The Industrial Internet of Things, for Real

How might the Industrial Internet of Things actually play out?  Big Data and Internet of Things are huge buzz words that are being thrown around pretty loosely.  Mostly opinions and generalities.

Breaking it down to something more practical, Big Data is simply the side effect of control equipment that is able to transmit all the data that can possibly be created by all the I/O in  a given system.   All information all the time.

That just turns into a mess.  Nobody can take all that data at the rate it’s being created.  What data is really needed?  How often?  There are many strategies for managing the data.  Simple management techniques can be used to review the data and store only the data that is relevant.  More elaborate techniques such as algorithms that search for the important values in stead of storing everything.

The real issue is where is value being generated  When a beverage plant produces a million cans of a product, each step along the way is important to the one that comes after it.  As value is being added to the product, each work cell needs to be understood in terms of the information that is important to the production process.  In this way, it becomes possible to sort out what is meaningful.

This suggests that as the IIoT move forward, what we are really talking about is the creation of a coherent data layer for each discrete piece of machinery.  In addition, the data layer has to be coordinated to allow all the processes to work together.

If experience tells us anything, the problem is less about creating the data than creating the network that brings the information together.  Fortunately the availability of real time Ethernet should provide a platform that everyone can agree on.  Creating custom reports and analysis of the information is something that can be made very practical with the help business consulting firms.  It’s just another form of programming.

Everything is Internet all the time.

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