In a previous post, I explained why a secure power solutions provider should possess expertise which spans multiple “domains,” from information technology (IT) management to process control systems for automated manufacturing lines. This begs the question, what is the benefit of all this multi-disciplinary knowledge?
From the customer perspective—the organization which is concerned about protecting its mission-critical, non-IT systems—a partner with cross-domain knowledge can help achieve integrated systems and better visibility into asset performance. In other words, it’s not just about having expertise for multiple domains, it’s about using that knowledge to connect and integrate the multiple domains.
For example, a process control system that governs an automated packaging machine should be able to communicate with the management system for the factory. And if there is power protection equipment such as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems used in a factory to protect automated machinery, you would ideally want the monitoring system for the factory’s server room to be able to monitor these UPSs on the production lines as effectively as it monitors the UPSs in the server room.
The healthcare industry is a good example of the need to connect different systems and provide a common platform for visibility. Schneider Electric has put together a brochure, accessible here, that details this “EcoStruxure for Healthcare” platform. Take a look at the brochure for the details, but in summary, the end result is a platform that can bring together information and performance views from many types of systems found in a hospital or clinic. These more specialized systems are digitized and normally communicate via Internet Protocol (IP), making it possible to tap into information from these systems to achieve an integrated view.
Not just any provider can achieve this type of integrated approach. For one thing, the provider needs cross-domain expertise. The provider also should have solutions and expertise with monitoring software, and a track record for integrating data from IP-enabled subsystems into a common platform. In Schneider Electric, we call this platform EcoStruxure, which can communicate with a similar Schneider Electric architecture for connecting plant-level systems we call PlantStruxure.
This common platform approach has been tested, and the links between systems are documented under an approach we refer to as TVD—for “tested, validated, and documented.” We also have an effort known as “StruxureLabs” within the company to carry out this sort of TVD work for different segments (we have multiple labs for different segment needs).
The overall point is that not only should a Secure Power solutions provider have cross-domain expertise, the provider must be able to apply that expertise to effectively connect systems for users. This integration and better visibility is what the end user organizations really want.
While the subsystems that need to be integrated might vary by industry or project, generally, end users are after a common management console or “single pane of glass” view of their subsystems and intelligent assets. Once an integrated view is achieved, the end-users can concentrate on operational performance and business goals, which increasingly are impacted by the stream of data coming from smart, connected machinery.
Want to find out more about how we can help achieve Secure Power for your mission-critical, non IT assets? Just ask your Schneider Electric representative, or refer to this background on Secure Power for industry and infrastructure.