Posted on

Swift Sensors Adds Water-Resistant Power Over Ethernet Bridge for Wet and Harsh Environments

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Swift Sensors, Inc., a supplier of plug-and-play cloud-based wireless sensor systems for Industrial IoT, has released a water-resistant Power over Ethernet (PoE) bridge for use in manufacturing plants, restaurants and other spaces where water, cleaning solutions and other chemicals come into contact with monitoring equipment.

“Many of our industrial customers have requested a water-resistant PoE bridge, specifically for use in wet and harsh environments,” said Ray Almgren, COO of Swift Sensors. “Our new bridge delivers a ruggedized and cost-effective IoT networking solution for applications such as industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, wastewater treatment facilities, refineries and restaurants.”

The Swift Sensors PoE Standard Bridge 1011 is built to withstand washdown procedures and exposure to chemicals. Key features include:

  • an IP54-rated dust- and water-resistant enclosure to protect against ingress from all directions.
  • a space-saving, mountable design and form factor used in Swift Sensors 1020 and 1030 bridges.
  • a single cable for power and ethernet to eliminate the need for additional hardwiring and to ensure a consistent power supply.
  • Compliant with Active 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards for use in PoE systems.
  • 256-bit AES enterprise encryption to deliver the same level of security found in all Swift Sensors bridges.

Swift Sensors wireless system gives plant and restaurant managers a digital view of their facility with precise measurements, notifications, shift performance and more. This data, analysis and reporting improves the operational output and productivity of manufacturers and food service providers, even under harsh conditions.

About Swift Sensors

Swift Sensors is a cloud-based wireless IoT company in Austin providing a low-cost sensor solution for industrial and commercial applications. Its flagship product, the Swift Sensors Cloud Wireless Sensor System, combines low-power wireless sensors with cloud-based monitoring, notifications, analytics and reporting to monitor and protect equipment and processes for customers in manufacturing, food service, facility management, cold chain, transportation and agriculture. www.swiftsensors.com.

Contacts
Media Contact:
Bonnie Moss
Moss Networks
[email protected]
(818) 995-8127

Swift Sensors
[email protected]
+1 512-256-7552

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Swift Sensors Adds Water-Resistant Power Over Ethernet Bridge for Wet and Harsh Environments

AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Swift Sensors, Inc., a supplier of plug-and-play cloud-based wireless sensor systems for Industrial IoT, has released a water-resistant Power over Ethernet (PoE) bridge for use in manufacturing plants, restaurants and other spaces where water, cleaning solutions and other chemicals come into contact with monitoring equipment.

“Many of our industrial customers have requested a water-resistant PoE bridge, specifically for use in wet and harsh environments,” said Ray Almgren, COO of Swift Sensors. “Our new bridge delivers a ruggedized and cost-effective IoT networking solution for applications such as industrial manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food and beverage manufacturing, wastewater treatment facilities, refineries and restaurants.”

The Swift Sensors PoE Standard Bridge 1011 is built to withstand washdown procedures and exposure to chemicals. Key features include:

  • an IP54-rated dust- and water-resistant enclosure to protect against ingress from all directions.
  • a space-saving, mountable design and form factor used in Swift Sensors 1020 and 1030 bridges.
  • a single cable for power and ethernet to eliminate the need for additional hardwiring and to ensure a consistent power supply.
  • Compliant with Active 802.3af and 802.3at PoE standards for use in PoE systems.
  • 256-bit AES enterprise encryption to deliver the same level of security found in all Swift Sensors bridges.

Swift Sensors wireless system gives plant and restaurant managers a digital view of their facility with precise measurements, notifications, shift performance and more. This data, analysis and reporting improves the operational output and productivity of manufacturers and food service providers, even under harsh conditions.

About Swift Sensors

Swift Sensors is a cloud-based wireless IoT company in Austin providing a low-cost sensor solution for industrial and commercial applications. Its flagship product, the Swift Sensors Cloud Wireless Sensor System, combines low-power wireless sensors with cloud-based monitoring, notifications, analytics and reporting to monitor and protect equipment and processes for customers in manufacturing, food service, facility management, cold chain, transportation and agriculture. www.swiftsensors.com.

