The need to reduce cycle time and drive efficiency throughout the value chain will always be a critical business focus. And with the digital transformation of environmental monitoring, we can shift these requirements away from historically being a cost of doing business to providing opportunities to generate value.
This represents a paradigm shift to many and you may ask what has changed.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT is a broad concept that implies that as the cost of connectivity decreases, more and more devices will become connected to the Internet. Due to rapid advances in information technology and reduction in the cost of data management, the IIoT has allowed for more automated data collection, increased data transfer, more effective data analysis and the enterprise-wide availability of data.
A good example is an ongoing CleanAir project that incorporates cloud-based remote monitoring of ambient air monitoring station data and performance. Using remote monitoring, station operating parameters such as temperature, compressed gas standard cylinder pressures, sample line vacuum pressure, sample flow rate, analyzer data, among other sensor information are sent via a secure connection to a cloud-based data service for secure storage and processing. Once in the cloud, approved users have gated remote access to the data for download and real-time viewing from their offices or via mobile devices. In addition, operators can use system tools to set up alarm notifications in the form of automated phone calls, text messages or emails to be alerted if operating parameters or analyzer data fall outside of defined operating envelopes.
As can be seen in this example, cloud-based remote monitoring coupled with a comprehensive quality data management system is a powerful solution that provides many benefits, such as:
- Proactive, efficient station operation
- Reduced labor and operating costs
- Fast response to station upset conditions
- Comprehensive data quality assurance
- Transparent and well-documented station operation
- Cloud-based data backup
- Real-time online data visualization and analysis
- Enterprise-wide data availability
Consequently, environmental monitoring moving forward needs to take further advantage of IIoT concepts. Coupled with advanced analytics and digital labor, this will allow digitization to be moved from the field to the back office and throughout the value chain.