With wireless sensor solutions, small to mid-sized companies can keep track of their equipment and assets at all times, from virtually anywhere.
Depending on the business it may be machinery, construction equipment, inventory, or perishable goods that are of greatest concern. But whatever the important asset may be, a combination of easily installed IoT sensors, cellular communications gear, and an online monitoring portal can ensure a constant flow of information that enables a company to take rapid action when needed to proactively protect and manage its equipment and assets.
There are many ways IoT sensor solutions can be valuable. For instance:
Efficient operations. Always-on monitoring can help you keep equipment running at optimal efficiency at all times, as well as provide vital information about how that equipment is operating based on metrics such as time of operation, on-off cycles, and energy consumption.
Reduced disruption. When you can identify equipment issues before a breakdown, it reduces the disruption of unanticipated downtimes and equipment replacement. Sensor-enabled proactive monitoring alerts you to potential issues, helps isolate problems, and expedites repairs that can reduce costs and prolong asset life.
Threat mitigation. With IoT sensor-provided data, you are better equipped to deal with threats to your equipment. Such threats could involve water intrusion, temperature fluctuations, blown fuses, high humidity levels, or power loss.
Improved security. IoT sensor solutions – motion detectors, asset activity detections, or door or window monitors, for example – can alert you immediately to intrusions and unauthorized access.
Reduced costs. With monitoring of critical equipment and operations, you can optimize the performance of that equipment and the power it consumes, saving money on repair costs and ongoing energy usage.
Data advantages. Sensor solutions can provide you with near-real-time valuable data about your sensor-equipped assets, along with the information you need to optimize performance and maintenance.
Small to mid-sized businesses in virtually any industry can take advantage of what sensor solutions can provide. Here are some examples of the real-world value of these IoT sensor solutions:
Let’s start with retail. As physical stores strive to compete with online shopping, they need to be as efficient as possible in terms of handling customer traffic and presenting the types of products that catch shoppers’ attention.
Increasing numbers of businesses are using IoT sensors and smart video analytics to track how customers move throughout the store. By seeing where customers go – or don’t go – a store can optimize its layout and display key products where they will do the most good.
By using sensor solutions on products or weight sensors on shelves, a store can tell if a product is running low. Similarly, a store could deploy robotic equipment to travel throughout the store, scanning each aisle and alerting staff to any items that are running low or which have been misplaced.
To help market goods to on-premises customers, stores could also deploy IoT sensors that serve as beacons so when a customer is in a certain area a notification could be sent to the customer’s phone, alerting them to special deals on that aisle or nearby.
Restaurants, manufacturing, fleets, and more
Another key area for sensor solutions is in restaurant and food service operations. With food quality and freshness critical to the success of these businesses, food must be kept at the proper temperatures constantly to maintain quality as well as to comply with local and state regulations.
These operations consequently spend a lot of time checking and recording temperatures throughout the workday, but can be vulnerable at night. Nothing is worse than opening up in the morning to find that a refrigeration unit stopped working and its contents are unusable.
Sensor solutions for these units can feed information to any smartphone, PC, tablet, or laptop, and provide temperature data at regular intervals throughout the day or night. With this automated approach, employees are freed from constant temperature checking for more productive work.
For small to mid-sized manufacturers, IoT sensors can boost production efficiencies by integrating the data they provide with industrial control systems. That enables these companies to more efficiently maintain their equipment, relying on sensors to alert them to issues immediately and allow faster problem resolution.
By further linking data to artificial intelligence and machine learning systems, manufacturers can forecast future equipment performance and even perform autonomous maintenance and repair for some problems. This reduces downtime, always a major cost concern for manufacturers.
Fleet operators can leverage IoT sensors to track and monitor vehicles, monitor how fast they’re going, compare scheduled and actual arrival times, and determine the need for preventive maintenance.
A distribution or fulfillment center can use connected sensor-equipped robots and drones to take inventory and map it to exact locations. Or deploy sensors on equipment such as forklifts, so they can help detect the location of equipment or people, “seeing” around corners and keeping the workplace safer.
And then there is the oil and gas industry, where IoT sensors in drilling and other equipment can alert companies to the earliest indications that a piece of equipment might be failing. This makes maintenance proactive rather than reactive. For remote equipment, sensor solutions can provide similar data on equipment health so a company can move to conditions-based, rather than time-based, maintenance and eliminate unnecessary trips by field technicians.
Even smaller organizations can’t possibly monitor everything manually. And without proper monitoring, assets can be at risk, causing downtime, added costs, and administrative headaches. That’s why more and more small to mid-sized businesses are recognizing the value of sensor solutions to keep them on top of all of their business operations.