Contacts
Media Contact:
Bonnie Moss
Moss Networks
[email protected]
(818) 995-8127

Swift Sensors
[email protected]
+1 512-256-7552

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

NanoLock Security and Adesto® Collaborate to Deliver Powerful Flash-to-Cloud Security for IoT Devices

Nitzanei Oz, Israel – February 19, 2020 – NanoLock Security, the market leader of flash-to-cloud protection for IoT and connected edge devices, announced it is joining with Adesto Technologies Corp. (NASDAQ: IOTS) to collaborate on flash-based embedded security and management solutions for low-density flash memory devices used in products such as smart meters, sensors and controllers in smart energy, water utilities, industrial facilities and more.

The Adesto and NanoLock solution provides a hardware root-of-trust in the device’s flash memory that blocks unauthorized modifications to prevent persistent control of the device. The control of flash updates is moved from the vulnerable remote edge device to a trusted entity in the utility data center, ensuring that only validated commands and updates will modify the flash. In addition, the hardware root-of-trust provides reliable and valuable data such as attack alerts, status reports, and detailed forensic data.

The solution is particularly important for critical infrastructure, where threats can come from various attack sources, e.g., outsider attacks (such as state-level attackers), insider attacks, and off-shore supply chain attacks. To keep infrastructure safe, it is crucial that remote connected devices, such as smart meters, are protected throughout their entire lifecycle from production line to end-of-life.

NanoLock’s technology protects connected edge devices from the moment they are created on a factory floor by prohibiting malicious code from being written into the flash, and provides protection and monitoring throughout the device’s entire lifecycle. This approach is both processor-and operating system-agnostic and requires virtually zero system processing power, which is critical for power-sensitive IoT devices.

“The addition of NanoLock’s flash-to-cloud security and management technology to our flash memory devices can provide robust, device-level defense and trustworthy management for a wide range of low-density IoT devices from smart meters to door locks,” said Graham Loveridge, VP marketing, semiconductor products, Adesto. “Traditionally, providing this level of security in low-density flash devices has been a challenge. We’re excited to team with NanoLock to show that we can provide it at an attractive price point.”

“NanoLock’s patented technology alongside Adesto’s novel flash technology delivers an important additional layer of protection and monitoring for utilities and industrial companies,” said Eran Fine, NanoLock CEO. “Through our alliance with Adesto, we are able to seamlessly secure a variety of IoT devices, such as smart meters, controllers and sensors, to bring new levels of protection and control to connected infrastructure.”

About NanoLock Security
NanoLock Security protects IoT and connected edge devices against persistent cyberattacks by insiders, outsiders and supply chain attackers. NanoLock provides a device-level, Security by Design solution with powerful flash-to-cloud defense that secures the entire chain of device vulnerability–from deeply embedded endpoints in the device, to the cloud– with no additional device costs and zero computing power. NanoLock’s patented technology is securing a root-of-trust in the flash memory from leading memory vendors¸ disrupting edge device security with ironclad protection¸ secured firmware updates¸ reliable device-level alerts and a unique cost structure that shifts security investments from CAPEX to OPEX. NanoLock’s robust protection and device-level control is crucial to the success of industries like telecom, smart cities¸ utilities¸ industrial, automotive and more. NanoLock Security is the 2019 winner of the prestigious “4YFN Barcelona Startup of the Year” award.

NanoLock’s founding team and senior management is made up of veterans from the cybersecurity domain, representing a wealth of deep knowledge about management and security of next generation edge devices. NanoLock has offices in the United States, Israel and Japan.

Please visit www.nanolocksecurity.com for more information and follow NanoLock on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Adesto
Adesto Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:IOTS) is a leading provider of innovative application-specific semiconductors and embedded systems for the IoT. The company’s technology is used by more than 5,000 customers worldwide who are creating differentiated solutions across industrial, consumer, medical and communications markets. With its growing portfolio of high-value technologies, Adesto is helping its customers usher in the era of the Internet of Things. See: www.adestotech.com.

Adesto is a trademark or registered trademark of Adesto Technologies Corporation in the United States and other countries.  

