One of the compelling benefits of a connected product is the ability to monitor the product from anywhere.  Whether it’s a leak sensor monitoring a basement for flooding, vibration sensors monitoring the health of factory machines, or power monitors measuring the flow of electricity in a distribution network, the power of pervasive connectivity allows us to be there without being there.

Yet the reality of the exponential growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) does not seem to have caught up with the forecast.  Why not?  Perhaps it’s because of our existing products, practices, and people have always done things the same way.  Occasionally things break, and we dispatch service people to fix.  Sometimes processes go awry, and we write off the scrap and put corrective actions in place.  Every once in awhile, we take a field trip just to make sure everything is ok.  And business continues the status quo… until the world changes.

The world has changed (and so has our vocabulary).  With social distancing, stay at home orders, and the essential business divide, the idea of “business as usual” has gone out the window.  What was a compelling benefit has now become a mission-critical capability.  Travel, facility, and movement restrictions don’t allow us to rely on humans-in-the-loop as much.  And when people are required to repair or replace the product, the costs of doing so have increased.

The balance has tipped in favor of remote monitoring.  The technology platforms are mature, the entry barrier is low, and the capability is essential.  Don’t wait for things to return to normal, prepare for the new normal. 

Rethinking Device Interaction in Pandemic Times

Nick Ashworth
Partner, Embedded Systems

At Lab651 we help companies decrease costs, open new revenue streams, and improve the experience with their customers.  By developing devices and software that generate and manage data, we make new things possible.