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Why Your Collection Doesn't Have Wireless Sensors

There's a reason why your collection doesn't have wireless sensors for environmental monitoring

We’ve spent a lot of time lately talking with conservators, collection managers, registrars and other museum pros about their needs.  One of the questions we always ask is “Why don’t you have wireless sensors in your space already?”.  While the answers fall into a few broad categories, the short answer is that while wireless sensors are great, WiFi is a bad solution for collections. Here's what we've heard.

We don’t have coverage everywhere.

Many of our museum beta partners are in buildings that present a difficult environment for wireless technologies.  Historic buildings, heavy use of concrete and steel, and additions all work against wireless.  At least two thirds of the museums we have spoken with say that they have coverage issues in parts of their buildings that they need to measure.

Take, for example, the often vast storage areas that house the majority of a museum’s collection.  Those spaces are often unoccupied, so they don’t really need WiFi coverage, but they do need measurement. In these spaces we see a lot of disconnected data loggers.

We can’t run power to them.

Adding wiring to a building, especially a historic building, is difficult if not impossible.  Even when it is possible and somewhat simple it is expensive and means that your sensing devices need to be fixed to a single location.  Not a great answer.  The alternative is to run sensors on battery power alone, but in our experience WiFi consumes a lot of power meaning devices either have to be larger to contain more battery capacity, or the batteries have to be changed frequently.

It’s too expensive.

Some of the existing museum measurement solutions on the market are incredibly expensive!  The sensors themselves may not be expensive, but when you factor in the software to manage the data (often priced by retention time, number of users, or feature tiers), additional WiFi access points, installation, and all the other ancillary costs it quickly gets expensive.  This up front expense has to be shouldered before any gains can be had.

Our IT team is overburdened.

Oh boy, can I ever sympathize with this one!  Regardless of the size of the organization, it seems like IT has an ever growing to-do list and often no increase in resources to whittle it down.  Priority always goes to things like keeping the network up, handling user requests, and generally tending to the work that keeps the lights on and the information flowing.  Adding new WiFi access points or another server for managing the data to the mix often isn’t possible.

What if we could give you wireless sensing without the headaches?

We’re approaching this problem differently at Conserv.  We’re building wireless sensing without WiFi headaches.  Facility wide coverage without adding new WiFi access points or dealing with the security headaches of putting WiFi connected devices into public spaces.  Devices that run on battery for years, and tell you when they need to be replaced.

This is a world class service where we proactively look after your device health and automatically send you a new sensor when you need one.  All of this, pre-configured for an installation as simple as sticking it on the wall and turning it on.  Smarter sensors for a modern museum.

Watching your conservation metrics closely matters. We want you to expect more from your environmental monitoring solutions, and wireless sensors are just the start.

Want to learn more?  We would love to hear from you!

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