Press Contact:
Caster Communications, Inc., 401-792-7080
Alex Crabb, [email protected]
Alex Gil, [email protected]
Meredith Shubel, [email protected]

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

12 Industrial IoT Companies You Should Know

As the industrial IoT market continues to expand at rapid rates, companies across the world are reaping the benefits. Utilizing this growing network of tools and systems, businesses have been able to prevent costly downtime, decrease product development costs, enhance customer engagement and satisfaction and acquire and implement intelligent data for strategic planning purposes. 

The potential benefits are seemingly endless, and the list of organizations that are embracing this industrial revolution is continuing to grow, so let’s highlight some of the main IIoT companies you need to know for a number of the most common IIoT use cases.

IIoT Use Cases

Predictive Maintenance

One of the leading use cases for IIoT is predictive maintenance. Imagine being able to predict and prevent machine failures before they occur. Think of all of the costs and downtime that could be avoided with strategic maintenance that’s implemented at key intervals to maintain uninterrupted production. Relying on advanced analytics to identify and eliminate potential issues, IIoT has been a game-changer in the equipment monitoring sector. 

  • Augury – For Augury, machine health is the mission driving their IIoT technology. Monitoring over 70,000 machines, Augury is helping companies identify and uncover blind spots in their maintenance practices and empower businesses with vital information so they can be proactive in diagnosing and repairing equipment before reaching a point of failure. Like other IIoT companies, Augury employs artificial intelligence to run complex algorithms that compare machine signals across a vast network to predict malfunctions and provide actionable alerts when issues are detected.
  • Uptake – Uptake IIoT technology has been implemented in an expansive range of industries including mining, energy, agriculture, construction and beyond. Utilizing data extracted from machine sensors and maintenance reports, Uptake’s machine learning algorithms are able to analyze and interpret complex information to identify anomalies in standard equipment operation and foresee upcoming failures. This predictive data allows companies and operators to prevent costly malfunctions before they occur.
  • C3 IoT – C3 Predictive Maintenance is helping foresee asset failures in equipment across a wide variety of industry sectors including aircraft systems, oil extraction sites, substation machinery and more. With their broad suite of IIoT tools, C3 is able to utilize failure prediction algorithms to assess potential threats in real-time. These advanced diagnostics and projections can then be visualized, allowing for the ability to track machine performance over time and improve strategic planning in the future. 

Asset Tracking and Monitoring

Another area where IIoT is making waves revolves around asset tracking and monitoring. In today’s modern age, information is key and there’s an increasing demand for digital data that allow companies to track and monitor assets in real-time. Here are some of the industry leaders who are leveraging IIoT to provide powerful information to businesses of all sizes. 

  • Roambee – Using a robust system of automated smart sensors and cloud data analytics, Roambee offers companies the ability to track shipments and inventory on the fly, with access to real-time location and condition reports across a global network. This enhanced visibility provides businesses the chance to track and monitor their assets with ease and helps create a truly digital supply chain.
  • Konux – Artificial intelligence and IIoT sensors integrate seamlessly in the KONUX system to make insights more readily available for companies. Primarily employed in the rail industry, KONUX IIoT systems pull critical information from a wide range of source points to help track and monitor assets for optimal utilization. When used to monitor railway switches, the KONUX system is able to track and analyze asset usage 24/7, and this information can then be used to streamline maintenance protocols, implement quality checks and predict product conditions into the future.
  • ShooftechBy essentially creating “smart” assets, Shooftech is capitalizing on IIoT to revolutionize the logistics sector. With their innovative wireless technology, Shooftech is able to transmit data across a vast cloud network to provide low-cost and scalable asset tracking and monitoring to businesses large and small. 

Smart Grid

Relying on a network of smart meters, substations, transmission lines and more, the Smart Grid is essentially the modern evolution of a standard electric grid. It can be used to remotely track and monitor everything from energy usage and traffic congestion to power surges and extreme weather events. It’s being utilized to restore electricity during outages, optimize energy usage, eliminate waste and better implement power generation systems for businesses and homeowners. Many companies have developed innovative tools to leverage the powerful offerings of the Smart Grid. Below are some key players in this space.

