You’ve probably heard a lot about sensor data analytics and its ability to transform any business. Today’s technology can collect and analyze data in real time, so you can make informed business decisions to help your company grow.
But, how exactly does sensor analytics work, and how can you implement it? Here is all you need to know about what sensor data does, and how to get started with it.
What Is Sensor Data Analytics?
Sensor data analytics is a system that can collect and analyze data relevant to your business.
A sensor data analytics system consists of three parts:
- Sensors, which collect data
- Some form of connectivity, so that the sensor readings can be sent to the cloud
- An analytical tool to organize and make sense of the data
In modern environments, many sensors are already internet-connected, so they can stream data to be analyzed in the cloud. The Internet of Things, or IoT, relies on connected devices that can share data with each other, often in real-time.
IoT sensors can collect data on things like temperature, water quality, and air purity. Not sure what a sensor is? If you’ve ever worn a personal fitness tracker, you’ve used a sensor. Sensors can also be attached to machinery to keep track of the condition of your components and help plan when you should perform maintenance.
How Is IoT Sensor Data Gathered, Collected, and Analyzed?
IoT sensors have the capability to monitor around the clock. They capture data and send it to the cloud, where it is formatted and stored. Then an analytics tool can organize the data and identify patterns in it.
The first step to implementing data analytics is determining what kinds of questions you need your data to answer. Do you want to track how well your HVAC is performing? Do you want to monitor the temperature in your office building? Or, are you trying to track your blood pressure before and after workouts?
All of those goals can be met using data analytics and simple tracking devices. But of course, you’ll need to collect different kinds of data depending on your goals.
Once you’ve determined your goals, you can start the process of sensor data collection and analysis. Here’s how that works.
Sensor Devices Detect and Measure Signals
Place your sensors on and around the objects that you want to monitor. If you want to monitor air quality in your warehouse, for example, place sensors in several parts of the rooms so you can get a comprehensive view of the air quality in the space.
Your sensors will then collect information about physical phenomena and convert that information into signals. For example, if you are monitoring air quality, your sensors might collect data on the number of foreign particles present in a given area. Your devices measure the particles and then relay the IoT sensor data — the number of particles — to your data analytics software.
Signal Features Are Sent Over Network and Interpreted in the Cloud
How exactly your sensors relay information depends on factors like your device’s capabilities, your internet connection, and your power consumption. In some cases, your sensors can send information to the cloud in real-time. In other cases, sensors relay information in batches.
In both of those cases, sensors convey data over the internet. When the data reaches the cloud, your analytical tools will format, store, and analyze the data so you can make sense of it.
Raw data is practically useless — it’s almost impossible to sift through it on your own and draw conclusions based on it. Likewise, unformatted data is also difficult to combine with other data. If, for example, you want to look at whether the temperature in your warehouse impacts air purity, you’ll need to make sure that both data sets are formatted in the same way.
Software that can format and organize your data is a crucial part of any data analytics system.
How Businesses Use Sensor Data Analysis
Just about every industry can make use of sensor data analysis to improve their productivity and streamline their business processes.
For example, farmers use sensor data to monitor soil hydration levels and look for dangerous pests. Factory owners use sensor data to monitor the health of their equipment and determine when a piece of machinery needs to be repaired.
In every sector, businesses can use sensor data analysis to make informed decisions and speed up computation time.
Make Predictions in Real-Time
The more information you have access to, the better equipped you’ll be to make predictions about the future.
Sensors provide a huge and continuous supply of data about whatever your business needs to know. You can feed that data into machine learning models to make predictions based on that data. Machine learning excels at finding patterns in huge sets of data. And once you’ve identified a pattern, you can predict what’s going to happen next.
For example, clothing retailers need to predict how long clothing trends are likely to last, before the public moves on to the next trend. If the retailer miscalculates, they could be left with an overstock of clothing that nobody wants.
Studying historical data is a good way to know just how long the typical trends in clothing are likely to last.
Improve Key Infrastructures With Analytical Tools
Sensors can track how well infrastructure is holding up, and can pinpoint exactly where improvements are needed. Used correctly, sensor data analytics can identify weak spots in a building’s structure, check on water quality/consumption, and assess air quality in an indoor location.
Modern sensors are finely tuned and can identify potential problems early, so you have ample time to correct them.
How Keeping Track of Sensor Data Can Improve Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality sensors can be used to count the foreign particles and measure the level of gasses in any indoor location.
The air quality sensors then relay that information to a data analytics tool, which compares the new figures against a baseline “healthy” norm. Sensor data analytics allow you to measure changes in air quality over time and identify trends.
Senseware can help you improve air quality, reduce your energy consumption, and make improvements to your whole indoor environment. Contact us today to learn how you can get started.
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