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Analytics, connected devices, the edge and cloud – a symbiosis

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Analytics today is the golden thread that runs through multiple market segments, be it CPG (Consumer Packaged Good), Mining Minerals and Metals (MMM) and so forth. It provides immense value on an executive and plant level, bridging challenges that come with siloed information, it benefits the value chain from maintenance personnel to facility engineers and executives.

As mentioned, analytics is all-encompassing, spanning timeframes from milliseconds to months that affects your facility’s resilience and efficiency.  However, to unlock this value, analytics and intelligence must run at every layer in your enterprise, from connected devices to edge applications, to the cloud.

Looking at connected devices, IIoT with the right analytics can provide the insights required to allow employees to:

  • Understand how their actions and decisions impact overall profitability in real time.
  • Shift from a reactive to a more productive pro-active approach to addressing and eventually avoiding issues.
  • Establish benchmarks with easy access to operational trends and identification of process anomalies.

Ultimately, data sharing and connectivity (to all process devices in the plant) are vital cogs in a machine that will deliver intelligent solutions that ultimately generate rapid payback, support, and adaptable and scalable operations.

Then , the next is edge computing, which brings information closer to plant personnel and managers.  But to gain the most from edge computing, one must unlock the value that comes with analytics’ ability to analyse information in a seamless and insightful manner.

The operational edge is the critical point where traditionally siloed IT and OT systems converge and enable connected operations use cases. The edge serves as the connection point that preserves the autonomy of local operations while unlocking the cloud and remote capabilities.

A successful edge infrastructure will support remote, connected, secure, reliable, resilient, and sustainable operations. But to ensure organisations harness its full potential it needs to scale up, which brings us to the next important enabler of analytics, cloud computing.

Cloud connectivity is taking place across the operations technology landscape, just as it has in IT.  The cloud fosters the flow and connectivity of vital process and operational information to decision makers.

Importantly, the cloud securely stores and manages huge data volumes which analytics services can then convert into real-time information for quick decision-making.  Using the cloud, remote teams and service providers gain access to process data and critical equipment performance.

In the end, connected devices, the edge, the cloud and all the analytics feed into each other – creating an important symbiotic relationship that should become a non-negotiable part of operations today.

 

By George Senzere, solutions architect: Secure Power at Schneider Electric

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