Fundamentally, remote monitoring is the ability to gain insight into machine and or equipment health status, performance, and behavior patterns. Accomplished through a combination of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and cloud based computing. All of this achieved from a considerable distance, hence the “remote”.

So how does it work?

Traditionally, remote monitoring involved equipment and or machine data being captured on a continuous basis. However, the reviewing of the data would be done so manually and incrementally. Usually the frequency in which status and performance data would be reviewed would depend on the age and the projected durability, as well as the cost of the asset too. Impact resulting from downtime would also require consideration too. Maintenance operators and service technicians may wish to review data and perform checks and inspections, this off of what the analytics are showing.

To contrast this, remote monitoring today, mainly relies on 3 key aspects: Connectivity (in most cases) in order to capture data, a place to process as well as store the data, and mechanisms for alerting, notifying and presenting data in a way that it can be actioned.

The process of remote monitoring will start with sensors that are attached to the equipment or machinery and that will then relay a consistent stream of the required performance data. Remote monitoring technology can even be easily inserted into newly assembled equipment and machinery if required.

For older mechanisms, the technology can easily be added onto the existing structures too. When dealing with new the collection of data from various sites this will always include industrial connectivity and will be best approached by having a plethora of different devices as well as a platform that is built to accommodate any type of premises, regardless of how complex or unique the environment may be.

The following step will involve the processing of and storage of data. In most cases the data will be sent directly to the cloud based platform but if required, data can also be processed then and there, and in turn enable the transmission of data that can be actioned within the cloud based platform. From there, the IIoT platform will take custody of the data, allowing its use for analysis and logging reports or for other remote monitoring analytical applications.

Delivery of actionable data is also crucial, and this will often involve dashboards, applications or mobile alerts and notifications. The exact form of this actionable data will almost always be determined by the type of role the remote monitoring has been programmed to undertake, or the type of equipment and machinery being monitored. The common theme being that the monitoring applications are delivering actionable data in live real-time form.

Remote monitoring solutions that have been built on the leading applications will in most cases lead to greater understanding and greater intelligent insight.

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Revolutionizing the industrial workplace.

Remote monitoring is undoubtedly here to stay, and with the recent COVID-19 pandemic we saw a glimpse into the future in terms of how a lot of workplaces will look and how they can be positively impacted with the right innovation and thought processes.

Being able to have remote observation, control, access and alerts, is an immensely powerful tool in the right hands.

The ability to proactively learn of potential early hazards for equipment, or machine failure gives operators a huge advantage in the prevention of potentially costly unplanned downtime, and the associated costs of breakdowns and maintenance callouts.

How can site managers use Remote monitoring to monitor health of equipment and machinery?

Remote Monitoring when particularly monitoring the condition of equipment and machinery, can be amazingly effective. This done with high tech sensors that can be placed inside LV Distribution boards and also mounted precisely onto machinery and or equipment, monitoring performance and health of the machinery in question. Simultaneously distributing and transmitting all of the relevant information like machine health and performance data to the secure online cloud based portal, on a 24/7 basis.

Transmitted information can then be used to assess and learn about how machines and equipment are performing on a regular basis, including life span of battery and heat levels etc, getting clear notifications on any irregularities or early warnings on overheating equipment.

For site maintenance managers this type of remote condition monitoring is perfect, as in most cases the monitoring and management systems can be installed and set up to function independently with little to no input needed from any onsite human personnel.

Main benefits

More streamlined, efficient processes

Productivity can be greatly increased with the right implementation of remote monitoring and management services. Drawn out tasks such as data collection and collation can often be a thorn in a company’s side, with human error rampant.

Remote monitoring systems will handle some of these sometimes aggravating tasks for you, easily and seamlessly, doing the work that would require a whole fleet of human operators in much more efficient and error free fashion. Allowing overall operations to function at a higher quality and at a much faster rate.

Greater pro activity meaning reduction on reactive maintenance

One of the most impactful benefits of remote monitoring for equipment and machinery is that of the proactive advantages that it offers. Especially when compared to older less sophisticated machine and equipment monitoring systems, remote monitoring is on another level.

With 24/7 surveillance of equipment and machinery being just one example of the available technology that can have huge positive impacts on any site. Older monitoring tech may only discover and correct some machinery failures when doing a total shutdown of systems. Whereas data driven remote monitoring systems will predict not just impending system failure, but also any possible future system failures too, before they ensue. This will facilitate a whole new proactive approach to machine and equipment maintenance. Coupled in with alerts that can be arranged to be sent in any form of notifications to almost any device, thus allowing an operator to intervene before equipment failure can occur.

Quick return on investment

With the integration of remote continuous and proactive monitoring systems for machinery and equipment, the overall cost of purchase can be reduced significantly. With a quick return on investment and installation costs that can be realised, this as the maintenance will be lessened and lifespan of equipment and machinery will be increased.

Downtime diminished

A big problem for almost all businesses regardless of their trade is downtime and the costly impact that unplanned downtime in particular, can have. Downtime can come in many forms but reducing the downtime on machinery and equipment will be huge when looking to counter potential negatives. Negatives such as the need for reactive maintenance for unplanned machine or equipment breakdowns, loss of revenue due to functionality being impeded, and lastly company morale with employees not being able to be as productive as they’d like to.

With proactive initiatives like remote monitoring of equipment and machinery, operators will be able to consistently understand and gain insight into how a system is performing from the very first instance of installation. With real time data reporting and automated re-calibrations as well as meticulous manual maintenance being enabled to operate far more effectively off the back of this. Massively reducing and, in some cases, completely cutting out any unplanned downtime.

Valuable Performance Insights

The use of remote monitoring software allows operators to gain extremely valuable insight into how well their equipment and machinery is performing. Data obtained by monitoring software can be reproduced and redistributed electronically as graphical details that will display equipment performance over any given time period. Minute by minute, hour by hour, or more strung out periods if required, with weekly, monthly, or yearly representations of equipment performance.

All this data can then be used to streamline any important decision making, therefore improving the overall production process.

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Hospitals in Ireland are being helped by the technological advantages of remote monitoring. Due to the high level of contagiousness that the COVID-19 virus has, the “paitentMpower” helps provide a suitable and innovative hospital avoidance solution.

The digital health firm developed a remote monitoring solution on behalf of the Irish HSE. The technology enables the monitoring of patients that are displaying mild or moderate symptoms of the virus and that are self-isolating.

The remote monitoring technology is already actively being used in hospitals, with more than 50 patients being monitored for the virus. The COVID-19 patient app works by linking to a wireless pulse oximeter device, this measures a patients’ oxygen saturation, a key indication for respiratory issues. Patients are also using the app to record their level of breathlessness, as well as temperatures and any other symptoms that they are experiencing.

The Information that is captured then becomes immediately available for health service staff to view in a secure portal, from here they can take the appropriate actions and decisions about care.

In addition to this, the tech company are also offering a separate "hospital avoidance" remote monitoring platform, devised to help Irish healthcare organisations provide care to patients that have underlying respiratory conditions, and because of this, are at high risk of having complications if they were to contract the virus.