How to Choose the Right Sensor for Your IoT Device

The choice of sensor type can have a major impact on your IoT application. A good selection of sensors will provide the most valuable insights — but considerations like cost and ease of installation may impact what data you can collect effectively.

You Want to Choose the Right Sensor for Your IoT Device

First Considerations for a New IoT Application

1.Choose a specific goal.

2. Cost is typically the most significant consideration.

3. The next most important factor is your goal or KPI.

4. The environment may also impact the sensors from which you can choose.

5. Lastly, you should consider the quality of the sensor.

Sensor security quality is also worth considering. IoT devices can have significant security vulnerabilities that may put an organization’s entire network at risk.

Sensors for Operational Intelligence and Bulk Asset Tracking

For example, you may want to use sensors for on-site asset tracking. As with most IoT applications, you may choose sensor options for asset tracking range apart from costly sensors. Sensors are typically precise and specialized, and you may choose simpler and typically less costly sensors to install.

Better sensors can provide site staff with a more accurate reading of an asset’s location.

Tracking data gives employees real-time information on where that equipment is. This can reduce time spent searching for essential goods in an emergency.

Tracking sensors in emergency situations

Interoperability may also be a concern with large-scale IoT applications.

Additionally, some devices might not communicate with the rest of the network in the same way or report data differently.

Fleet asset tracking solutions

As an IoT application becomes more complex — involving multiple sensor types from different OEMs (all trackers) — this may become even more of an issue.

It’s best to start small with a pilot project or similar test that can help you gauge the quality of new IoT devices. This will help you determine if the new devices meet your organization’s needs.

Bulk Asset Tracking With Internet-Connected RFID Readers

What about tracking at warehouses?

RFID readers posted throughout the warehouse scan for RFID tags, giving facility managers a rough idea of where goods are in the facility. Over time, this data also helps warehouse managers visualize floor traffic. Bottlenecks will naturally appear in the data, providing insights that managers can use to optimize their warehouse layout.

What about RFID tags?

RFID tags on metal surfaces may also sometimes be challenging to read — reducing the accuracy of this kind of system.

Understanding the limitations of the sensors you use — like how interference can impact RFID reader performance — will help you plan your system and understand which sensors are best for your needs.

Tracking Machine and Asset Performance

While some information may be useful in analyzing machine health for most equipment, like motor temperature or timing, not all the information you can track will be relevant to a particular machine.

Machine Health

Working backward to identify sensors that are both effective and practical. For example, in a 2018 article for Automation World, Arun K. Sinha, director of business development at Opto 22, described how he would decide on a sensor set for monitoring the machine health of a factory compressor.

Practicality plays a significant role in machine health decisions.

Some operational parameters are easier to track than others. Motor temperature, vibration, and current, for example, are typically not difficult to monitor with IoT technology. They also provide good insight into the health of an air compressor.

Compressor fluids

Hardwire connections

You will want to balance the utility of information against cost.

These are the kinds of trade-offs you’ll likely have to make when selecting sensors for a machine-monitoring IoT fleet. The difficulty of installation and sensor practicality may influence the kind of data you can collect cost-effectively and with minimal downtime for sensor installation.

Original equipment manufacturer guides

Even if they have little or no experience with IoT monitoring, they may be able to advise you on common problems or failure causes, helping you to identify which parameters are the most important to track.

Documents from manufacture about maintenance

Start with a pilot project with your own equipment

Essential Considerations When Purchasing IoT Sensors

After price, which is usually the number-one consideration in any significant tech investment, it’s always worth considering how to use case, sensor quality, and potential sensor limitations that may impact a particular IoT sensor fleet.

How to Choose the Right Sensor for Your IoT Device was originally published on ReadWrite by Emily Newton.

The latest #news, analysis, and conversation on the #InternetOfThings