The industrial IoT market is a rapidly growing industry, further propelled by the newfound challenges and needs of businesses that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented. With a crowded IoT market there are countless IoT data logging solutions now available, but how do you know which is best suited to your business and use case? In this article, we discuss key factors to consider when selecting an industrial IoT data logging device such as device features and logging capabilities.
It’s a common assumption that all IoT devices operate with edge processing, however not all IoT devices do. In relation to IoT data loggers, edge processing is the ability to trigger actions at the edge of the network, in other words, at the device’s location. Edge processing is invaluable for triggering actions such digital output (triggering a relay switch), fast logging (high resolution data) or variable data, and sending of data (transferring stored data to the cloud).
This means that constant manual monitoring can be minimised while the device maintains key processes at the edge of the network.
Targeted Measurements & Fast Logging
All IoT data logging devices are capable of logging data reliably and accurately. However, many IoT data logging devices lack the flexibility of accessing granular measurement data and doing so only at the times this granular data is needed to be logged.
A rural local government organisation would like to monitor local creeks and rivers over a two-year period to understand how often the waterways rise above bridges and crossings, by how much the waterways rise, and for how long the level remains above the crossing. This information will assist in prioritising infrastructure upgrades and budget forecasting. The Council deploys a basic data logger in select waterways across the region. The basic data logger allows for one configuration setting only – log and send four times a day (6am, 12pm, 6pm, 12am).
The issue with a set configuration such as this, is it only allows the Council to monitor water level at the connection times. It does not consider that the water level may rise and decrease rapidly in between those times, perhaps more than once.
However, an IoT data logger with targeted measurement capability and edge processing means that a threshold event can trigger fast logging. This means once the river reaches a certain level, a more advanced IoT data logger can log and send more frequently, providing a more detailed report of the waterway levels.
The other benefit to this, is payload reduction and extended battery life. With the basic data logger, the four-times-a-day log and send requires network connection four times a day, every day, expending data and battery. Whereas a more advanced data logger can log and send once a day only unless there is a high-water level event. This means saving significant data costs and battery life during periods with no high-water level events.
If your use case calls for positioning data, you will also need to consider a device with GPS capability. While many assume GPS is a standard feature of any IoT or cellular device, this is not accurate. A recommendation is to assess the needs of your use case; are you monitoring mobile assets? Do you require the added security of knowing where your device is at all times?
IP Rating is another important factor to consider dependent on your use case. For most indoor monitoring projects an IP65 rating is sufficient. However, if your use case requires your devices to be installed outdoors amid the elements, an IP66 or IP67 rating will be required. Moreover, if your device is likely to be submersed in water, then an IP68 rating would be required.
IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, are defined international standards that are used to define sealing levels of electrical enclosures.
You’ve deployed a large fleet of devices. It’s now time to manage your devices, and access, monitor, and store your data. But what if your chosen IoT data loggers are not suitably equipped for platform integration? Consider obtaining an end-to-end IoT solution rather than a stand-alone data logger. This means exploring solutions that include a device management platform – one centralised, integrated platform that will allow you to register, configure, manage, and visualise all of your data. When assessing the platform itself, be sure to look for built-in API functionality which will make for simple and secure data extraction and easy integration with data analytics platforms such as Microsoft’s Power BI.
A recent global business survey across multiple industries found that 84% of respondents indicated their business had accelerated, or intended to accelerate, the adoption of IoT within their business operations in response to challenges related to Covid-19.
If you’ve identified a challenge within your business that you think could be solved by implementing an industrial IoT data logger, it almost certainly can. However, be sure to consider all the above factors amid your search for the right solution.
Set goals for your IoT monitoring project before you commence your search to help narrow your options around device functionality and scalability. Lastly, and most importantly, speak to experts in the field, ask for case studies, and assess the tangible ROI of each solution.
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