Remote monitoring trends show that the technology has accelerated rapidly in the last few years. In fact, market research forecasts show that the global remote monitoring service market is expected to see a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.2% between 2021-2027.
Several factors, across a whole range of sectors, are driving this increase in demand, so we’ve distilled them down into a handful of examples to demonstrate why remote monitoring is such a hot topic in the product development scene right now.
Remote monitoring trends (by industry)
Manufacturing & Logistics
Improving safety for lone workers with remote technology
Safety at work is paramount, irrespective of the industry. And with lone working on the increase, organisations are turning to technology to help mitigate risk. Lone working comes with significant threats to the health and safety of workers, particularly contractors who may have had less formal training.
One effective way to increase safety for staff working alone is to use licenced two-way radios with Man Down functionality. This kind of remote monitoring means that if a lone working employee is injured, colleagues are able to verify their condition. This means that first aid can be administered with greater haste, or emergency services called in good time.
To expand on safety across large sites, you can integrate radio systems with remote fire alarms allowing for rapid action and responses.
Many alternatives are now also starting to hit the market which makes product obsolescence protection all the more important for radio system developers.
Of course, whilst lone worker safety may be more directly relevant to industries such as construction and manufacturing, others find themselves more concerned with the security monitoring element.
The UK HSE (Health & Safety Executive) has published a comprehensive guide to lone working.
Using security monitoring systems
Radio systems can be used to protect security within shopping centres when integrated with remote alarms and CCTV.
Implementation of remote alarm systems ensure the right people are alerted in the event of a theft, or if there is a person in a restricted area.
The use of masks during the pandemic has made identification of suspects and tracking harder. Security monitoring technology is therefore evolving to combat additional factors like this.
We’re also seeing an increase in remote monitoring trends across agricultural settings. Farmers often live in isolated locations which makes them an easier target. Security is therefore a growing concern in the farming industry, with insurance claims as high as £43.3m during the 2020 lockdown. Meanwhile, Farming Life has described rural theft as a real risk to livelihoods.
Datatag marking and CCTV are strong solutions to deter thieves, provide for accurate reporting, and help recover equipment.
Countries around the world are modernising their rail infrastructure, with the UK making a concerted effort to move towards the Digital Railway network.
Where once, we relied on the humble signal master, sitting in a box at the side of the tracks to ensure carriages passed along Britain’s railways safely, these days signals are fitted with sensors and IoT monitoring technology.
Network Rail for example, is trialling earthwork monitoring systems to monitor the stability of the geography surrounding the tracks. Ultimately, this is designed to pre-empt landslides, allowing architects to bolster the existing protections around the railway and therefore minimise disruption.
Repairing renewable energy equipment
The UK is zoning in on a target of net zero emissions by 2050.
As part of this, an ambitious renewable energy programme is in progress. All of this equipment needs careful monitoring, from broken blades on wind turbines to real-time measurements of temperature and power output.
Off-Grid renewable energy is being used with increasing frequency in places such as Zambia. Whilst the demand for electricity globally rises there are several issues involved including sustainability and recycling of old equipment.
Feeling the heat with data centres
Data Centers have a problem with heat, but in a data-hungry world where 500 hours’ worth of YouTube content is uploaded every 60 seconds, there is an increasing need for data centre growth.
It is hugely important that data centres are kept in a regulated environmental state that allows many machines to operate closely to one another, without overheating. A remote monitoring system helps regulate the temperature of server rooms, giving live feedback on room temperature, humidity, and overall power draw from cooling units.
This allows database administrators and IT support staff to analyse operational efficiencies, ensure that the data centre is operating at optimal capacity. It also controls the risk of fire and prevents costly equipment from being destroyed.
One innovation that electronics engineers are looking into right now is the viability of thermoelectrics. The principle behind this is to convert the heat waste given off by data centres into renewable energy, improving the ecological image of data centres. Right now, Facebook is donating its excess heat to power 6,900 homes in Denmark, with more big companies following suit.
Over in Buxton, Derbyshire, geologists are using radio data loggers to monitor the temperature, humidity, and water drip rate within Poole’s Cavern, a popular limestone cave for tourism.
This use of remote monitoring systems allows scientists to monitor the long-term health of the cave’s climate, with data fuelling additional research into cave-related science.
Health and Social Care
Using telehealth to improve independent living standards
Independent living is a highly important topic given the ageing population, and independence is a precious commodity. In addition, disabled people want to lead lives without constant interference or physical invasion of privacy.
Remote patient monitoring trends from TE Connectivity show that when patients are monitored remotely in real-time this results in better outcomes and quality of care. It is also hoped that the Internet of Things will soon assist with the management of chronic diseases.
