Remote monitoring systems are vital in many industries where operators must keep a constant eye on equipment and environments to prevent and detect possible problems. Managers of public facilities, data centers, healthcare institutions, food supply operations, water and wastewater sites, to name a few, rely on these systems to maintain operational effectiveness and to get a warning when trouble is brewing.
What is a data logger?
A data logger is simply an electronic device that communicates with one or more sensors to record the sensor data over time. It checks at set time intervals – every minute for instance – and records the data reading along with the time-date stamp.
Why you need a data logger
If you are using a remote monitoring system for your business or organization, it is likely that you have to report on the conditions you are watching. You might even be required to maintain records to demonstrate compliance with internal, industry or government standards.
Using a data logger to automatically record information is also valuable for identifying patterns and trends in equipment and environmental conditions. Analyzing data samples may lend insight to larger issues and prevent problems before they arise.
For example, if the data log shows power fluctuations occurring at a regular time, it could be indicative of a more serious problem. Or, if the data indicates the beginning of an equipment malfunction, it can be repaired or replaced before total failure occurs. Manually monitoring and recording these parameters takes a significant amount of personnel time and detracts from other important workplace demands.
What to look for in a monitor/data logger system
When looking for a remote monitoring system equipped with a data logger, consider the following in relation to the size of your operation and what you want to monitor and log:
- Flexible communication methods – Do you need a standard Ethernet connection, WiFi or cellular connection to communicate your data and send alarms? Systems today offer comprehensive capabilities but are easy to install without getting IT people involved. You should be able to simply plug the device into a live internet connection (via an Ethernet jack, WiFi or cellular service) and it starts working.
- Cloud storage – Cloud service provides unlimited data and event logging for safe, secure information storage. When your data is sent to a cloud server, you can access it by creating an account to manage your monitoring device(s). Monitoring/logging systems that are not cloud based store data internally and overwrite older information.
- Self-monitoring – Cloud-based monitoring systems are self-supervising, which means the cloud can alert you if the system fails to connect. If the communication link is interrupted (for example by a power outage or someone accidently switching off the unit) these systems generate an alarm indicating that internet connection is lost or that there is a cellular communications problem. Users are alerted about the disruption through phone, text or email.
- Manage multiple devices – If you anticipate facility expansion, make sure you can add as many monitoring/logging devices to your account as needed. It’s possible to manage hundreds of devices from one account. Data from each device can be viewed from one dashboard.
- Mobile app – This is important so that you can manage your monitoring system and check data from your phone or tablet. It’s a quick and easy way to remotely access trending reports, check specific equipment status and review alarm history.
- Report generation – Ideally, the system will give you the ability to view your entire facility’s performance from anywhere at a moment’s notice. Moreover, you want the system to generate custom reports as a PDF, CSV or text document based on the parameters and pre-defined intervals that you set.
With these tips in mind, you can select the best monitoring and data logger system to help you maintain operational efficiency, uphold quality assurance and meet regulatory compliance. Our support team would be happy to help you with this selection.