Preventive Maintenance vs Predictive Maintenance for Smart Infrastructure

Shariq Ansari
March 16, 2024
5 mins to read
worker fixing a streetlight

In the rapidly evolving landscape of smart infrastructure, the maintenance strategies employed to ensure reliability, efficiency, and longevity of assets have become increasingly sophisticated. Two key methodologies that have emerged at the forefront are Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Predictive Maintenance (PdM). Both approaches play critical roles in the maintenance ecosystem of smart infrastructure, but they operate on distinct principles and offer different advantages and challenges. This blog delves into the nuances of Preventive Maintenance versus Predictive Maintenance, providing a comprehensive understanding that can guide infrastructure managers in selecting the most appropriate strategy for their operations.

Introduction to Smart Infrastructure Maintenance

Smart infrastructure encompasses a wide range of systems and assets, including buildings, transportation networks, utilities, and manufacturing facilities, integrated with digital technologies for enhanced performance and monitoring. The maintenance of such infrastructure is pivotal not only for operational efficiency but also for safety, sustainability, and cost management. As such, the choice between Preventive and Predictive Maintenance is not merely a technical decision but a strategic one.

Preventive Maintenance (PM)

Preventive Maintenance refers to the scheduled maintenance of assets to prevent potential failures before they occur. This approach is time-based or usage-based, with maintenance activities carried out at predetermined intervals. The rationale behind PM is to mitigate the risk of unexpected breakdowns and extend the lifespan of assets.

Advantages of PM:

  • Simplicity and Predictability: PM schedules are straightforward to implement and allow for easy planning and budgeting.
  • Reduction in Unscheduled Downtime: Regular maintenance can decrease the likelihood of unexpected failures.
  • Compliance with Standards: PM helps ensure compliance with safety and operational standards.

Challenges of PM:

  • Potential for Over-Maintenance: Maintenance may be performed more frequently than necessary, leading to wasted resources.
  • Missed Failure Modes: Scheduled maintenance may not detect all types of failures, especially those that develop rapidly between intervals.

Predictive Maintenance (PdM)

Predictive Maintenance, on the other hand, leverages data analytics, machine learning, and IoT technologies to predict failures before they occur. By continuously monitoring the condition of equipment and analyzing data trends, PdM can forecast when a piece of equipment is likely to fail and schedule maintenance just in time to prevent the failure.

Advantages of PdM:

  • Optimization of Maintenance Schedules: Maintenance is performed only when necessary, reducing unnecessary interventions and associated costs.
  • Increased Asset Lifespan: By preventing excessive wear and tear, PdM can extend the operational life of infrastructure components.
  • Improved Safety and Reliability: Real-time monitoring and predictive analytics can identify risks before they lead to failures, enhancing overall safety and reliability.

Challenges of PdM:

  • Complexity and Cost of Implementation: PdM requires significant investment in sensors, data analytics platforms, and skilled personnel.
  • Data Management: The effectiveness of PdM depends on the quality and quantity of data collected, necessitating robust data management strategies.

Comparing PM and PdM in Smart Infrastructure

The choice between PM and PdM is influenced by various factors, including the criticality of assets, budget constraints, and the availability of data for analytics. While PM offers a simpler, more predictable approach, it may not be as efficient or cost-effective as PdM in the long term, especially for critical or expensive assets where unexpected failures can have severe consequences.

PdM, with its reliance on real-time data and analytics, is particularly well-suited to smart infrastructure, where digital integration is a defining characteristic. It offers the potential for significant cost savings, improved safety, and enhanced performance. However, the initial investment and technical complexity involved in establishing a PdM system can be considerable.

Integration of PM and PdM

In practice, the most effective maintenance strategy for smart infrastructure may involve a hybrid approach, integrating both Preventive and Predictive Maintenance. Routine PM can ensure that basic maintenance needs are met, while PdM can be reserved for more critical or complex components where the potential for cost savings and performance improvements is greatest.

Future Directions in Smart Infrastructure Maintenance

The future of smart infrastructure maintenance is likely to see a greater emphasis on Predictive Maintenance as technologies continue to advance and become more accessible. Innovations in AI, machine learning, and IoT devices will enhance the accuracy and efficiency of PdM strategies, making it easier for infrastructure managers to predict and prevent failures.

Moreover, the integration of digital twin technologies, where a virtual replica of the physical infrastructure is created and analyzed, could revolutionize maintenance strategies. By simulating the effects of different maintenance scenarios, infrastructure managers can make more informed decisions, further optimizing maintenance schedules and operations.


The maintenance of smart infrastructure requires a strategic approach that balances cost, efficiency, safety, and reliability. While Preventive Maintenance offers simplicity and predictability, Predictive Maintenance provides a more targeted, data-driven approach that can yield significant advantages in terms of cost savings, safety, and asset longevity. For many organizations, a hybrid strategy that leverages the strengths of both PM and PdM will be the most effective way to ensure the long-term sustainability and performance of their smart infrastructure assets. As technology continues to evolve, the potential for predictive analytics to transform infrastructure maintenance is vast, promising a future where maintenance is not just responsive but anticipatory, driven by data and insights that enable truly smart infrastructure management.

Get In Touch
Download Now
Share this post
Shariq Ansari
Digital Marketeer
“Using Grid to track drill program progress and day to day expenditures has allowed VR Resources to make better decisions more quickly. The highly customizable and elegant interface allows me to track and manage all aspects of our field work and it’s clear after just a few weeks that the possibilities are nearly endless. Cost tracking estimates were consistently within expected variance of invoices received giving me further confidence in managing agile drill programs. Further the development team and customer support have been top notch!”
Justin J. Daley
PGeo, MSc, Vice President Exploration
VR Resources
VR Resources
“Grid has been extremely helpful in changing the course of multiple operations, here at U-Solar. We started with one module for Materials Management, and have now adopted Grid for 3-4 more processes, all of which have been smooth and quick to implement.”
IT Admin
“GRID has helped Hotel Polo Towers group to manage their assets and inventory through its simple, user-friendly yet dynamic application. Managing asset data have really been simple and it goes without saying that the technical support team members have done a tremendous job by providing quick and effective troubleshooting measures whenever required.”
Anirban Chatterjee
IT Manager - Corporate
Hotel Polo Towers
Hotel Polo Towers
Only business email addresses are allowed.