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Condition Monitoring vs. IT Monitoring and the Role of Predictive Maintenance

In addition to countless opportunities, the digital transformation in the corporate, production and working environment also poses the challenge of taking additional safety and control measures to rule out malfunctions and ensure the smooth running of complex procedures and processes. This applies both to IT equipment and to new generations of machines, robots and Internet-based control systems, on whose error-free operation the value-added success of companies depends.

This fact can be illustrated with a few examples: A company's value chain can only be maintained if the digital links between neighboring areas (for example, merchandise management, logistics and production) and the information flows that depend on them are upheld. For this to succeed, comprehensive precautions must be taken at the level of software, hardware, machines, communications infrastructure and the overall operational environment. In this context, the terms IT monitoring and condition monitoring play an important role. Despite many parallels, they have different backgrounds at a fundamental level.

Condition monitoring: definition and meaning at a glance

Condition monitoring (German sister term: Zustandsüberwachung) is the systematic and continuous observation of the condition of machines and systems for safety and efficiency purposes. Physical characteristics such as pressure, filling level, temperature level or operating speed, which are continuously determined and evaluated in condition monitoring, serve as benchmarks for assessment.

Special sensors are used to measure the relevant variables. In the evaluation phase, the aim is to identify emerging problems as far in advance as possible and to rectify them. In this way, it is possible to localize incipient wear and tear and compensate for it during the next maintenance round in order to offset efficiency losses.

IT monitoring: definition and significance at a glance

IT monitoring (also: network monitoring) refers to all those measures and precautions that are aimed at the automated monitoring of the IT infrastructure (software, hardware, Internet services, etc.) and the associated processes (role allocation, compliance guidelines, etc.). IT monitoring includes logging and documenting as well as operational aspects such as dealing with acute risks and failures.

It should be noted that IT monitoring also has an "external" dimension, as the relevant equipment must be secured not only against malware or data leaks, but also against physical damage (such as from fire or water ingress). In sensitive areas - for example, in a data center - IT managers should therefore always consider aspects such as humidity, temperature control, fire protection and voltage.

Conclusion: IT monitoring and condition monitoring - two sides of the same coin?

In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), the terms IT monitoring and condition monitoring are inevitably becoming increasingly intertwined, while the conceptual and practical demarcation contours are becoming blurred. In any case, they are indispensable in a modern business environment and qualify as an important prerequisite for smooth and efficient operations.

The links between the two components are also illustrated by the concept of predictive maintenance. This concept originated in production and is increasingly finding its way into the narrower IT sector. There, it stands for the idea of not acting purely preventively or reactively in the maintenance of machines, systems or interfaces, but rather determining the individually optimal time for interventions and thereby achieving further efficiency gains. The principles of predictive maintenance can be applied to production facilities as well as to networks, software equipment, hardware and all related areas.


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