Data Loggers: A Closer Look

Technology is advancing at a rapid rate, and legacy tech can end up holding a company back when it comes to innovation. One form this legacy tech takes is that of data loggers. Data loggers were once exciting and innovative technology, but as time has gone on, much of the old data logging technology has become obsolete and even a hindrance to modern businesses.

What Are Data Loggers?

Simply put, data loggers are physical devices that measure resource usage in a building or a specific site, and they can take many forms. Applications for data loggers can be highly technical, monitoring smart building data or even multi-channel input across an entire vehicle. Data loggers can serve many purposes, but the general application of the technology is so that a company can find out where they are expending too many resources or where they could save money.

Disadvantages of Data Loggers

Technology is evolving at a rapid rate. The rise of cell phones, laptop computers and an interconnected world have made tethered devices obsolete and inconvenient to install or upgrade. Data loggers fit into the “tethered” category. Generally, data loggers are hooked directly into utilities, and as such cannot be moved or modified without great effort. Data loggers can also have other considerable limitations:

Data Limitations

Technology can only be as efficient as the era permits, and most data loggers are considered legacy tech. This can result in data bottlenecks to analytics engines. Analytics are most powerful when there are large quantities of data are constantly and consistently feeding the engine. If access to collected data is captive within the devices and dependent on storage, analytics are limited to old data that needs to be downloaded in-person after the fact. This limits the accuracy and applicability of  systems to a specific period of time and lacks a comprehensive point of view.

Use Proprietary Tech

Many data loggers are proprietary technology, which can make them inconvenient to manage. Many data loggers will require servicing directly from the manufacturer in the case of malfunction. Not only that, but many data loggers also require personnel to come to the site in-person and extract the data from the device so it can be interpreted. Some data loggers even use proprietary radio technology to transmit data, locking future services into a specific brand.

Not Time-Efficient

The above factors all lend themselves to this final flaw of data loggers: They are not time-efficient. Malfunctions and data interpretations can be costly, in terms of both time and money. Most data loggers are also incapable of displaying data in real time, another considerable limitation. Requiring special services and being limited by old tech can make these devices even more inefficient than previously thought.

IoT: The Solution to Data Loggers

IoT (Internet of Things) is a system of interconnected devices that are able to transmit data to one-another via wired or wireless connection. Analysts agree that IoT is expected to grow tremendously over the next decade and it will impact every industry. According to Gartner, “43% of organizations are using or plan to implement IoT this year”. This indicates that many companies are starting to understand the benefits and importance of IoT, and are making positive steps forward to adopt the technology. Fleet management, oil, utilities, gas, and manufacturing are a few early industry adopters that are using modern IoT technologies to enhance their operational infrastructure to focus on cost savings, enhanced utilization of assets and overall efficiencies. Due to the potential benefit of IoT technologies in energy efficiency and conservation, government and municipalities in major cities are also starting to request that their vendors and service providers take advantage of connected devices by connecting smart meter and building management systems. Through connecting inexpensive sensors that provide data from many sources in one connected system, building managers can track real-time energy or water usage by visualizing the data in a dashboard.

By simply seeing the usage data in real time and comparing it month over month, utility costs can go down 4-12%. These IoT technologies can provide over the air, automated control of the building management system components and other systems that are not connected to the building management systems, turning those buildings into smarter, more efficient buildings in a very cost effective manner.

 

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