Industrial Internet of Things and Connected Services

From the Fitbit, Apple Watch or other activity tracking device you may have to your smart thermostat which you can control from your smartphone, the Internet of Things is rapidly advancing all around us. Technology journalist, Stacey Higginbotham has covered these advancements on her IoT Podcast series for nearly two years. You can also find her work on her Howdy Y’all blog and Fortune magazine.

Stacey just released a podcast interview with Emerson Automation Solutions Chief Strategic Officer Peter Zornio for his thoughts on the Industrial Internet of Things and its impact on manufacturers. Her interview with Peter begins at the 36:20 mark of the podcast.

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Stacey opened asking Peter about the evolution of automation–where we’ve been and we’re going. He noted that microcomputer-based control has been with us since the late 1960s to mid-1970s timeframe. Sensors fed real-time information to computers making decisions on how to control the process. All of this was performed in the plant. What’s changed with the Industrial Internet of Things is many things.

The first is the internet which expands where this information can travel to any application or expert for analysis, recommendation and action. Having cloud-based processing & storage and big data analysis tools available allows much more sophisticated analysis to be performed. These tools and communications paths open up the opportunity for connected services where highly trained third-party experts can provide decision support based upon the analysis of the data.

This analysis and recommendation process traditionally was performed by the end user with tools and applications purchased from the supplier. With fewer experts and the enablement of connected services, 3rd party suppliers can perform this role. These services can be available across the lifecycle–from upfront project planning through ongoing operations and maintenance.

Peter noted that these services have been developed by looking at where they can deliver the most value in areas such as reliability, energy efficiency, and production optimization. The other key aspect to consider is where the information can be comfortably shared. For example, it shouldn’t include any intellectual property or trade secret information.

Having domain expertise is another important consideration. For example, monitoring the health of control valves by control valve experts makes sense.

Listen to the podcast (download) for thoughts on who owns the data, pricing considerations and security issues that must be addressed. You can also connect and interact with other Industrial Internet of Things experts in the Improve & Modernize and Wireless groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.