Remote Monitoring Overview
A sensor converts a physical measurement into a digital number used by computers. When you check a thermometer, you’re seeing the actual temperature as a number and then from experience we know if that number is hot or cold.
Once the measurement is made into a digital number, it can be more easily transmitted to an electronic display, to the internet, or to a cell phone. Since the sensor’s information can be transmitted to another location, we use the term “remote sensor” meaning the sensor can be located in a distant location but the information can be transmitted anywhere.
The commonly thrown around buzzword that you may have heard to describe the above is the “Internet Of Things”. This phrase “Internet Of Things” is used to capture the idea that sensors, processors and displays will all be connected by the same protocols powering the internet. In essence, any sensor can be accessed from anywhere – in essence, remote monitoring.
The sensor converts physical environments such as temperature, pressure, etc into an electronic representation. Note that this electrical representation still needs to be converted into a digital number.
We dig more into sensors and some examples on the Remote Sensor page located here.
The conversion into a digital number occurs in a sensor conditioner that
- captures the sensors value at regular intervals,
- converts the sensor’s value into a digital value and
- finally adjusts the digital value into a human readable value.
A sensor conditioner must be able to handle 1 or more inputs. As an example, the Calpet 17 sensor conditioner can accept 3 sensors.
Sensor Data Transmission
When sensor data is available, it needs to be transmitted (from or to a remote location). Typically an internet packet is used to transmit the data from one location to another.
For security, the data may be encrypted before transmission and then decrypted upon reception. Note that the encoding key and decoding key must be agreed upon beforehand by the sender and the receiver.
This is where you may start to see the utility of remote monitoring and the Internet Of Things. When you can observe and control something from far away, the possibilities of automation are mind blowing.