Why metrology will be big in 2020 and beyond
During the scientific revolution, nations around the world agreed that there must be universal systems of measurement if the intercontinental trade of global economics was going to be a priority. Metrology was thus developed as the solution and is still honored for its role in the modernization of the world as we know it on National Metrology Day on May 20.
Metrology in simple terms is the study of measurement, or more precisely, it is the study of variations in measurement. It is the purpose of the metrologist to explore how or why these variations might occur. Academic circles of metrology may focus more on the philosophical elements of measurement, but business-minded metrology is a lynchpin in modern computational technology.
The National Metrology Act
The Metrology Act declares its policy: “to facilitate the development of scientific and technical knowledge and progress in the national economy by encouraging the standardization and modernization of units and standards of measurement to adapt to the needs of the times, thereby complying with international standards and protecting the health, interest and safety of every consumer and his environment from the harmful effects of inaccurate or false measurements.”
Why is Metrology Important?
Metrology may sound like a complicated term, and it is, but that does subtract from the truth that it is inseparable from our daily lives. When you go to the market and weigh the vegetables you want to purchase, when you fill up your gas tank and pay for the amount of gallons used, or when you read the back of a chip bag to read the nutritional information – all of these routines rely on metrology.
What makes metrology so interesting is that it actually becomes more important as you scale up any of these routines. It’s certainly important for the individual to not be overcharged (or undercharged for that matter) when filling up their gas tank. But when you consider the calculations involved in dispersing fuel tankers around the country, a slip up in measurement might not be a simple flub, and may instead spell financial ruin for the business involved in the mistake.
Quick Examples of the Far Reaching Importance of Metrology
The success of entire nations depends on the accurate calculations and tracking capabilities in managing imports and exports.
Satellite navigation is paired with international time correlation, which connects computers around the world in functional networks.
Physicians and health professionals rely on the surgical calibration of their instruments so they can properly read biofeedback and other data-on which millions of people rely.
Metrology is at the core of planet-altering efforts where the accurate measuring of greenhouse gases is crucial for determining patterns and developing solutions.
Metrology is also at the core of the American consumer’s experience. As companies are able to fine-tune infrastructure–such as in manufacturing supply lines – this allows them to offer more competitive prices, thereby passing on the savings to the consumer.
Perhaps the most promising application in metrology, however, is its ability to improve our ability to handle the titanic influx of data sets known as Big Data.
Why Metrology is the Key to Unlocking the Potential of Big Data
According to industry experts, big data has the following characteristics: high volume, high velocity or high variety. Beyond these features, new developments in technology infrastructures are driving rapidly increasing complexity in this data. For example, in 2020 data is retrieved through a variety of collection methods such as sensors, devices, video or audio, networks, transactional applications, web interactions, and social media platforms.
All of these different in-roads of data present new challenges in how to process the data. It is a similar problem in the farming industry when there is an excess of a crop but there is a bottleneck on the crop-processing side. In other words, big data is the crop and we have an excess of it – but without the means for processing it to the fullest benefit.
Metrology is the Key
As any mathematician will agree, as a data set increases in size so too does the potential for statistical deviation. In other words, with the influx of Big Data there is also the potential for making mistakes in our analytical processing of it. Thus removing statistical deviation from analyses of big data is the key to making the most of it in our economy. Thankfully this is exactly the role that metrology aims to play.
Metrology as an Orchestra of Big Data
Some industry experts have drawn the comparison between metrologists managing big data in the same way that musical instruments are managed in an orchestra. Each note and each instrument must be in the correct pattern and played within the correct measure in order for the music to arise. In the same way, in order for the true value of big data to come to light, big data should be parsed and organized by metrologists in this same way. This is an interesting comparison because it calls attention to the rising trend in the industry to consider metrology a form of art rather than a strict application of stark mathematics.
The Boom of Metrology Software
The evidence for the potential of these developments is already in the market. Metrology is combining with big data to revolutionize key industries such as large-scale manufacturing, shipping and freight logistics, and inventory management. Companies like Moxpage are working to develop metrology software which can simultaneously manage titanic inventories, track complex manufacturing chains, or organize intercontinental shipping routines – while also providing analytical data based on workflow and performance metrics.
When developed correctly metrology and big data can work together to form a closed loop of efficient infrastructure combined with data feedback capabilities to continuously optimize that infrastructure further and further. As our world continues to grow and more countries enter the global market, these developments will be irreplaceable in preventing economic waste and facilitating stable growth.