What Is IoT Remote Monitoring? How Does It Work?

Written by: Anthony Moffa

What is IoT remote monitoring?

IoT remote monitoring is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technology to remotely monitor and manage devices or systems. It enables near real-time tracking and monitoring of various parameters such as temperature, pressure, current, voltage, and humidity. Original equipment manufacturers (OEM), service businesses, and individuals can remotely monitor their assets, equipment, and systems with IoT remote monitoring from anywhere in the world with just a mobile device or computer. This technology has numerous applications in various industries, such as healthcare, industrial, high tech, and agriculture, making it an essential tool for businesses to streamline their service operations and improve efficiency.

How does IoT remote monitoring work?

IoT remote monitoring can help businesses to gain insights into their assets or processes by collecting data from existing sensors or by placing overlay sensors on field-based equipment or components to obtain information about machinery operating parameters and environmental conditions. By combining the reach of the internet, cellular, and satellite communications networks, data is truly accessible from anywhere in the world. Once captured, this data is sent back to a cloud-based monitoring solution for analysis, and real-time notifications are sent when potential issues are detected. In this way, IoT remote monitoring helps companies to optimize their service response processes, identify problems faster, and reduce downtime for greater control and optimal efficiency in their operations.

Components of IoT remote monitoring system

An IoT remote monitoring system relies on accurate data from the field-based assets. The smarter the remote device, the more sensors it has, the better your remote diagnostics and support will be. This, however, is not a part of the IoT system, it is a dependency. An IoT remote monitoring system has many components, but to simplify the discussion, the three core parts are data acquisition, data analytics, and event notification.

The IoT system starts with software capturing data from the remote asset. As noted above, the type and quality of the data is dependent on the maturity of the asset being monitored. Some call this capture software an agent, others refer to it as the “edge,” but the function is the same. It is software that resides on or near the remote device to accumulate data from the asset and transfer it securely to a central repository for storage and analysis.

Part two is analytics, which has a broad scope. In the simplest terms, analysis should be able to identify and assess core operating parameters—temperature too hot/cold, current high/low, etc., as these are based off the design specifications of the product. Higher order analytics will get into multivariant issues (current + voltage + speed), or they get into trends and often require weeks, months, and even years of historical data before they can produce reliable results.

The last part is notification. Once data has been acquired and evaluated, the system needs to inform users about the devices with problems, what the problems are, and preferably, what the likely cause/solution is. The intent is to focus the service professional’s attention on the devices that need service.

What are the benefits of IoT remote monitoring?

Reduced downtime

IoT remote monitoring allows businesses to monitor their equipment and systems in near real time and gather valuable insights and data to help reduce downtime. As an example, preventative services are predicated and delivered on a time basis—perform every x days, weeks, or months, but that time basis assumes a normal distribution of use. If an end user is to the right of the average (use the device more than the average), they are likely to experience wear-based failures since they are receiving the predictive maintenance (PM) late. IoT gives insights into usage rates, wear rates, and error codes, enabling the organization to move from a time-based to condition-based model, thus ensuring PM work is done when it is needed, and downtimes are reduced.

Improved first-time fix

Fixing an asset on the first visit is important for two reasons: 1) it eliminates 1.6 additional dispatches to the site and 2) it dramatically reduces the end user’s downtime. Wait, 1.6 additional trips? Yes, on average, if you fail to fix it the first time, statistically speaking, you have 1.6 more trips before you close out the ticket/work order. So how does IoT help do that? It’s all about insight into the problem. Without IoT, a service organization relies on triage data supplied by the end user. While the end user is familiar with how to run the equipment, they generally are not up to speed on all its components and how it operates. With IoT, remote service technicians are very likely to gather enough information to identify the problem, any necessary parts and the skill set of the field technician to dispatch to the site.

Increased service operations efficiency

Improving first-time-fix rates is a huge efficiency win for the service team, as well as an uptime boost for the end user, but can IoT add more efficiency to service? The simple answer is yes. Let’s look at a few examples:

Automated dispatch – In cases where field-based equipment either provides a distinguishable error code or the IoT back-end analytics identify a specific, actionable problem, the IoT system can order parts and schedule a technician without any human intervention. This frees up call center employees and dispatchers to address more urgent issues and reduces the probability of an error.

Remote repair/resolution – Remote resolution means some technician time but no dispatch and no travel time. While this may not be acceptable in all industries, there are varying levels of remote repair and or resolution capable with IoT systems. For an end user, an error code simply means the machine is not working. For the remote technician, that code is linked to an event and a resolution. It could be a corrupted file, a dead battery, or burned-out indicator light, all of which could potentially be resolved with a remote connection and in some cases, cooperation with the local end user. There’s nothing worse for a service team than to dispatch a technician for an NPF (no problem found) or a “problem” that simply required a reboot.

