Industrial networks are the backbone of modern society. They provide us power and water, and are comprised of plants (generating, processing), substations, various conduits (lines, pipes) and more. Yet, how do industrial organizations monitor, manage and control these disparate parts to bring us, the citizen, reliable services?
Most of these network components are monitored, and even controlled, by devices. In the past, a company might have fielded a large workforce to maintain its utility system – people to watch the status from a central location and then dispatch staff to adjust the machines, switches or valves as needed – sometimes in remote areas. There were gaps in monitoring as sensors or cameras could not be placed everywhere. Plus, they only provided limited data and could not talk to each other. It was more of a hub-and-spoke model. As technology advanced, the industrial network of devices expanded. Intelligent devices are connected to remote beacons in infrastructures and backend smart applications, enabling collaborative autonomous decisions. Together, three important technologies herald a new age of remote smart assets that not only communicate with each other but analyze high volumes of local real-time information.
Let’s change gears for a minute. Anyone with a smartphone knows that updates are a way of life, whether it is a new operating system or app version being pushed out to us. Software providers continue to tweak and improve their programming. These digital upgrades happen with industrial IoT devices as well. It can make their management time-consuming – unless you have a software platform that can seamlessly manage your network, such as DeviceOutlook.
These cloud-based applications assist network managers in providing secure and mobile access to their remote assets. The centralized location can minimize downtime by optimizing maintenance tasks. No longer do you need a spreadsheet to track all of your devices’ firmware. Plus, when an update is required, the software enables you to configure them over-the-air on your operations schedule, i.e. non-peak times.
By bringing this intelligence to the edge of your system, where your devices are, you are better able to troubleshoot issues – or avoid them through preventative maintenance. Scheduled reporting can streamline auditing and compliance processes for your team. And, with DeviceOutlook, you have the ability to connect to your enterprise applications for better analysis of long-term trends and efficient operations management. The hardware plus software help you to create a more reliable and secure ecosystem for your utility. There is a synergy gained from combining the individual parts that permit the analysis of high volumes of data and allow for collaborative autonomous decisions in the field.
Visit us at DistribuTECH 2017 Booth #1536 from January 31 to February 2, 2017 to learn how CalAmp is meeting the challenges in today’s smart energy ecosystems.