  • Landis + GyrLandis+Gyr provides energy management solutions to utility companies across the globe. With an advanced metering infrastructure and industry-leading smart grid technology, Landis+Gyr has helped more than 3,500 businesses reduce energy costs, monitor and streamline their usage, integrate renewable technology and more. 
  • AclaraAclara is helping companies implement smarts meters, sensors and controls and harness the power of the Smart Grid. Partnering with more than 1,000 gas, water and electrical utilities world-wide, Aclara provides software and hardware solutions to create a comprehensive communications network that provides companies with the information needed to streamline their systems and better utilize vital resources. 
  • Itron – “Cut public lighting energy use by 30 percent over 10 years”. This is just one of Itron’s visionary goals for the city of Paris, and it’s using the power of the Smart Grid to turn this vision into a reality. Itron is helping cities and companies optimize their water and energy use, while also positioning them to better recover in the event of a natural disaster. Employed in more than 100 countries, Itron is working to create smart cities that can track, forecast and optimize their utilities in hopes of limiting waste and providing more efficient and effective power solutions. 

Fleet Management

Fleet management in the age of IoT revolves around automated systems and processes to streamline trip planning, minimize downed vehicles, plan and execute maintenance operations and much more. As the integration of smart devices in vehicles become more of an industry standard, and as automated driving becomes more prevalent in cars and trucks, it’s no wonder that we’ve seen a rapid expansion of the IoT fleet management market. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the big names who’ve played a part in shaping the modern fleet management landscape.

  • Fleetmatics – Owned by Verizon, Fleetmatic offers a host of smart tools to monitor and manage fleet vehicles. They provide advanced GPS tracking software that works with smart hardware to visualize vehicle locations and communicate delays in real-time. This information can then be used to optimize routes, limit fuel costs and analyze fleet performance over time.
  • Omnitracs – Omnitracs provides a comprehensive platform of fleet tracking tools that help companies manage trips, maximize cargo capacity, customize forms and travel plans and more. These tools can be leveraged to enhance fleet safety, improve efficiency, monitor drivers and assets and ensure continued compliance with regulatory standards.
  • Samsara – Samsara has a number of fleet management solutions ranging from cellular gateways and dashcams to wireless sensors and a robust mobile app. With an emphasis on safety, efficiency and quality, Samsara tools not only help track and monitor drivers and vehicles in real-time, but they can be used to reduce operating costs and expand fleet size by forecasting optimal vehicle usage.

Written by Bryan Rosenberger, Director of Operations, R and R manufacturing
Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Sewio Introduces an Infographic on Expectations vs. the Reality in Industry 4.0 Digitalization

Digitalization and Industry 4.0 still remain a frequent topic in 2020, but the technologies, methodologies and processes that it enables are still only being embraced by early adopters. Sewio’s newest infographic uses up-to-date data from early adopters to answer the following questions on a single sheet:

  • WHO drives change in digital transformation?
  • WHICH use cases are the most requested compared to those that make it to reality?
  • WHAT use cases have shown proven ROI in the real world?
  • WHY do organizations cover these use cases and what were their success metrics?
  • HOW long does the process last and which steps lead to customer success?

The infographic begins with a breakdown of the job titles of the people who are driving digital transformation in their companies. In the second graph, the percentage of use cases required are easy to compare with the percentage of use cases that really make it to fruition. The third part of the infographic lists eight different projects and their main objectives and metrics that have been achieved in the top five use cases. Finally, the infographic shows a timeline of the overall process of digitalization with the average times of each phase.

“We are glad to be able to share these fresh insights with our ecosystem and the global community to contribute to the evangelization of digital transformation. This process is enabling companies to achieve greater efficiency, profitability, and, most importantly, safety,” notes Petr Passinger, CMO at Sewio Networks.

To view the infographic and download its different language versions, visit: http://www.sewio.net/infographic-industry-4-0-expectations-vs-reality/

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Assessing and Addressing the Industrial Skills Gap

As technological innovation gains momentum, digital skills gaps may widen. Eventually, if not addressed, digital skills gaps could stunt growth and slow innovation. Intel recently released a study that delves into manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and hurdles to future-proofing a business, including skills gaps or skills shortages.

