Last month, I wrote about types of fiber optic sensors that are used in specialized applications. Most of these affect the transmission of light in the fiber to allow the physical parameter to be sensed either along the entire length of the fiber or at discrete points where sensors are connected to the fiber. Many of these sensors can be attached in series along a single fiber to connect up sensors over a large area and monitored using an instrument such as an optical time domain reflectometer.
Today’s smart buildings are beginning to leverage the industrial internet for improved business outcomes, such as better energy efficiency, improved occupant experience and lower operational costs. They may contain thousands of sensors measuring various building operating parameters including temperature, humidity, occupancy, energy usage, keycard readers, parking space occupancy, fire, smoke, flood, security, elevators and air quality.
Verizon and NEC are providing further details of a proof-of-concept field trial in which the two companies used communications fiber-optic network cables as distributed optical sensor networks. NEC sensor technology attached to Verizon’s fiber-optic cable was able to collect information on city traffic patterns, road conditions, road capacity, and vehicle classification.
Today’s networks are more demanding than ever—always on, always reliable, and no downtime regardless of application or environment. Instead of responding to issues once they occur, owners and operators are looking for ways to proactively manage their infrastructure. How can issues be detected and addressed before they happen, so reliability is guaranteed and downtime is eliminated? Imagine being able to detect small acoustic, temperature, and/or strain changes anywhere along an optical cable in an outside-plant environment, continuously, accurately, and in real-time. And depending on the source used, you could have the ability to detect various environmental events at distances from ones to tens of kilometers away, with large numbers of distributed virtual sensors along the path. All this is possible by using optical fiber as an intrinsic sensing medium.
Industrial automation and industrial internet of things (IIoT) manufacturer Opto 22 has named Josh Eastburn as the company’s new director of technical marketing. In this position, the company says Eastburn will lead the creation of useful and engaging customer content, highlighting and enabling discovery of Opto 22 customer applications, and working closely with industrial automation media outlets.
At first glance, space and oil seem like two completely unrelated and divergent industries. However, these industries face many of the same goals and challenges. The oil & gas industry is constantly looking for ways to cost-effectively meet regulatory standards, improve safety and get more out of their production process and facilities. NASA does the same. They are also are both challenged with working in harsh, remote, and often unexplored environments. Advanced sensors are becoming increasingly more important in both industries. As the internet of things (IoT) continues to grow, new technologies are being developed every day by companies that want to stay competitive.
The IoT is a broad term that defines anything connected as part of a network, capable of both sending and receiving data. The majority of this network is based on sensors, and it’s these devices that will power Energy-as-a-Service. Current energy production focuses on a centralized grid and while it has served us well in the past, decentralized microgrids are emerging to prevent power disruptions, monitor energy usage and even transition into green energy.