The Internet of Things: Simplifying the Reliability Equation

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The Internet of Things (IoT) has some impressive numbers behind it, like estimates that place the number of smart, Internet connected machines at 30 billion by 2020. While the predicted scope of the IoT is impressive, in industry, the challenge is how to derive business value from all these “things.”

We know that there are efficiency gains from “digitization” of all sorts of equipment and measures that used to be analog and disconnected. For example, in London, Thames Water Utilities installed thousands of sensors to monitor its water pipe network, reducing leakage by 25 percent, according to a report on digitization by the consulting firm Booz & Co.

Across every industry, organizations are looking at ways they can derive business value from the IoT. While some benefits will be relatively clear cut, it can be a daunting proposition to figure out how to best harness all this data. In a recent survey of chief information officers (CIOs) by Gartner on what it sees as a “third era” for enterprise information technology (IT) which spans the IoT and other megatrends such a cloud computing, 51 percent of CIOs said they are concerned that “the digital torrent is coming faster than they can cope” while 42 percent said they don’t feel they have the talent needed to face this future.

So with the IoT, we have this fairly intimidating IT shift that will challenge companies to find ways to adapt and extract business value. At the same time, we have this explosion of digitized assets that need high reliability. Schneider Electric’s comprehensive offer of power protection, cooling, and energy and equipment management addresses the issue of high reliability, allowing CIOs and other managers in industry to focus on the value side of the IoT.

We call this need to provide reliability for non-IT assets “secure power” and we’ve organized our industry teams and experts to be able to meet secure power challenges across multiple industries with the appropriate mix of products and services. While uninterruptible power supply (UPS) products are core to secure power, it goes beyond simply installing UPS to back up the digitized “things” that are part of the IoT.

Another key factor involved in an effective secure power solution is having a provider with the necessary services and industry expertise to shape the solution to your needs. Experience in establishing power protection for specialized systems, such as imaging systems in hospitals, or ultra-violet water treatment lamps in the water/waste water industry, is an important factor in properly addressing reliability for non-IT assets. You want a secure power solution provider who isn’t new to backing up the mission-critical assets specific to your industry.

Buzz words like IoT might still be relatively new to people in industry, but concepts like business continuity and risk management are not. As more non-IT assets become digitized, it becomes necessary to back them up with power reliability solutions because they are no longer just machines carrying out isolated tasks, but rather, the source for a real-time flow of information about production and operations. If the power for those digitized assets gets disrupted, so does the flow of information.

Want to find out more about how we can help you handle the reliability aspects of the IoT? Just ask your Schneider Electric representative about secure power, or visit this page to find out more about secure power offerings for industry, infrastructure and marine.

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  • Non-IT assets (field devices) were always source of data – information was obtained through analog or non-IP digital protocols. Reliable power of these devices has always been a concern for automation professionals, as UPS (an IT-device with IP-capabilities) typically doesn’t have plug-n-play integration into automation systems. Schnedier electric being manufacturer of both UPS and DCS/PLC should remove this gap and demonstrate best in class integration of UPS into industrial automation systems.

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