Skills that are critical today may be different than those that are critical in the future. For instance, basic programming and software engineering, communication skills, traditional IT skills, and the ability to innovate (brainstorm, etc.) are valuable today, but, according to Intel, future critical skills will be more along the lines of deep programming and software engineering, digital dexterity, data science, connectivity, and cybersecurity.

Intel’s “Accelerate Industrial” study included interviews with more than 400 manufacturers and ecosystem technologists that support them. The research uncovered a skills gap that Intel says too many training programs and government investment initiatives are currently failing to address. In 2018, Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute released a report on the skills gap and the future of work. The research report predicted the skills gap in manufacturing would lead to 2.4 million unfilled positions between 2018 and 2028. It’s not just open jobs either; it’s a lack of skilled workers to step into those roles that make the situation even more difficult for industrial companies.

The Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute report projected the problem will get worse in the next several years, as many participating companies said they expect it to be three times as difficult to fill highly skilled positions at their companies in the next three years. Such roles include digital talent, skilled production, and operational managers. Economically, the study suggests by 2028, the talent shortage/skills gap in manufacturing could put more than $450 billion at risk if qualified workers don’ step up to fill these jobs.

While the IIoT (industrial Internet of Things) is becoming more accessible than ever before, the Accelerate Industrial study says two of three companies piloting digital manufacturing solutions fail to move into large-scale rollout. One in every three respondents (36%) cites “technical skill gaps” that prevent them from benefiting from their investment as a top challenge. A quarter of respondents (27%) cite “data sensitivity” from increasing concerns over data and IP privacy, ownership, and management as a challenge, while 23% say a lack of interoperability between protocols, components, products, and systems is an issue. Another 22% cite security threats as a top challenge, and 18% say scalability in terms of handling data growth and making sense of this data is a hurdle.

To bridge the technical skills gap that represents the top-rated perceived hurdle in the next several years, Intel suggests companies create programs that support life-long learning among the existing workforce, offer instruction in digital tools and skills that combine lecture and hands-on opportunities to practice, emphasize problem assessment and solving before solution implementation to prompt discussion and learning, and balance hiring external experts and internal staffing to grow the company’s digital dexterity. These suggestions are solid and could go a long way in helping manufacturers and other industrial companies address the pressing skills gap—a challenge most predict will get worse before it gets better.

Source: Connected World

Posted on

The Downside to Do-It-Yourself IoT

Three angry emojis on a background of colorful wires
Illustration: © IoT For All

Today, industrial companies are deriving real-world value from Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms, yet some still opt for resource-intensive, self-made do-it-yourself Internet of Things (IoT) initiatives. While well-intentioned, these initiatives can have long-standing detrimental impacts on cost, time, people, and scaling.

Digital transformation is becoming a table stakes step process change to effectively compete in today’s marketplace. However, this transformative change has led some non-digitally native companies to over-extending themselves and opting to travel the digital journey entirely internally.

Research has shown this path is not as effective and that partnering with digital companies is how industrial companies can quickly derive business value and still leverage internal strengths for hitting strategic goals. Consider this:

The goal is not to become a digital company. Instead, for industrial companies to capitalize on digital technologies to defend and advance their advantage.

National Association of Manufacturers

IoT initiatives are not exempt from this underestimation by industrial companies opting for the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. Three out of four  self-initiated IoT projects are reported failures, many of which cause rippling effects throughout an organization. The underlying challenges inhibiting these DIY IoT projects from success is the money, time and people required to develop IoT internally, as well as to scale the solution  across the company and value chain. These challenges present significant organizational hurdles. Below, we explain why.

DIY Is a Budget Buster

Investors need to see their money go into projects that result in quick, short-term wins, measurable ROI, and scalable use cases that will sustain long-term growth and benefit the bottom line. In many instances, homegrown IoT deployments have spiraled into massive cost centers with no clear reward or future benefits in sight. There are three distinct downsides to DIY IoT from a budget perspective:

Total Cost of Ownership

While the initial up-front price to purchasing an IIoT platform or solution may seem steep to some companies, the alternative to developing it in-house and accommodating for the functionality required is far costlier. A DIY project’s total cost of ownership can be almost 4x greater in a factory setting when compared to adopting a third-party IIoT platform.