Customer self-service – In some industries it is becoming commonplace to have an end user perform some service activities. Most service call centers have levels or tiers of issues. Tier 1 can be managed by a less experienced employee who usually follows a script or logic engine. If they can’t resolve the issue, it gets escalated to Tier 2, and in rare cases to Tier 3 (usually R&D). What we’re talking about here is a class of “Tier 0” issues that require some basic direction and minimal skills to resolve. Having the ability to identify these Tier 0 issues remotely, and then having the infrastructure to empower the end user to resolve the problem is a win-win—no dispatch, minimal downtime.

Service growth without adding technicians – By improving the efficiency of the service operations, it now becomes possible to grow the service business revenue without having to hire more technicians. This is not an anti-employment push. The fact is most service organizations are having extreme difficulty attracting and retaining field technicians not to mention many are facing a significant retirement wave. By improving first-time fix, enabling remote repair, and customer self-service, organizations are freeing up time to counter self-terminations and possibly enable growth. Without IoT technology, service growth requires an identical investment in service personnel and equipment. In other words, if you want to double your service business, you need to double the number of technicians (and vehicles, tools, training, etc.).

Industry applications of IoT remote monitoring


The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT or Healthcare IoMT) refers to the integration of medical devices and technologies with the internet and other digital platforms. Medical device manufacturers were among the first markets to adopt IoT technologies to improve their service operations. With thousands of hospitals in the US alone, it is impractical (in most situations) to place a technician in every location. On the opposite side of that equation, too few technicians will lead to unacceptable response times. The adoption of IoT was a natural ally, giving remote technicians access to devices at any location within seconds.

For the more advanced IoMT users, COVID proved to be an opportunity to service customers and serve the community. At the beginning of COVID almost all site visits were eliminated. This meant many service evaluations were done remotely, often walking on-site med techs through the process of restart, repair, calibration, etc. In addition, some businesses found they could anonymize, aggregate, and report data on COVID testing numbers (tests taken and results) and aid the CDC and other organizations in identifying hot spots and trends.


Manufacturers of large production machinery can often find their products installed in critical applications at extremely remote locations. Service dispatches to these sites can often require a day or more of travel, meaning a return trip absolutely needs to be avoided. A blind dispatch, sending a technician with little or no triage information, is extremely risky, and more so in these cases, so a remote connection and access to operating data are crucial to an accurate diagnosis and successful first-time fix. Additionally, these manufacturers can leverage usage-based statistics to trigger local notices for periodic or condition-based maintenance. Newer equipment is even capable of reporting if, and when this maintenance is performed. This gives the OEM very clean insight into how their maintenance process influences their warranty claims, and even gives them the ability to evaluate and negotiate warranty claims if the maintenance cycles were ignored.

Fleet management

IoT remote monitoring has become an essential tool for fleet management by allowing near real-time tracking of vehicles and assets. Sensors and GPS tracking provide valuable data on location, vehicle performance, fuel consumption, driver behavior, and maintenance needs. Fleet managers can use this data to make informed decisions to optimize their operations, reduce costs, and most importantly, improve safety and respond quickly to emergencies.

Value of IoT remote monitoring

Service organizations are continually challenged to do more with less, for less—grow the business, reduce head count, and lower operating expenses. This challenge can only be met with a technology solution like IoT. The value of IoT remote monitoring lies in its ability to provide valuable insights and actionable intelligence that leads to significantly better decision-making and operational optimization.

When using IoT remote monitoring, businesses can experience significant cost savings over time as they reduce parts consumption and field dispatches. Costly repairs, missed service-level agreements (SLA), and the risk of equipment failure can be mitigated, even avoided, by early detection of potential issues or inefficiencies. For example, if a piece of equipment is not functioning correctly, IoT remote monitoring can alert service or local personnel to take immediate action to resolve the issue. The predictive maintenance benefits of IoT remote monitoring give businesses the ability to reduce break-fix calls and control the variation that influences their resource deployment business operations. This also helps improve equipment lifespan, reduces downtime, and increases customer satisfaction and net promoter scores. IoT literally enables service organizations to do more with less, for less, while increasing the level of service and customer satisfaction.

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Tags: Industrial Internet of Things Remote Service

About the Author

Anthony Moffa

Anthony Moffa is a Senior Director within PTC’s ThingWorx Product Management team.  He has extensive experience, designing, manufacturing and implementing diagnostic systems in a variety of industries including aerospace, nuclear power and petrochemical.  Prior to joining PTC he was responsible for the design and implementation of 2 IoT programs, one in life safety and the other in the life sciences arenas.  He has been a long-time contributor to service research advisory councils managed by Aberdeen and The Service Council, holds a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Villanova University and has multiple Six Sigma certifications.