“Continuous Battery Monitoring is not Cost Effective.” – Pshaw!

Tom Shannon, Director Business Development, BatteryDAQ Monitoring Solutions

Overheard in 1987 – “The problem with Fax machines is that the guy on the other end needs one too.”

Overheard in 1994 – “Paying for a cell phone is a waste.  If you need to make a call, find a pay phone.”

Overheard in 2010 – “Continuous battery monitoring costs too much as compared to my battery string.”

Innovation creates change.  Those who create it are said to be visionaries.  Those who embrace it are said to be ahead of the curve.  Those who resist it are…normal?

Yes, normal. Believe it or not, the statements above were not out of place when they were pronounced. Heck, some attribute Bill Gates with proclaiming, “640K ought to be enough for anybody.”  Mr. Gates denies ever saying it, but certainly most of us who were around at the time probably thought along similar lines.  Would you like Proof?  Did you buy Microsoft stock?  If you did, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog.

The beautiful thing about innovation is that, in many cases, we can afford to wait for it to take hold before we take action.  I mean, it’s not like we missed the boat, when we let visionaries prove the concept of new technology. Or, did we?  It is all in perspective (or bias).  The United States Postal Service knew in the 1980s that “snail mail” was being dented by a new-fangled invention called the fax machine.  Then email became easier and easier.  What did the USPS do?  Pretty much nothing, while taking on huge obligations to its pension plan.  Today, nearly 90 percent of the cost of a stamp goes towards employee compensation, not infrastructure.  When you consider the humongous brick and mortar, and vehicle presence of the Post Office, that is a telling stat.

In most cases though, society jumped on board with innovations that made our lives simpler, and now enjoys Microsoft products, fax machines and cell/smart phones.  However, if you still refuse to use any of these items, well, the cartoon above may hold some meaning.

It is too early to tell whether continuous battery monitoring will ever be as common as cell phones, but monitoring backup power in central offices, and/or remote sites and cabinets, is no longer visionary.  Innovation has mandated implementation.

What’s that you say?  Many still believe battery monitoring is cost prohibitive?
Pshaw!  That’s right, pshaw!  There are two ways to look at this objection.  Both resolve the concern.

First: Excuse me for answering a question with a question, but why are batteries purchased for backup power?  Protection, right?  Protection against what?  The answer is most likely something similar to, “Catastrophic losses.” Catastrophic losses sound really expensive.

But, some remain steadfast in their belief that the chances of the batteries not working when needed is worth the risk.  The risk of catastrophic losses?  No way. No how.

If the risk of batteries not working is OK, why even buy them in the first place?  If the batteries are neglected, or only tested periodically, the protection purchased to defend against catastrophic losses pretty much equates to crossing your fingers. If backup power protects against catastrophic losses (even substantial losses), the investment in battery monitoring simply cannot be compared to the cost of the string of batteries.

The fact is, end-users who recognize the correct purpose of battery backup power never mentioned this concern, at any time, during the evaluation process.  But, why would they, when the technology available today, and its deployment cost, make the investment a “no-brainer”.

The correct equation is the addition of control and confidence as compared to the risk of losses.

Second: Remember when I stated that innovation creates change?  Well, the innovation that has recently occurred in continuous battery monitoring, either at centralized locations, or at remote locations, is now not only affordable, but can also be a cost saving practice.

Most BMS manufacturer associates can help develop a strong financial analysis and are ready and eager to learn more about your procedures, applications, and configurations. Implementing continuous battery monitoring will not demand change to day to day operations, but it will enhance processes and eliminate waste.

For example, in almost every instance, savings will be created from:

  • Trended knowledge of battery health
  • Targeted truck rolls
  • Eliminated redundant visits
  • Time reduction for service
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Vehicle wear
  • Emergency visits
  • Incorrect test results
  • Extended battery service life
  • Accurate budgeting
  • Increased warranty claims
  • Formatted reporting
  • Streamlined recovery activities

Truly, without much effort, the case for battery monitoring makes itself. Even further, battery monitors have become easy to install are also easier to install, understand and analyze. Battery monitoring is now mainstream and a best practice. Control and confidence over backup power preparedness and protection against catastrophic losses is now complete.

Tom Shannon is the Director Business Development for BatteryDAQ Monitoring Solutions.  He can be contacted at tom.shannon@batterydaq.com.