IIoT is Accelerating the Number of Connected Devices
We now expect that our devices, processes, and data should be connected to each other and the Internet – accessible to us at work or play whenever we want. By 2023, Cisco is predicting that there will be 14.7 billion devices connected to each other (machine-to-machine or M2M connections). That’s 1.8 connected devices for every person on the globe.
Bridging the Gap Between OT and IT
One of the biggest steps businesses must overcome for success with IIoT is bridging the gap between Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT):
- Operational Technology (OT) is traditionally associated with industrial environments using technology like supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Today it’s new more flexible and integrated technologies changing the way factories, power grids, and manufacturing plants operate.
- Information Technology (IT) is more familiar to people working in carpeted spaces, delivered by laptops, servers, and computation storage all linked with powerful networks. Typical examples are email, enterprise management applications (ERP), and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
Traditionally OT and IT have used different technology stacks and frequently been the responsibility of different departments in the organization. Today these realms are converging with these two technologies interconnected to each other and the Internet. IIoT requires fully integrated processes and technology stacks across both OT and IT. It is critical to take a holistic view across IT and OT to get a clear understanding of the needs and objectives of your business and to work as a team to design and implement an effective IIoT strategy.
How Cisco Has Pushed IT to the Edge
Cisco has played an integral part in the advancement and use of IT (and increasingly OT) in businesses around the world. They have repeatedly proven the benefits of connecting the unconnected. Cisco was early to recognize the potential of edge computing to deliver on the promise of IIoT.
Instead of relying on public or private cloud computing in a data center somewhere to do all the work, edge computing is done at the source of the activity and data – before it crosses any wide area network (WAN). By eliminating the distance and time it takes to send data to centralized sources, you will experience reduced latency, improved processing speeds, and improved performance of data transport, as well as devices and applications on the edge server.
Cisco has now built on edge computing with edge intelligence, an approach that securely delivers data from connected assets at the edge of the network to multi-cloud application destinations.
How Rimot Uses OT and IT for Critical Radio Communications Systems
RimotRF, our advanced monitoring system for remote critical transmitter sites, fully integrates across OT and IT. RimotRF monitors the infrastructure and supporting technologies on a transmitter site and provides continuous data and insights for better real-time decision making and overall smarter remote asset management. The Rimot monitoring platform securely integrates the sensors, edge computing, IP network, cloud, and ultimately to the smartphone in the palm of a technician’s hand.
The world is shifting to digitization in wireless voice and data communications solutions that allow for greater possibilities in the use and management of LMR (Land Mobile Radio) systems. This evolution has enabled leaps in LMR functionality and performance, but these systems are only as good as their maintenance allows.
LMR systems generate large amounts of operational data and system alarms on a daily basis. Most of this vital data goes unused and requires sending a technician out to manually investigate every alarm. This not only incurs the cost of additional truck rolls but also lost revenue during system downtime.
As wireless communications technology becomes more complex, this break-fix approach to maintenance is not sustainable. The RimotRF monitoring and control platform provides continuous insight that helps avoid downtime and reduces the time and cost of issues when they do arise.
Turning Endless Data into Actionable Insights
Having OT that collects mass amounts of data can prove to be extremely valuable to your operation. However, the amount of data OT systems collect has grown far beyond what individuals or teams can turn into useful information. In fact, 5 quintillion bytes (2.5 followed by 18 zeros) of data is produced every day through the IIoT. Without the existence of IT, this data would go wasted and unused. Even so, less than half of structured data is actively used in decision making.
With a sophisticated union between OT and IT, the data collected can be turned into actionable information that helps guide decision making. Like Cisco, at Rimot we believe that data needs to be captured and analyzed where it is optimal – on a remote site with edge computing or in the cloud with the benefit of aggregate data. With Rimot’s remote monitoring system, the data is fused into a single digital picture of the remote infrastructure, and equipment faults and trending issues are identified in real-time. The platform collects and transforms vast amounts of data into actionable insights.
Predictive Analytics Will Bring New Benefits for Business
Predictive analytics is the category of data analytics aimed at making predictions about future outcomes based on historical data and analytics techniques such as statistical modeling and machine learning. The science of predictive analytics can generate future insights with a significant degree of precision, yielding big benefits for areas such as condition-based maintenance. Rimot and Cisco have an aligned vision that IIoT – and increasingly informed predictive analytics and AI – will continue to change how organizations design, use and maintain critical infrastructure.