The Internet of things (IoT) offers many great opportunities in regards to how we manage our environment, but as with all things ICT, it can be as much of a challenge as a reward. The trick will be in establishing how little ICT is needed in order to get the greatest return.
The IoT can provide us with 2 key streams of information; what the thing is doing and the status of the thing. A lot of attention has been focussed on what the thing is doing or saying, with significant cloud and data resources pointed in this direction. Far less attention has been paid to the device itself, but unless it is healthy, all of the observational data is worthless.
Unfortunately many of the maintenance solutions that check on the health of devices and sensors are far from the Brave New World, relying on very traditional inspections or a stream of pings. This approach is fundamentally non-scalable.
What is needed are lighter-weight solutions that intelligently rely on the data that the device is creating thereby avoiding the creation of a whole new monitoring data stream. For our clients, we provide tools to monitor the sensor data and spot variances that indicate a potential fault before auto-alerting the relevant maintenance organisations. For instance, if 6 temperature sensors exist on a runway and one consistently records wildly different temperatures to the others, it clearly needs a service. If all recordings are within an acceptable variance, then we can trust the data and devices.
It’s a very simple approach but it is effective, scalable and removes the need for a whole surveillance infrastructure. This might not be the right approach in all circumstances, but surely this is the first option to look at.