Data Connectivity & IIOT

With the advent of Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), baselines have been shifted, boundaries redrawn and a new wave of disruptive companies have emerged. Businesses are shifting to an outcome based products and services approach in running their businesses in order to deliver measurable results to their customers. In order to support this new emerging trend, a new ecosystem converging Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) must be adopted by organizations to stay competitive in the current market. This ecosystem will required seamless data sharing between machines and other physical systems from different manufacturers. This ecosystem might also interface with customer facing systems and other cyber systems acquired by the organizations. 

The traditional divide between Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT) is typically caused by each specialized area not understanding the problems faced by the other. OT professionals are focused on running operations smoothly and without delays or hiccups. They are very much worried about operational lag time or down time due to machine downtime or breaking down of physical equipment. IT professionals on the other hand are more concerned with ensuring accessibility to data, keeping data flowing and making organizational data accessible to all member of the organization as required. 

Due to their distinct differences in scope, the solutions they come up with also differ distinctly. OT solutions are seen to be old-fashioned and proprietary in nature whereas IT prefers an open architecture and their solutions are generally more cutting edge. OT solution providers tend to take a more bottom up approach to solving problems by building solutions from individual machines/components before putting them together to form an overall more complex system. OT professionals must collect data from Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) environments and figure out how to connect different SCADA systems together. Since proprietary is a buzzword in the OT world, integration of different SCADA solutions can be difficult. OT professionals work with mission critical systems and hence are most concerned with security which is why they typically avoid having the internet and wide-area-networks (WAN) in their environment. IT professionals, on the other hand, take a top-down approach in solving problems preferring to keep the big picture in mind when coming up with a potential solution. By defining the problem statement of the bigger picture, they then proceed to break it down into smaller sub-components. In this approach, they look beyond the problem at hand and instead focus on the method of implementation and potential scalability of the solution. 

With the introduction of Big Data, IIOT, Data Science and other advanced technologies, both OT and IT professionals have come to the realization that they require to solve the same problem: ‘Accessing and making sense of industrial data’. However, having existed in separate habitats before the advent of advanced technologies, they do not understand the expertise and approach of each other. IT is confounded by OT professionals’ stubbornness to continue working with legacy machines which costs the organization a bomb and proves difficult to integrate with other systems while OT professionals do not understand SQL databases or the analytical tools used by IT professionals today. This great divide presents an excellent opportunity for companies to look at their internal processes and work towards a common goal of marrying their OT and IT departments in order to meet the demands of today’s data-intensive environment. 

How to implement such a solution for brownfield machines 

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This legacy brownfield machine transforms into a modern data collection device by retrofitting sensors onto the machine. The data is then collected into a central database where IT professionals such as Innoark will be able to manipulate and integrate existing machine data in order to present meaningful data to stakeholders. By building the gateway according to leading industry standards, Innoark is able to custom build enterprise level applications for presenting the data, integrate data into an existing MES system or even build custom software to fulfill business needs. 

To find out how we can do all this and discuss how we can help you and your business, then we would love to hear from you.

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For over a decade, Innoark has been helping and working with clients all over the world with our technology solutions. Our sole mission is to make your life easier and more efficient.