Costs for sustaining the DIY initiative can spiral with required continuous investments in the IoT system’s security, resiliency, scalability, and development of new features. Locking in to this ongoing expenditure can quickly run into the millions, resulting in bloated annual expenses and recurring negative annual outcomes. An IIoT platform provider with knowledge of agile software development processes is better-suited to quickly roll-out innovative applications on its roadmap than an industrial company.

Time Investment

“Time is money” for any organization. It’s continuously top-of-mind for executives, whether it’s deploying resources to develop a new system internally or creating a product to improve customer experiences. Specifically, developing a software solution entirely internally is a time-intensive and therefore costly endeavor. This time-consuming process lengthens exponentially for non-digitally native companies who may be experts in engineering the next great heavy-industrial machine, and lesser so in agile software development and programming.

Developing an IIoT solution internally can take approximately 2.5 years when adding up the time it takes to build and orchestrate a team, to develop the application, and to move it into production. Partnering with a software provider who offers a leading IoT platform is estimated to take half that time to boost proof of concepts (PoCs) into production and even quicker than that in some instances — 89 percent of PTC’s IIoT survey respondents expect to transition use cases to production within a year of purchase.

Competitive Pressures

With competitive pressures mounting, the time-crunch to adopt IoT grows two-fold where industrial adopters of third-party IoT solutions are outpacing the market. Industrial companies without IoT in production are quickly becoming the minority; IDC predicts by the end of 2019, 75 percent of manufacturers will have integrated IoT into their operations.

With DIY IoT initiatives, there are many unknowns, which can lead to delays in implementation and return on investment. With the current speed of change and innovation in the marketplace, that means ultimately falling behind the competition.

Culture Convergence Is a Must

Corporate cultures are changing out of necessity in industrial companies, as operational technology (OT) and informational technology (IT) groups must converge to make digital transformation initiatives, including IoT, a reality.

Industrial companies are already pressed with major skills gap challenges for hiring and developing front-line workers, creating an anticipated 2.4 million manufacturing worker shortage. There’s also a forthcoming one million worker shortage in software developers and engineers facing the United States. Silicon Valley and innovation hotspots have traditionally been the desired area of employment for IT-oriented talent, creating an additional recruiting challenge for industrial firms.

In order to develop and manage a scalable IoT solution internally, an industrial company will need traditionally walled-off IT and OT in-house staff to converge, as well as the ability to lure in digitally-native talent in increasingly competitive labor markets. Acquiring, orchestrating, and optimizing the required skills to enable all this is a massive organizational overhaul and a timely and costly endeavor.

Scaling Out of Pilot Purgatory

The inability to escape pilot purgatory has plagued many industrial companies’ digital transformation progress. Only 30 percent of pilots in Industry 4.0 programs scale out of PoCs, leaving 70 percent of time and resources spent at the pilot stage to waste. IoT is no exception: 74 percent of IoT initiatives are not considered a compete success. The top cited IoT inhibitors are lack of resources/knowledge to scale and the high cost of scaling.

Pairing DIY approaches that already exhaust resources and costs with these scaling encounters only dampens the likelihood that the IoT use case will reach production. Partnering with an IIoT platform and cloud provider with a proven history of scaling IIoT deployments and similar use cases is the most promising path to circumvent scaling challenges.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to DIY IoT, research shows there has been more failure than success. That should not be interpreted to mean that digital transformation initiatives that leverage IoT technology are not worth investing in, but a robust partner ecosystem is critical to capturing this value.

Adopting an IIoT platform is a cost-effective and timely way for industrial companies to develop IoT use cases that expand out of incubation zones and into the real-world. A proven platform provides the development on-ramps and role-based applications for both OT and IT personnel to generate and recognize value. When compared to DIY’, IoT platforms significantly expedite time-to-value for industrial companies while providing the foundation for scaling IoT across operations. In today’s rapidly changing global ecosystem, industrial companies need these digital allies to overcome these pressing challenges and prioritize resources towards their own competencies.

