Automated sensor monitoring is one of the fastest and most valuable areas of IoT innovation - and it is rapidly gaining traction. Let's take a look at what is driving the rapid uptake of automated sensor monitoring and seven ways to measure the return-on-investment.
Read on to find out:
- What's driving increased investment in automated sensor monitoring?
- 7 sources of value from automated sensor monitoring
The Internet of Things promised to transform business when first introduced into our everyday language. A report from McKinsey suggests the IoT hasn’t grown as quickly as expected in the years since 2015. Change management, cost, talent shortages and cybersecurity concerns have been cited as crucial IoT challenges.
But the growth potential of the IoT is still astonishing. Analysts estimate that by 2030, the IoT could enable between $5.5 trillion and $12.6 trillion in value globally.
Automated sensor monitoring is one area of the IoT that provides rapid financial payback.
At Checkit, we’re enabling retail, healthcare, and hospitality organisations to unlock up to 6x ROI from automated sensor monitoring – a highly practical and effective corner of the IoT that deserves far more attention than it currently gets.
Automated sensor monitoring is such a hotbed of value because the fundamental technology involved in delivering solutions has evolved.
Wireless sensors with multi-year battery life can automate previously manual processes such as fridge and freezer temperature checks. Not only do these sensors save significant staff time and reduce the risk of compliance black spots, but they also deliver increasingly valuable data, which enables insight-driven decision-making.
As well as fridge monitoring to preserve the safety and quality of temperature-sensitive inventory such as food and, in the medical world, bloods, vaccines and other medicines, automated sensor monitoring is being applied to a widening array of use cases. These range from testing air quality to leak detection and pipe monitoring for legionella.
What is driving increased investment in automated sensor monitoring?
Why has there been such an upswing in the adoption of automated sensor monitoring? We’ve identified four critical factors.
Falling cost of automated monitoring systems
The cost of hardware has declined in recent years, which enables organisations to drive higher ROI. Batteries, for example, have undergone significant innovation. IoT battery life has been extended with new technology, but the unit cost has come down at the same time. The volume of sales is a crucial factor here as IoT deployments continue to scale up internationally.
Faster time to value
Installation hurdles have always added time and cost to automated sensor monitoring projects, but things are changing. Wireless sensors are much easier to deploy. At Checkit, we have also introduced smart set-up wizards that make it simple for teams to install their own sensors. These factors have a big impact on both the cost and ease of installation. This removes one of the significant legacy barriers that has held back ROI on automated sensor monitoring projects.
Richer data emerging from automated sensor monitoring
This is about more than just measurement. Organisations can leverage highly accessible analytics and data visualisation tools such as Power BI or Tableau. These tools enable them to drive insight and make better, faster business decisions ranging from energy efficiency to predictive maintenance. There are also operational efficiencies in multi-site organisations where the scale and complexity of the estate enable clear ROI gains. Modern platforms make that information readily available on PC, laptops, tablets and mobile devices, so there’s valuable insight in real-time wherever you happen to be working.
Turning insight into real-world impact
One of the advantages of advanced automated sensor monitoring is that they generate immediate alerts to address any problems before significant damage occurs. However, how many alerts go unheeded in busy and dynamic environments, from hospital wards to retail stores? At Checkit, we’ve recently introduced mobile alerting to deliver alerts directly to the devices of the most relevant frontline staff. And it doesn’t stop there. Alerts are accompanied by step-by-step workflows that guide staff members on precisely what they need to do next. This extends the value of IoT automated sensor monitoring in unprecedented ways. With as little as 30 minutes of training and no technical integration required, staff can harness the platform to bring practical benefits to life. For example, by automating sensor-driven fridge alerts and prompting corrective action, organisations can ensure rapid resolution time to minimise stock loss and disruption to staff members who might be busy adding value elsewhere. This even opens up the opportunity to collect data on asset performance and identify poorly performing fridges, freezers or hot holds.
Are you just starting with a sensor project?
You might be building a business case and wondering where you’ll find the fastest and most effective returns.
The answer is sector dependent. However, at Checkit, we’re seeing up to 6x ROI in as little as eight weeks from the installation of automated fridge monitoring in sectors including food retail, hospitality and leisure, schools and universities, hospitals, care homes, biotech and life sciences.
So, where is that value coming from?
7 sources of value from automated sensor monitoring
1. Staff time saving
A typical organisation with ten pieces of equipment requiring three manual checks saves 1.5 hours a day. In retail, for example, that means staff are redirected towards customer-facing roles, directly driving revenue via point-of-sale service, re-stocking shelves and customer interaction. Against the backdrop of significant wage inflation, this area of ROI will only continue to grow.
2. Stock loss
From food waste to missing medical stock, many organisations may not realise the size of the losses incurred from exposing valuable inventory to unsafe conditions. It’s estimated that 12-14% of fridges and freezers fail each year. This pulls away revenue from those goods not being on display. Then there is the cost of the stock itself. A walk-in freezer could contain up to £6,000 of food, and even a small ice cream chiller could be holding stock of up to £300. To put that into real-world perspective, one large retailer with over 300 sites loses £2.5m to £3.5m on average each year due to food wastage attributable to failed refrigeration. In healthcare and life sciences, the value of stock held in cold storage can stretch to millions of pounds. Augmenting these operations with automated sensor monitoring and real-time data makes it possible to save the stock. Rapid alerts provide an immediate warning of any issues. At the same time, 24/7 data insights can show exactly how long a chiller was off, enabling stock to be moved to another asset and sold to customers.
3. Brand protection
Brand reputation is one of a business's most valuable assets, particularly in highly competitive sectors. Food safety incidents are often widely reported and can dent customer confidence in incalculable ways. Costly events have to be avoided. Compliance is vital to protect brand reputation and reduce risk. One Checkit user reported that safety compliance had risen from 25% to 95%+ in less than two months.
4. Management savings
The amount of time managers spend compiling and analysing compliance reports is astonishing. Depending on manual checks and assorted paperwork only lengthens the hours required. It’s not unusual for users of Checkit’s automated sensor monitoring solution to save several hours per month. In cases where managers have to travel between sites to pick up paperwork and perform audits, those time savings can extend into days.
5. Energy efficiency
Refrigeration often accounts for the highest or second-highest proportion of energy costs. With energy costs rising rapidly, the ability to identify faulty equipment early by having data to hand is a significant source of value. Customers increasingly harness data from automated sensor monitoring to fix faulty equipment early and replace consistently poorly performing equipment. Predictive maintenance is a substantial advantage of automated sensor monitoring.
6. Staff retention
Removing repetitive manual processes such as temperature checks that take up hours a day correlates to increased retention and attraction of talent by making roles more appealing. Given current frontline staff shortages, this is an increasingly powerful source of immediate value.
7. Lower insurance premiums
When assessing the potential ROI of automated sensor monitoring, insurance premiums have to be considered. Reducing the risk of safety incidents and ensuring proactive maintenance of assets – all backed up by accurate data – enables organisations to negotiate lower insurance premiums.
Want to learn more?
- Find out how one of the UK's largest leisure groups uses automated sensor monitoring to save 20,000 hours of staff time each year
- Learn how this biotech company harnessed automated sensor monitoring to protect critical laboratory stock