• Ken Sills

The Unexpected Cost Of False Positives (Alarms)

Updated: Oct 28, 2019


False alarms can do considerable damage your business in the long-term

Understandably, it is more cost-effective to fix a problem early before progressive damage occurs. It is crucial to determine at an early stage if there is, in fact, a problem to begin with, as relying on false positives (also known as false alarms), can carry an unexpected cost.


In vehicle prognostics, a false alarm is an inaccurate detection of a problem. This detection generally comes in the form of a fault (trouble) code and suggests a pending failure caused by evidence that would be considered incorrect.


While you may prefer to err on the side of caution and be tempted to believe it is more cost-effective to do a maintenance check-up in response to a false positive just to be on the safe side, you should also be aware of the potential downfalls of the 'better to be safe than sorry' approach.


Unfortunately, false alarms can give rise to an abundance of accelerated costs that you may not have accounted for. As expected, these costs would include repairing the vehicle and associated bills, as well as extra maintenance costs (including labor costs). Furthermore, the damage arising from false alarms can add lost production and revenue, as well as damage to your reputation due to creating delays for your customer. You could then end up losing some of your business to a competitor, which could do permanent and irreversible damage to your image. In other words, a simple false positive could lead to significant economic deterioration.


You may also end up replacing a good part of your vehicle unnecessarily, which maximizes the cost you ultimately have to spend to fix it. Not only have you lost a piece of equipment that was in perfect working condition, but you have caused undue damage and delay to your existing fleet by repairing something which never required repairing in the first place. It is both expensive and wasteful.


Furthermore, if false alarm rates are high and occur often, this can increase the number of delays to your business. In other words, even if regular false positives do not amount to worst-case scenarios, you are already expending and losing money due to the unnecessary check-ups which shouldn’t have arisen in the first place. Every false alarm generated in your system will need to be studied and analyzed, which automatically adds to the man-hours which could be better spent in your company or business. It is therefore important to avoid the unnecessary costs arising from a false positive right from the outset.


However, perhaps the largest threat to your business is the potential to overlook real and genuine risks to your vehicles while fixating on false positives which have distracted you from more pressing issues. Alternatively, if a recurring issue is regularly deemed to be a false positive when the alert is genuine, your team might be more inclined to dismiss it as another false alarm.


Whether you prefer the 'better to be safe than sorry' approach or not, at the end of the day, you would want to avoid these costly scenarios entirely. And that’s where Preteckt comes in.


About Preteckt

Preteckt’s uniqueness stems from its ability to analyze raw sensor data using a machine learning architecture and real-time validation. In practical terms, Preteckt efficiently diagnoses vehicles accurately with very low false-alarms (positives).


To learn more about Preteckt, click here. To find out more how our expert team can help you, contact us today.

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