Industrial physical infrastructure and the methods for managing industrial assets are transforming before our very eyes. According to IHS Markit, the volume of Cloud/Edge analytics that support manufacturing operations are set to double by 2020 and, by 2030, the installed base of Internet of Things (IoT) devices is projected to exceed 120 billion.
Industrial Edge Applications
In 2019, technologies such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and video analytics will expand their influence and will help to drive these transformations as more and more "industrial edge" applications take root (Industrial Edge enriches industrial automation through live and constantly available data and analytics, to drive operations more efficiently and effectively).
As these technologies proliferate, their business value will manifest itself in multiple ways:
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI combines a set of defined rules, intelligence and information. For example, when data is coming from different sources, AI can flag information that bucks the trend as a risk or as an opportunity for savings. These tools analyze the data on a continuous basis and come up with recommended decisions or actions based on the data. The more an AI algorithm is asked to process, the more it learns and the more accurate it becomes because of the way the algorithms are organized. Such algorithms help to make predictive maintenance of industry assets possible, thus radically reducing equipment support costs while boosting production uptime.
Augmented Reality (AR)
New ways to both maintain physical assets and to train new employees are just two examples of how AR is helping to open new doors to improved efficiency. Newcomers to the industry, for example, will require very little training as visualization software combined with real-time data are tightly integrated. Such digital tools make it easy to maintain and save domain expertise (i.e., tribal knowledge of experienced employees) by capturing the ways that experienced employees resolve issues so that users in the future have access to this brain power, even after the physical people have left.
Integrated video analytics (IVA) are impacting a broad set of industrial edge applications across a wide variety of environments including factories. In the case of manufacturing, video analytics applications are helping to increase throughput, reduce energy consumption, and improve overall product quality. The great enablers of these kinds of benefits, high definition video cameras, are providing information in such detail, that real-time decision-making is greatly enabled. The software supporting such applications drives hardware requirements that then feed the specifications for a micro data center which bundles IT server processing power and storage with power, cooling, rack, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), and remote monitoring so that the integrated video analytics applications can run in a reliable, predictable and safe manner.
Power Protection that Backs Up the Industrial IoT
The one common element that will allow these technologies to deliver the expected ROI across the various industrial application areas is a power protection infrastructure that supports 24×7 availability. Since all compute power is fueled by electricity, the stability of the power infrastructure that generates, transmits and distributes that electricity has a direct impact on business continuity. As even the simplest of devices becomes equipped with microprocessors, the growth in device intelligence raises demand for clean power and electrical infrastructure capable of supporting such increased connectivity. In connected environments, where real-time decisions will become the norm, failure of systems is not an option.
IIoT and industrial edge frameworks must account for the power systems that enable uptime in a cyber-secure manner. To learn more about how power systems support and help to harden new generation IIoT solutions, visit Schneider Electric's Industrial Business Continuity site.