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Sensor systems

Home > What we do > Sensing, imaging, IoT > Sensor systems

It’s the system, not just the sensor

The ‘sensor’ part of what we do is important, but that is just one small piece of the jigsaw. We look at the whole system – the interconnected elements that returns not just data, but the actionable information that drives major business decision making.

The ‘CENSIS stack’ explains the different elements that comprise a complete sensor system and shows how the different elements interact with each other to generate value.

Regardless of the end market or application area, the principle remains the same: to sense, measure, communicate, process and act upon valuable information.

With this information, organisations will be better informed to:

  • Create new products or service offerings
  • Drive major business improvements
  • Make significant cost savings

We use sensor systems technologies to underpin economic growth in Scotland and beyond, drive productivity improvements and create high value jobs.

Explaining the CENSIS stack

Reading from the bottom of the diagram:

1   Sensors

In the first layer of the stack at the foot of the diagram, sensors detect and measure change; but the data they capture can mean very little until it is set in context of their operational environment.

2   Microcontrollers, edge and embedded computing

As we move up through the layers of the stack, the sensor data measurements are converted to signals. They are then processed to ensure the business-critical data is prioritised.

3   Communications, networking and wireless technologies

Different communications networks are available to transfer the data securely; the right one for you will depend on what you are measuring; 4G/5G, WiFi or one of the new long-range low-power networks that support large scale IoT applications.

4   Data repository

Whatever comms network is used, the data is securely stored, managed, organised and usually further analysed.

5   Analysis and post processing

The data is now converted into the information that can influence a business decision.

6   Visualisation and presentation

The final information is normally presented on a dashboard or via an app, allowing the user to see real time results, historic data, and trends that have emerged over time in hours, weeks or months.

The CENSIS IoT Stack

Click on the diagram to enlarge


The underlying value of the system lies not just in capturing data, but in transforming it into meaningful and actionable information, allowing businesses to:

  • Assess the significance of what they are gathering
  • Use it to gain stronger insights
  • Act with authority and confidence on results presented to them.

Take a look at organisations we have worked with