The Real Cost of Remote Site Monitoring & Control Systems

There are several options to consider for monitoring of critical remote sites to get continuous insight into repeaters, generators, and weather. As new technology enters the market you have many choices in monitoring solutions. Evaluating which is more appropriate for your equipment can help improve your operations, streamline your service, and grow your business.

To help you figure out which solution is best for your business, we have outlined the three leading choices for how organizations are monitoring their systems today.

Option 1: Leaving Infrastructure Unmonitored

Problems are discovered and reported by users when they can’t use the system for the intended purpose. Only when a problem occurs, or if something breaks do resources get allocated to fixing the issue. Frequently, the first trip to the site is done by a technician to diagnose the problem and determine what actions and parts are required to get system back online.

Pros:
– No new investment required
– No monitoring system to maintain
– It’s familiar as it has always been that way

Cons:
– Cost of additional truck rolls
– Only alerted to issues after users are impacted
– Risks to safety and productivity

The biggest risk with leaving systems unmonitored resides in the hidden costs of emergency service, including:

  • Allocating labour and materials to fix the issue
  • Travel and labour costs for remote site locations
  • Productivity lost due to system downtime
  • Increased safety risks for workers in the field without access to critical systems
  • Lack of information sharing between technicians when new problems occur
  • Risk of leaving valuable and private equipment out in the open

Some issues may have very little costs, while others can be astronomical. Reactive or ‘break-fix’ maintenance can lead to heavy losses that could be difficult to recover from.

Option 2: Building Your Own Remote Monitoring System

Use the talents of your own or contracted technical team to build a custom monitoring solution. See what the industry is doing, document requirements, design the end-to-end solution, procure the hardware, software and support services, and then evolve and maintain.

Pros:
– Built to your exact requirements
– No additional training
– Familiar Interfaces

Cons:
– Significant upfront investment
– Limited scalability
– Lack of network security

Some of the costs of building your own monitoring and control solution include:

  • On-going costs to maintain and upgrade
  • Falling back on traditional systems instead of software-centric ones
  • Misplaced confidence in sites and systems being safeguarded against security threats
  • Creating a performance gap between technicians and managers
  • Loss of productivity from field service personnel
  • Not evaluating future needs or setting the system up for improvements down the road

In addition to the initial costs, some companies find that only those involved in the process know how the system works. This type of system monitoring solution can put limitations on those hired to service it, with more costs being allocated to help train them appropriately.

Option 3: Third-Party Monitoring Providers

Check out what monitoring solutions are on the market and implement the one that works best for your organization and the systems you use and maintain. New technologies have created more advanced monitoring options with surprising price-performance.

Pros:
– Easy to implement and use
– Functionality and capability based on many previous deployments
– Monitoring system evolution done by provider

Cons:
– Can be expensive
– May require IT department integration
– May not have been designed with security top of mind

The Recommendation

We’ve worked to be objective about the three options you have for remote monitoring. Let’s go one step further and make a recommendation:

  • Option 1: Leaving Infrastructure Unmonitored – It’s not the 1980s anymore. Take advantage of new affordable monitoring technology that delivers real-time information to make systems and remote sites stronger and easier to maintain.
  • Option 2: Building Your Own Remote Monitoring System – It’s exciting to build new systems with new technology; however, do you want to put the time into learning the latest in Industrial IoT, security and more? And where is the spare time going to come from to build, secure and maintain the system?
  • Option 3: Third-Party Monitoring Providers – Our recommendation – admittedly with a little bias. There are solid affordable monitoring options in the market today. Pick a vendor that is focused on getting you the data you need to make better operational decisions, and one that has a roadmap you are excited about.

When Evaluating Monitoring Providers

When you are seeking out and evaluating providers, we suggest you use the following 10-point checklist:

  • It is designed with security built in
  • Monitors repeaters, antennas, and site
  • Easy to install with little to no engineering
  • Provides historical and real-time data insights
  • Provides additional site information, particularly weather and lightning
  • Easy to use portal that requires minimal user training
  • Scalable to add or remove sites
  • Alerts via SMS or email for alarms and exceeded thresholds
  • Continuously provides the data that technicians and managers need to do their job
  • Is affordable with the benefits outweighing the costs
  • Is committed to adding new functionality with an exciting roadmap
  • Does not require integration with complex IT infrastructure to wo

Rimot's Turnkey Monitoring Solution for Your Business

Successful field teams are changing to proactive services, and companies are benefiting from the innovation that can come from being focused on data. By integrating a monitoring system into your network of critical infrastructure, like Rimot’s turnkey monitoring solution, your company can improve your field service, save money on unforeseen expenses, and provide a new level of customer service.

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