Being heavily entrenched in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) technology markets, I often have the opportunity to speak with customers, partners, and analysts about sensor-to-server communication and what technology advances are on the horizon that will benefit the industry. A few of the hot buttons right now are big data and predictive analytics.
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a big data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to many industrial customers. The problem the big data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. Legacy SCADA systems are inadequate, and there are very few options for the local execution of predictive analytics applications to apply changes actively in the field.
The Access Layer
What’s really needed is technology that provides a tiered application architecture where application platforms can be deployed at the access layers of an industrial network. It would need to have the ability to securely collect, aggregate, analyze, and transmit real-time sensor data in motion to the predictive analytics cloud, then execute commands at a local level based upon the outcome of those analytics. To do this effectively, organizations would also require specific expertise in connecting and collecting data from a wide range of sensor technologies in multiple industrial settings and from distances both short and long – and do so under extreme environmental circumstances. This is the only way that big data companies can maximize production/profitability and minimize risk/cost for their industrial clients.
Keep in Mind…
Deploying this type of sensor-to-server communication is best left to technology companies that have specific expertise and experience in these rugged, industrial environments, and not the big data or predictive analytics folks. At FreeWave, we welcome the opportunity to step into this new realm and deliver sensor communication platforms that are secure, intelligent, and aligned to driving the value that predictive analytics can provide to our customers.