The pandemic has accelerated the use of remote technology to communicate with patients and collect data. With many patients classed as clinically vulnerable it’s essential that both patients and clinicians understand the use of data collection and how to communicate effectively, which is the key challenge for health and social care sectors moving forward.
In fact, monitoring for healthcare has a huge consumer market for the everyday user due to telehealth applications.
IoT Monitoring and Smart Cities
Smart streetlighting as a small step towards smart cities
Streetlighting comprises of roughly 40% of a city’s overall energy bill, so it’s not surprising that local governments are assessing ways that they can lower their energy usage, and therefore costs. Ensuring that the lights stay on is also a key aspect of crime prevention and citizen welfare.
By implementing smart streetlighting, engineers can be alerted remotely to outages or unusual activity such as spikes in energy consumption, without having to rely on manual inspections or reporting from the public. This means less downtime, and far more efficient use of an electrical engineer’s time.
This is just one step on the path to developing a smart city, but an important one, nonetheless. Still, if you wish to see what a smart city might look like in practice, look no further than Aizuwakamatsu, a small Japanese town embracing IoT.
Smart home technology – why is it so popular?
It gives you more precise control over your own environment. Everything from voice commands for your TV to the more major innovations such as changing temperature from your phone to smart meters.
The smart home technology market has boomed in previous years and has been accelerated further by a surge in demand for working from home setups. In fact, the ONS (Office for National Statistics) reported that 37% of people worked from home in 2020 (vs 27% in 2019).
As a result, people are spending more on heating their homes. This is part of the reason that people are embracing IoT and smart home technology. Being able to shut off the heating to rooms that are not in use is just one effective means to reduce costs whilst also helping the environment.
The rise of wearable tech
The BMJ (British Medical Journal) recently published an article on “Wearable Technology: Covid-19 and the rise of remote clinical monitoring” addressing the benefits of remote monitoring and IoT in healthcare. Not only can it free up time for clinical professionals, but personal wearables also deliver more data and therefore a more detailed landscape of patient health.
“Clinicians may get a better picture of a patient’s health over a longer period, instead of an occasional snapshot during periodic hospital appointments, and they can observe patients’ progress without having to call them into the clinic. Automatic data gathering may also free staff time by sparing them having to make manual observations.”
And from a consumer point of view, wearable tech has exploded, with the Apple Watch and FitBit popular options amongst fitness buffs. Meanwhile, T3 has launched its 6 major smartwatch trends for 2022, including information on how consumers may use the tech to help us sleep, for fitness and checking blood oxygen levels.
Sport and Entertainment
In Formula 1, the cars are fitted with hundreds of sensors, all measuring variables such as tyre pressure & temperature, fuel levels, data on brake performance, and so much more. These onboard sensors deliver unparalleled connectivity, allowing the engineering teams to feed critical information to the driver in real time.
These sensors also feedback information such as racer lap speed to TV networks, bringing fans of the sport closer to the action.
The NFL (National Football League)
Data plays an enormous role of American Football. Each player’s uniform is fitted with RFID tags in their jersey’s shoulder pads, providing live feedback to the bench. This allows coaches to alter their strategies based on tangible, actionable intelligence.
The NFL itself also uses this data to improve player safety. The sport has a long history of concussion, with previous players successfully reaching a compensation settlement. These days, the NFL is at the forefront of concussion protocols, and part of this is down to the remote sensor technology placed in helmets.
By analysing the data, the league has been able to make constant redesigns to headgear, reducing the number of concussions by 25% from the 2017-2020 seasons.
Remote Monitoring and IoT Technology in 2022
Data is a commodity, and like most commodities, people typically want more. There are still so many untapped opportunities in the remote monitoring sector, which our team are currently working on.
And with COVID-19 driving increased demand for IoT systems and devices, 2022 is a fantastic time to invest in building remote monitoring systems. IDTechEx estimates the RFID industry alone, for example, to grow to a worth of over $12m (£9m) in 2022.
Of course, the chip shortage will prove to be major issue for manufacturing in 2022, with Intel predicting the shortage to continue into 2023. This will lead to more businesses opting for a design for availability approach to their projects, empowering them with a proactive means to continue development.Feasibility Study
Hannah, our marketing wizard, has a rich technical background working in telecommunications and with pressure mapping systems and a deep love for all thing tech related.
John, Ignys’s scribe and self-appointed grammar policeman, helped pen this article, drawing upon his rich experience in IoT, personal tech, and use of technology in the sports & entertainment industries.