Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions are helping to reduce the complexity and management of industrial automation systems and making industrial operations more visible, controllable and resilient, says industrial systems availability firm Stratus Technologies Africa and Middle East regional director Richard Sharod.
IIoT is a move away from a complex, information technology- (IT-) heavy and largely reactive production environment to one that is seamless and proactive, and industries are embracing the technology to increase productivity, he explains.
“The Industrial Internet of Things within the manufacturing sector continues to revolutionise and streamline complex industrial operations.”
Organisations can leverage IIoT architectures to take advantage of new technologies to protect their entire technology stack. IIoT solutions not only detect issues before they become bigger problems, but also keep supervisory control and data acquisition; Historian, human-machine interface manufacturing execution systems: and manufacturing operations management systems running, he says.
However, to fully leverage the benefits presented by IIoT, companies should use solutions that provide proactive notification of potential problems, says Sharod.
“Continuous availability is important to minimise downtime in an interconnected IIoT infrastructure. “Data is central to manufacturing operations and any lost data can have a negative impact on the accuracy and reliability of the analytics. Using a single system for all operational technology and IT applications also means fewer software licences.
“In addition, when looking to virtualise a single system, it becomes critical to get built-in hardware redundancy with that single system. This makes it less reliant on IT support by automating hardware remediation,” he adds.
Meanwhile, the right service provider is another key element in determining and maintaining productivity, he avers.
“Organisations need a service provider with a good track record in industrial automation. “Owing to the severity of the nature of the consequences when things go wrong, instant access to industrial automation specialists is critical and it is therefore essential that end- users work with industrial automation partners and experts who are accredited with the key independent software vendors.
“Stratus is also a Global Rockwell Automation Encompass Partner and has been deeply embedded in industrial automation for over 35 years,” he notes.
Sharod spoke at the automation multinational Rockwell Automation University conference held in May.