Telemetry is the automation of communication processes from multiple data sources. It involves automated sensing, data measurement, and control of remote devices. The core aspect of telemetry is the transmission of data from devices to a central control point. Telemetry also encompasses sending configuration and control information to devices.
The telemetric medium varies depending on the application; data may be relayed using radio, infrared, ultrasonic, GSM, satellite, or cable. Software development, meteorology, intelligence, medicine, and many other fields use some form of telemetric technology to gather and transmit data.
Telemetry can be used in the biological, environmental, or physical world, collecting and transmitting information for research and monitoring. Telemetry is widely applied in medicine in the form of mobile cardiac telemetry (MCT), which enables the remote monitoring of patients who might potentially be at risk for a serious heart condition.
In software development, telemetry can be used to provide insights regarding feature popularity with end users, to obtain business metrics, to yield better visibility into performance without the need to solicit feedback directly from users, as well as to detect and diagnose bugs and issues.
Product teams commonly refer to telemetric data to implement improvements to customer experience. But while the collection and analysis of telemetric data from users’ devices is regularly performed by many software companies to improve their services, one of the major disadvantages of this process is that it poses significant risks to users’ privacy.
Cloud telemetry uses software tools to collect and analyze normally difficult-to-access information regarding IT infrastructure. Telemetry gives IT professionals the ability to observe components and monitor applications comprehensively, providing metrics that track performance, security, reliability, utilization, energy consumption, TCO, and more.
Telemetry can also generate insights to help IT teams in the management of evolving capacity requirements and assessment of infrastructure efficiency. AI and predictive analytics in cloud telemetry have the capability to predict failures and other issues, as well as implement fixes without human involvement when possible, which advances the potential for fully autonomous data centers.
Department of Defense (DoD) test programs use telemetry data collection to support measurement, verification, and validation of system performance, making it an integral part of testing processes at ATEC (Army Test and Evaluation Command) test centers. Telemetry data is collected from airborne and ground vehicles in order to monitor and assess their health and status (e.g., temperature, 1553 bus data, video, pressure, power, vehicle dynamics, etc.).
Telemetry provides real-time information on test performance and recorded information for post-flight data analyses. Telemetry systems can be used in the tracking of missiles, rockets, munition, helicopters, airplanes, airdrop packages, or ground vehicles, collecting and processing critical test and evaluation data for Army Program Executive Offices and various other ATEC test center customers.
Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM MQ Telemetry, Intel Telemetry Collector (ITC), and New Relic Telemetry Data Platform are some of the major telemetry platforms available on the market.
IBM has built a proprietary telemetric platform, IBM MQ, to develop solutions for use in data collection and enterprise-grade applications that monitor and control devices. IBM MQ has found applications in:
- Home patient monitoring
- Home energy monitoring and control
- Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
- Environment sensing
- Mobile applications
Other telemetry platforms offer similar application possibilities, meaning that the listed examples may illustrate telemetry use cases in general.
IBM has collaborated with a healthcare provider on a cardiac patient care system—an implanted cardioverter defibrillator that sends data about the device and the patient to a hospital.
Smart meters are integrated into local telemetry networks to monitor and control home appliances, also remotely.
RFID is used in a large variety of applications, with prominent use in retail, to improve inventory accuracy, store operations, tracking of in-store traffic patterns, checkout processes, theft detection and prevention, item tracking, automatic reordering, and removal of formal inventory counts. RFID systems use electromagnetic fields to identify and track tags that are attached to objects or embedded within them as hangtags or stickers, using specialized reader devices for this purpose.
Environment sensing employs telemetry for the purpose of collecting data about water levels and quality in rivers, atmospheric pollutants, and other environmental data.
Telemetry is used in wireless device applications—in generic application platforms as well as custom devices.