The Hot List

Remote Monitoring and Management

By Carl Ford, Partner, Crossfire Media  |  November 13, 2014

It’s always helpful and cumbersome to categorize “things” in broad categories. On the one hand, it helps to compare and contrast features. On the other hand, it has a tendency to lose details and mask individual features. The next M2M Evolution will be broken down into two tracks addressing things that are in motion and things that are at rest. However, the category of remote monitoring and management points out that all the things at rest are normally there to track flow (a.k.a. motion). Worse yet, we have degrees of at rest. For example, remote patient monitoring is generally for patients to return home; however, it depends on the level of severity of the illness and the amount of rest involved.

In doing the research for this article I was shocked about the amount of remote patient care companies I found in the mix. I also had to filter out all the remote monitoring and management systems focused on desktops and servers. For this Hot List we are focused on sensors, not people or computers. 

However, even with this filter we still have a wide spectrum of things being monitored by sensors. From automation in the home to oil and gas, the range is wide. James Brehm of Brehm and Associates pointed out to me that segmenting out remote monitoring from device management distinguishes the companies that focus on version control and configuration as opposed to the companies that focus on network management and fault isolation.

So what do remote monitoring and management systems have in common (besides the obvious in the name)? The answer is in the remote aspect of these solutions. All of them are aimed at reducing truck rolls, distributed personnel, and delivering information to the best resource. While the systems monitor and manage different things, the requirements for the results are tied to the requirements of the specific verticals in which they are employed.

For example, remote monitoring and management solutions that deal with oil and gas have the goal of tracking leaks, then isolating the problem for correction. As the industry has matured, the opportunity has risen to the point where illegal taps by pirate tankers can be more easily spotted and foiled.

In some cases, like smart grid and energy production, the data is used to optimize performance and minimize downtime of systems that may be showing wear and tear.

Often in the industrial environment the people running production are not the ones best suited for root cause analysis. The collection of the data in a manner that allows more effective analysis is crucial. Traditionally, RMM systems are focused on security and management, but thanks to the age of cloud and big data, we are expanding into better real-time analytic forecasting and predictive systems.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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