Source: IoT For All

Posted on

Smart Heavy Metal: Retrofitting IoT in Brownfield Industrial Sites

The text
Illustration: © IoT For All

Industrial enterprises know they can see significant benefits from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). But they also often have significant investment in existing assets, such as manufacturing machinery. While some may dream of ripping out all of their old equipment and replacing it with completely new IoT-capable machinery, it simply doesn’t make economic sense to dispose of well-functioning capital equipment before the end of its useful life.

But IIoT can improve maintenance, energy use, productivity and product development. In a competitive environment, businesses know they can’t afford to continue to manage their operations as they have.

If you work for one of these enterprises, you’re probably already looking at retrofit solutions, which update existing equipment with IoT capabilities. But you’re also anxious about possible downsides, such as investments that don’t finally deliver improved performance.

There are several important things to consider before jumping into a lot of vendor capability presentations. Failing to take these into account can lead to a lot of wasted time and money.

Understand What You’re After

The essential first step, before making any specific decisions, is to understand the business outcomes or customer needs an IIoT upgrade will help satisfy. Data generated without a clear understanding of its purpose can lead to confusion and analysis paralysis.

What’s your highest priority? You may be looking to extend the useful life of your equipment, to avoid unplanned outages, to streamline operations and to increase efficiency; deciding your focus determines a lot of your subsequent decisions.

Don’t keep your thinking within the limits of your current connectivity, but understand it so you know what can be usefully upgraded or reused.

Use What’s Already There, but Take Care

The desire to get data from equipment is certainly not new. Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications via programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have been around since the 1960s, providing data logging and telemetry. But these systems and their sensors are meant to operate in a local, closed-loop environment, for minute-by-minute sensing and control. Introducing IIoT expands the types of things sensed, the area over which they can be sensed and the time horizon, by making possible the integration of data over time to show performance.

Any manufacturing facility could have a variety of different M2M networks, acquired or developed at different times, for a variety of purposes, alongside purely manually operated equipment and standalone computer numerical control (CNC) systems controlling such things as drills and lathes.

All of these were intended for local problem solving and did that job well. Now they need to be integrated into a larger, longer-time-horizon IIoT implementation.

You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching

If existing sensor networks just don’t do what’s needed, relatively simple sensors can provide a wealth of information. Because various forms of vibrations in reciprocating motors are diagnostic of various failure modes, analyzing the output of a simple vibration sensor can track and anticipate increasing wear or other problems. Remedial action can range from adding lubricant to taking to the machine offline at a convenient time to replace something in advance of failure.

Fill levels, temperatures, valve settings, whether a door is open or closed…it can be surprising how operationally beneficial even basic sensing of the factory floor can be if continually updated and then analyzed for trends.

The Machine Equivalent of Wearables

Sometimes, instead of modifying existing sensing and control equipment or adding new sensors, you can create a parallel channel for existing data displays.

Some products can take the outputs of gauges and other displays and convert them into digital data, something that can go as far as visually tracking the position of the needle on a dial with a clamped-on reader, turning an old analog device into a digital output.

While that can seem almost absurd, it can be significantly cheaper than shutting down a facility and replacing all of those gauges. A large nuclear power plant, for example, might have hundreds of gauges, and shutting down operations to upgrade them can be a challenging, and risky, proposition.

With PLCs and SCADA, the original system can continue to send or display its data as it always did, while a new parallel channel pulls that same data into the IIoT infrastructure.

Internet of Things Industrial Applications – Understand Your Options

Retrofitting is getting more straightforward, and there are an increasing range of choices. More and more processing is moving to edge computing as sensors themselves increase in processing capability. Combinations of sensors can come with predictive and video analytics built-in.

The gateways that combine sensor data are also becoming more capable and now often translate a wide range of protocols and provide a variety of high-speed direct connections between equipment and software.

Just remember, you’re likely to be upgrading and replacing equipment over time. Take that into account when you lay out your network.

Source: IoT For All