Real time data convergence had its genesis in semi-automated devices and systems. They came with embedded software that could pass data to upper layers, offering a variety of actionable information. It was followed by full-fledged automation with wireless sensors wherein devices with M2M capabilities can send data in real time and also alerts to appropriate stakeholders. The latest development is the introduction of Real Time Data Convergence for Multiscreen Displays (RTDCMD).
The Information Technology and the operational technology ecosystem for plants usually consist of devices, sensors, real time data & analytic engines; mobile networks, mobile devices wielded by field personnel & other stakeholders and applications on these devices. This ecosystem is used to accumulate data in a central database. There is a real time analytics layer above this that generates actionable insights and distributes it to different screens for consumption based on user roles and needs.
Different plants will have different types of devices. New plants are likely to have smart devices connected with a wireless architecture. So implementation will not be a problem. But old plants have obsolete machines that cannot record events or transfer data. How can we make these devices smart? Easy, just retrofit them and add a middle layer so that they adapt to a connected architecture. I believe such connected systems have great benefits for businesses. First of all, data duplication is reduced and there is greater data consistency. This increases the reliability, speed and efficiency of data usage. This also drives collaborative decision making within the organization. Moreover, only relevant data and alerts are sent to the end user. So there is quicker decision-making and better data security.
I think businesses can utilize their assets more efficiently by remote monitoring of equipment, machines, and fleets, and automated event alerts. Integrated operations help in lowering transportation and warehousing costs. Remote monitoring and control of equipment, assets, sensors and processes help optimize energy use and meet safety and regulatory compliance requirements as well.
I my view, better mobile work force management, better maintenance processes and enhanced security are the other benefits that ultimately lead to operational excellence. And RTDCMD is not only suitable for manufacturing businesses but it also works for different industries like Oil & Gas, Transport, Consumer Packaged Goods, Healthcare & Life Sciences, and especially Utilities. However, any business implementing the framework will have to partner with engineering and automation specialists and Information Technology providers.
How else do you think RTDCMD can help businesses? Do write in with your views.