that IoT monitoring is a strategic asset for achieving exactly this goal.

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