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Three Examples of Cloud-Native IIoT to Prevent Downtime

by | Dec 4, 2023 | Control & Safety Systems, Industrial IoT

Amy Thibault

Amy Thibault

Director Marketing, Brand & Communications, Zedi SaaS SCADA

When someone mentions something like ‘cloud-native IIoT’ do your teeth start to clench in stress and you immediately begin to search for your antacids to ward off the quickly approaching heartburn that comes with the topic? I hear you, understand your anxiety and totally feel your pain because I’ve been there many times before.

That’s until I started thinking of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) differently; what it really ‘means’ to us, the humans of the world. It can actually help make our lives better in several ways; like increasing the safety of many very dangerous situations, how it can even prevent terrible problems before they even happen, and how it can make companies be more profitable so more people keep their jobs and prices don’t over-inflate for the end buyers.

The cloud-native part of this equation simply means that when we developed our IIoT platform it was born in the cloud; from day one we developed the applications and every enhancement along the way right in the cloud so it will always work right for you anytime, anywhere without any ‘clunky’ hiccups or sloppy feeling experience; we also have our app; Zedi Go™ that end users can download to use from their phone or tablets.

 Keeping the water on

Some neighborhoods have a water well, which is generally great until suddenly the compressor that keeps the water flowing shuts down unexpectedly – NOT great at all. But, if the right sensors were put in place on the compressor to measure things like oil pressure, temperatures, on and off status, suction pressure, engine speed, and more your water might never stop flowing when you need it; or at least not nearly as often.

But many water companies don’t use technology to its fullest abilities; they still have to get the call from the angry person trying to take a shower that has no water before they even know there is any problem; and the problem is usually not where the person answering your call is located; nope; it’s usually at least 20 minutes away and then that person has to call someone else on their staff to go out to the location and see what the problem is; and you better hope they brought all sorts of parts and tools to fix it, but chances are pretty slim they will have what they need with them; they may even have to order it and you’ll be out of water for days, potentially weeks!

You might be asking; great, but if they had those sensors in place how would they know what the sensors were actually ‘saying’ that could prevent all this? That’s where IIoT comes into full play; all that data from those sensors is then communicated to an IIoT platform; like Zedi Access™ that then takes the data and makes sense of it; and gets it to the right person at the right time. It can tell them things like the ‘health’ of the machine (or in this case the compressor) long before it even shuts down because the problem would have been told to the staff long before in the data analytics. And then there are alarms with specific thresholds that can be set to notify the right people of any emergency situations right away.

Finding a leaky pipe

Oil production includes lots of machines and equipment at remotely located sites and they all have lots of pipe too; mainly they’re shorter runs that lead to things like tanks for temporary storage. But if one of these pipes leaks it can not only cause harm to the environment, but also to the profitability of the company since they’re very expensive and time consuming to clean up properly.

With IIoT in action the pipe is actually speaking to the software and the software keeps track of what’s okay, and what is not within the boundaries of acceptable. The hardware at site is measuring things like rate of flow and pressure – and when any of the measurements are not within a ‘normal’ status the alarm gets sent to either a group pf people, or select authorized people within the company to check it right away.

Detecting these pipeline anomalies can really help in most cases before they become a huge problem and to keep your oil or water in the pipe and not leaking all over the place. It works great on other types of pipes from causing total havoc as well for things like feeder mains, saltwater disposal, mains without redundancy, and mains with a history of rupture or leaks and even some supply lines.

Keeping natural gas lines safer

Natural gas distribution isn’t just a matter of getting gas from the main station to your home so you can cook dinner, it’s about making sure it gets there safely as a top priority. Most gas distribution stations are remotely located; not in the center of your town. Many towns that don’t use IIoT end up sending staff to drive out to the station to monitor it and keep the volume corrector active and up to date. As you can imagine this is not only expensive, but also increases a safety risk with all those miles.

With IIoT it saves anyone from having to drive anywhere to just monitor it and check the volumes. It can all be done with the right asset hardware in place and that communicates it to the IIoT platform where again; it analyzes the data and works from predetermined thresholds that are set for things like consumption rates or spikes in volume and then of course set those alarms off to the right people so they know exactly what the problem is, and how to fix it.

Of course there is more to cloud-native IIoT than just these examples, but it gives you a starting point of thinking a bit differently about what it really ‘means’ to us, and how exactly it can help us in so many ways.

Hopefully you didn’t reach for that bottle of antacids yet – and your jaw is relaxed knowing now this is way easier to understand when you think about the examples of how IIoT can help us all.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.