Companies in nearly every sector rely on sensors to improve function and efficiency. Something as basic as an RFID tag to prevent shoplifting at a department store constitutes a sensor. But understand that sensors have matured well beyond basic RFID. Rock West Solutions is a California company that specializes in designing sensor systems. They say today’s sensors can do amazing things.

The premise of this post is the effect sensors have on modern business decisions. But in order to make this an intelligent discussion, we must first define what a sensor actually is. For that we turn to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. Their definition is as follows:

“A device that responds to a physical stimulus (such as heat, light, sound, pressure, magnetism, or a particular motion) and transmits a resulting impulse (as for measurement or operating a control).”

A simple example is the light sensor on a municipally-owned streetlight. That sensor continually monitors sunlight. When sunlight is no longer reaching the sensor, the sensor sends an electrical signal to turn the light on. The light remains on until sunlight reactivates the sensor and causes it to send a signal that shuts the light off.

Proactive vs. Reactive

With a definition in hand, we can now talk about how sensors affect business decisions. You can look at this from any number of perspectives. For the purposes of this post, we will look at it from the perspective of how decisions are made. Companies can be proactive or reactive in their decision-making.

A reactive scenario is one in which a company waits to see how circumstances play out before deciding how to respond. You might have a company in the consumer electronics sector that has an opportunity to invest in new technology. Yet because management is afraid of taking a risk, they wait to see how the market responds to their competitors. They will only move if that response is good.

A proactive scenario is one that works just the opposite. Rather than waiting on market response, a proactive company gets out in front by investing in the technology right away. They do not wait for the market. Instead, they drive it.

Sensors are a tool for making decisions. The real benefit of modern sensor technology is that it allows companies to be more proactive. It allows them to develop strategies that translate into opportunities to steer the market.

Providing Better Products and Services

Proactive decision-making is the better option in the modern business environment because it leads to better products and services. Adopting a proactive decision-making mindset forces companies to think ahead. It forces them to anticipate what customers want so they can meet those needs when they eventually rise. Let us look at an example that proves the point.

You may have a data center that offers a 99.9% uptime guarantee. The laws of probability dictate that such a guarantee will be difficult to achieve if every decision made by management is a reactive one. Switch to a proactive mindset and things are different.

A proactive mindset would suggest installing sensors throughout the data center for the purposes of monitoring servers and predicting when they might fail. A successful sensor system provides the data necessary to address problem servers before they fail. The more failures are avoided, the more likely the data center will keep its promise of 99.9% uptime.

Sensors in 2019 have matured to the point of being valuable business tools for making decisions. Companies that figure out effective ways to utilize them are the same companies that will maintain the lead in their respective industries.

By Richard