Monthly Archives: July 2013

The central role of telemetry in many fields of human endeavour

Since the emergence of telemetering over wire in the 19th century, followed by the development of progressively meaningful wireless telemetry systems over the next century or so, telemetry has not merely existed to assist the running of plant and equipment. Nor has it solely had value in achieving financial efficiency. What Oriel Systems ( would instead like to emphasise in this article is the role that telemetry has had in shaping the present world in which all of its clients and non-clients live, work and play.

It is telemetry solutions, for example, that have made it possible for everyday people to be better informed about the coming weather in their localities, with weather balloons having used the technology to transmit meteorological data since 1920. Telemetry has also greatly modernised agriculture, given the need for weather and soil data to be delivered in a timely manner if healthy crops and good yields are to be consistently achieved. In the latter case, wireless weather stations transmit vital parameters, such as air temperature, precipitation, wind speed and soil moisture, to the achievement of such ends as precision irrigation and disease prevention.

Remote data acquisition has also been integral to fishery and wildlife research and management, with threatened species being monitored at the individual level. Instrumentation tags are fitted to animals under study so that the likes of temperature, diving depth and duration can be measured. Through telemetry tags, researchers can learn more about an animal’s environment, behaviour and functions. Archival tags can then be used to store this information, or the information can be transmitted to a satellite or handheld receiving device.

Testing environments where there is a need for close observation, but the presence of humans in close proximity would be dangerous, such as volcanoes, radioactive sites or munitions-storage facilities, also see the use of remote monitoring systems. They can be invaluable in making measurements in places that are generally inaccessible to humans, such as deep in the ocean or in space. Indeed, space science has long been another key frontier for telemetry, being used for data transmission by manned or unmanned spacecraft and covering distances exceeding 10 billion kilometres.

Data is frequently collected from spacecraft and satellites by space agencies like the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, via telemetry and/or telecommand systems. There are so many more examples of the areas in which solutions like telemetry software have played an integral role in furthering human achievement and broader society, from rocketry, military intelligence and medicine to communications, resource distribution and motor racing.

With its own highly concentrated areas of expertise in the water, chemical, printing and oil and gas industries, Oriel Systems ( takes pride in its continuing contributions to making telemetry more powerful, flexible and suitable to the broadest range of professional and industry requirements.


The sometimes unexpected role of telemetry in sport

Many prospective and current clients alike of Oriel Systems’ ( remote inventory monitoring solutions are likely to be following the latest goings-on at the 2013 Tour de France – but not all of them may be aware of the reports earlier in June of work being done on a telemetry system to make real-time data accessible to TV audiences. The technology wasn’t ready in time for the 100th Tour de France, but it is thought that live figures and statistics could be streamed for the first time at Paris-Tours in mid-October, according to a BikeRadar report.

The idea is to use such telemetry systems for the collection of real-time data on the speed and position of riders in the peloton, enabling it to be fed directly to TV stations for the benefit of audiences. If the trials are a success, viewers could soon be perusing statistics on the hardest working riders and which team members have been on the front of the peloton for longest. Speculation began when operatives were seen cable-tying cadence sensor-size units to the undercarriage of team saddles at the stage start of the Criterium du Dauphine in Grésy-sur-Aix.

Although the operatives were not forthcoming about the exact nature of their activities, it was later confirmed that work was being done alongside Tour de France organisers, ASO on the first stage trials of the GPS-based technology. Audiences and commentators alike will be hoping for the successful implementation of such a data acquisition system, given that it could result in accessible information not only on the amount of time spent on the front by riders, but also hard working domestiques doing bottle runs returning to team cars and how cohesive certain teams are when riding in a group in the peloton. Team managers may also appreciate data on the work rate and positioning of their riders.

This is not the first time the broadcasting of in-race data to audiences has been trialled. It used to be possible for commentators to access selected participants’ heart rate data during races, while the 2005 Tour de France saw the fitting of GPS units to the bikes of selected riders. But none of these previous measures have stuck, with sports fans perhaps more aware of the application of remote monitoring systems in Formula One. Throughout motorsport, telemetry remains invaluable for race engineers interested in tuning a car for optimum performance, making the most of data collected during a test or race. Two-way telemetry, for instance, allows for calibrations on a car to be updated in real time, even when the car is out on the track. Telemetry has also been used in yacht racing.

Of course, as exotic as such technologies can seem, clients of Oriel Systems ( customarily require a telemetry installation for a rather different kind of competitiveness. More specifically, they require industry competitiveness as achieved through a cost-effective, reliable and scalable system tailored to their exact needs, whether they are in the oil and gas, printing, water or chemical industries.