IoT Condition Monitoring: 4 awesome solutions

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The Internet of Things – IoT for short – emerged as a buzzword in 2015 (at the latest), subsequently becoming increasingly popular (and – admittedly – some people can’t hear it anymore). However, the core behind the term is a functioning technology that is indispensable in both the private and business sectors.

Revenue on the Internet of Things market will amount to around €1,177 million in the current year 2022. Revenue is now even expected to show an annual growth rate of over 9% between 2022 and 2027, resulting in a projected market volume of nearly €1,900 million in 2027. In many branches of the economy, IoT will unfold its disruptive character in the coming years.

The use of IoT can make processes in production and manufacturing much more efficient. This is the very thing that another buzzword – “Industry 4.0“ – stands for. Whether it’s intelligent service models, Industry 4.0, or the Smart Office management of the future – one fact is clear: IoT is more than an exciting toy for private users, but rather a disruptive technology in our economy. With all these new IoT devices, it’s time to look at the topic of monitoring? You bet!

What does “Smart Office management“ mean exactly? The Smart Office is primarily a rapidly evolving concept based on integrating technologies into work environments to facilitate a range of tasks in the daily organization of work. The goal is to increase flexibility and productivity – and allow employees to focus on their essential tasks. Again, sensors are the basic building blocks of the Smart Office, making it possible to streamline or even automate numerous processes. Let’s focus on the environment in which we work in every day: IoT devices, which are now available inexpensively and in very good quality, can be used to describe environments in great detail.

  • How high is the CO2 concentration indoors?
  • And what about the humidity?
  • Is the heating set too high?
  • And who actually checks things like access of authorized persons to an office building as well as the sufficient lighting in stairwells?

Sensors that are often no bigger than the tip of a finger can take care of all these and other questions 24/7 and provide helpful, continuous data. Let’s call this field Condition Monitoring.

Thirdly, the topic of sustainable resource management must not be forgotten – after all, this particular area is likely to become exponentially more important in the coming years. The competitiveness of many companies is also increasingly dependent on how efficiently energy can be used in their organization. If the energy management in the company is up-to-date, potential savings can be identified at an early stage and resources can be used sustainably.

This requires monitoring software that – despite the relatively young market – demonstrates expertise and foresight, is easy and effective to use, and provides a wide range of useful functions to ensure fast and, above all, reliable energy monitoring and planning.

The basis for any resource monitoring solution is a solid and extensive database. Without this, even the best and most intelligent monitoring software cannot generate any genuine value. Among other things, this requires gateways that have many interfaces to sensors, controllers, and meters, but also sound data interfaces so that data can also reach the monitoring software. The topics of smart metering, resource management, and the responsible use of resources have become increasingly important in the field of building technology in recent years – and will continue to do so. In conclusion, let’s call this large area Resource Monitoring.

4 current solutions – more than just half-baked concepts!

Enough of the groundwork. Let’s now take a look at 4 current solutions that seem to be a solid option for IoT Monitoring in general and Condition Monitoring in particular, and which – despite the relatively new character of the IoT field – are offered by companies that simply know what they are doing – players that have already sufficiently convinced with other solutions. These 4 solutions cover most – or all – of the key topics mentioned above, including IoT Monitoring, Condition Monitoring, and Resource Monitoring. Let’s get started.

Open Source: ThingsBoard

Let’s start with an open-source solution that already contains many things users would expect from a decent Condition Monitoring tool. ThingsBoard is an open-source IoT platform for data collection, processing, visualization, and device management. This solution enables device connectivity via standard IoT protocols – MQTT, CoAP and HTTP – and supports both cloud and on-premises deployments. ThingsBoard combines high performance, scalability, and fault-tolerance, so you’ll never miss relevant data.

ThingsBoard is licensed under the Apache License 2.0, allowing users to use it in your commercial products. Besides that, ThingsBoard can also be hosted as a SaaS or PaaS solution. Of course, it must be pointed out here that open source does not necessarily guarantee cost-effectiveness – and that, among other things, subsequent expenses can arise from familiarization and more complicated training, unlike in the case of many commercial solutions.

Source: Divulgação ThingsBoard

The big boy: The Things Industries

The Things Industries is one of the biggest names in the market, offering reliable, secure, as well as scalable technology for managing data and devices. Here, The Things Stack is the brand to remember; a secure and scalable LoRaWAN network. It allows users to monitor and manage distributed devices and gateways with a sophisticated toolset and securely routes data to the application. Feature-rich LoRaWAN network stack is provided that meets all requirements and conforms to the LoRaWAN Network Reference Model.

What stands out very positively right away is that The Things Stack is designed for high availability and can be deployed in several ways: fully hosted by The Things Industries on dedicated infrastructure, installed on-premises, or in a private cloud. The pay-as-you-go model is also fantastic – charges are based on the number of end devices and are therefore easy to plan and always transparent. We find this very positive trend in terms of costs also at a competitor below. The Things Stack supports all LoRaWAN versions as published by the LoRa Alliance, as well as the global LoRa 2.4 GHz frequency plan. So all in all, it is a superior tool, albeit very complex and probably interesting only for users who already have some experience in the IoT and know what they are doing.

Source: Divulgação The Things Industries

Actually great for IT monitoring: Paessler PRTG Network Monitor

Here we would like to tell you a short story – that’s why we have included Paessler PRTG Network Monitor in this list. IT monitoring from Paessler is truly impressive and actually has been since 1997. Meanwhile, the software selection from Paessler also includes a hosted monitoring option as well as an enterprise solution for monitoring of explicitly large IT environments. However, the basic functionality of Paessler PRTG is identical and includes the ability to analyze data from environmental sensors and present them beneficially. With PRTG, Paessler has also taken its first steps in Condition Monitoring, most recently highly relevant during the Corona pandemic in classrooms.

As already indicated in the heading, many IoT solutions are rumored to be half-baked concepts that are not yet really marketable and not sufficiently tested. Well, Paessler PRTG is the flagship answer to disprove this suspicion. Starting from this solution, Paessler designed a specialized IoT solution – more on that in a moment – but Paessler PRTG can already solve more than 80% of all common Condition Monitoring challenges.

Paessler PRTG’s strengths include flexible alerting, proven yet remarkably up-to-date maps and dashboards, multiple user interfaces, and in-depth reporting that will put a smile on any number’s analyst’s face. In addition, users can test Paessler PRTG free of charge for 30 days in full functionality to convince themselves of its capabilities in the upcoming Condition Monitoring project.

Source: Divulgação Paessler

Paessler Building Monitor

The Paessler Building Monitor is a completely new Condition Monitoring solution from Paessler that can be individually adapted to different challenges and requirements. Standardized use cases covered by Paessler Building Monitor include air quality, smoke and gas detection, indoor climate, heating cycle, mold prevention, lighting, and more. With an easy-to-use wizard, IoT devices can be quickly connected to Paessler Building Monitor. Preconfigured use case templates provide genuine value and deliver meaningful insights. Users can build on predefined thresholds to set alarms and notifications, so users always know the current state of your buildings and safeguard the value of your assets. It’s also a snap to export data into ingenious reports for further processing.

It’s the combination that makes it. You can tell that Paessler Building Monitor is manufactured by an IT monitoring company that has been convincing customers since 1997. Attention to detail, obvious expertise, and the courage to try something new all come together here – for the vast majority of IoT projects, Paessler Building Monitor should therefore be the number one tool on this list.

Source: Divulgação Paessler

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