How do I get relevant data from my devices delivered to an Internet of Things solution? While this simple question ought to have a simple answer it quickly turns out that the ‘devil is in the details’. Let us break the question down into for more manageable parts:
- What data is available in my industrial system? Most industrial systems have some type of existing computer control that keeps track of and maybe even stores data associated with the control, functions, operations and maintenance of the system. Many systems make some or all of this data available and/or exportable over some type of computer interfaces like a simple serial port, and industrial bus of ethernet interface.
- What does the Data look like? Understanding what data is available and how the data is represented is critical as this decides what can be done with it. A helpful concept is ‘data model’, a description of each data item (type – e.g. Type 01=Temperature), how it is represented (“Type01”: “Temperature”, “Value”: “___”,), what it means (cooling temperature) and other relevant information (should be between x and y under normal operating conditions). A data model for a typical industrial system can be long but it has to be documented.
- Are we getting the right data? Are we seeing the data that is important to us? What additional data do we need? What about the amount of data – too much or too little? Can the data be represented in a data model?
- Alternative ways of getting data to the Internet? IoT gateways is an excellent way to build overlay solutions that do not interfere with existing IT implementations. Gateways are general purpose computers running industrial operating systems like Linux Ubuntu. They are available in many different versions ranging from military or industrial grade to low cost embedded solutions. They support a variety of interfaces for system connection (serial, industrial, LAN, wireless) and for connectivity to the internet they support WAN Ethernet or cellular connectivity.
At Triotos we will work with you to make sure that you get the right data from your systems. To get this data to the IoT solution we support gateway solutions from Dell as well as low cost embedded solutions. We have standardized on Ubuntu server OS and run Greengrass, the Amazon IoT solution for edge processing, resilience and security.