The four biggest challenges to consider when investing in scalable smart sensor technology
Choosing the right scalable smart sensor system for your business is not an easy decision and it can be difficult to know where to start when navigating the array of options available.
The benefits of getting it right are huge – from financial efficiencies to a reduced impact on the environment, and even an increase in staff wellbeing – but making the wrong decision can be costly, hitting your reputation as well as your profits.
Whether you’re looking to introduce sensors for energy management, environmental or occupancy monitoring, there are a number of important issues to consider before choosing a supplier.
Quality, scalability, security and the ability to roll something out nationally and internationally are all important factors.
Here we take a look at these challenges in more detail and show you how to get your smart sensor system right first time:
Ensure you choose a high-quality product
Quality is key when installing systems on a national or international scale. If things don’t work properly the impacts could be far-reaching, costing far more than the savings made from buying something cheaper initially.
As well as the financial impact there are also issues around credibility and reputational damage. If desk occupancy sensors don’t work properly and people constantly find themselves turning up to meetings in double-booked rooms they’ll simply stop using the systems put in place.
Another key factor is staff wellbeing. If temperature, humidity or air quality data is not reported and recorded accurately this could not only make working in certain areas uncomfortable but have serious implications for the health of workers.
The best way to have confidence in the quality of the goods you are buying is to look for an international standard like ISO. Companies that have ISO 9001 accreditation have strict quality management processes in place to ensure they are producing goods of a high standard. ISO 14001 ensures companies are taking their environmental responsibilities seriously.
Take security and compliance seriously
It goes without saying that you want your smart sensor solution to be safe. Look for fire retardant plastics and an internationally-recognised safety standard. Local standards may not be enough as what’s deemed safe in one country may not be up to standard in another.
European fire regulations are generally much stricter than those in the UK. Make sure the solution you are implementing will meet standards across all the regions you intend to use it.
The security of your information is also key. IoT systems constantly collect, exchange and process vast amounts of data. Make sure any system you implement uses a secure encryption to keep this information safe.
Find a global fit
Interoperability is crucial. If you are a large company with different divisions around the world you need a solution that can work across different regions, whose component parts can speak to each other seamlessly.
When deciding what to invest in make sure you consider all parts of the business and how they might use the solution rather than allowing different divisions to implement their own – something which could become costly down the line if purchasing decisions are not aligned.
Be aware that not all solutions will talk to one another, some require all components to be made by the same manufacturer which can reduce flexibility. Look for systems that are manufacturer agnostic and use the most common protocols, such as MQTT, to ensure they can interact with existing or future systems. Some technology is also built ready to easily connect to cloud platforms you may already be using like Microsoft Azure and IBM Watson.
Make sure your supplier has scalability
Any solution you install needs to be future proof so it’s important to ensure the manufacturer or supplier you use can adapt quickly to meet new demand and is used to processing high volumes.
Make sure the system you go for can be added to easily and that additional equipment can be purchased quickly and easily with no delay. It’s also a good idea to check whether new functionalities can be added to your solution without disrupting the existing system.
Taking these simple steps can make the difference between having a smart sensor solution fit for the future and one that needs replacing in five years’ time. If you’re looking for a partner who understands technology – and offers reliable, cost-effective solutions in high volumes – get in touch.