Much has been made of the transition of many applications from on premise to the cloud. Major applications from email, intranet site and chat-based communications are often now cloud hosted with secure access through identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) applications.
In a Digital Energy Journal article, Moving industrial plant computing to the cloud, Emerson Chief Technology Officer Peter Zornio shares how this trend has extended into industrial automation applications. The author opens with Peter’s thoughts that:
Cloud for plant operations is ‘potentially a big platform change that will impact us in the world of operations technology and automation…
One of the drivers of this trend in the interaction between the Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) organizations.
Much of the drive to move plant systems to the cloud is coming from IT staff, who are increasingly getting involved in the operations technology (OT) world, and are already comfortable running everything on the cloud…
Many digital transformation programs have forced a much tighter integration between IT and OT, such as projects delivering data to mobile devices, augmented reality, and bringing in third party connected services.
And as IT people have influence on the OT world, they are bringing in their preferences – including for cloud technology.
The benefit is by:
…merging IT and OT, you can get much more IT capabilities in the OT world – such as wireless communications in the field, data analytics in the cloud, and more data storage capability.
One key requirement that Peter highlights is that the:
…vast majority of Emerson customers ‘want to have the ability for plants to continue to operate without the cloud. If they lose the internet connection they can still reliably run their plant.’
This likely necessitates:
…production plants having a core system on site which runs the plant, including sensors, control systems and visualisations, and everything else going to the cloud…
Read the article for more on the providers, cloud-based data tools, cybersecurity considerations and Emerson’s applications in Microsoft’s Azure cloud services. Visit the Plantweb Digital Ecosystem section on Emerson.com for more the technologies and solutions to drive improvements in production, reliability, safety and sustainability as part of your digital transformation journey.