The industrial IoT (IIoT) has moved from interesting concept to full-fledged revolution, yet embedded developers and industrial engineers are caught between keeping things working and making the "big leap." Charles J. Lord is here to help.
It’s popular, its trendy, it’s all the rage, but when push comes to shove, do you really know how to “do” IoT for industrial applications? Do you even know why it’s critical that you do know?
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The numbers are staggering, yet vacuous. A trillion sensors? Maybe two trillion before the hype stops. Even if the truth is between between 500 billion and 1.5 trillion, that’s a lot of sensors that are going to be deployed, many of which will be across legacy industrial systems and processes.
With this in mind, every major chip, connector, and software company has a solution for the industrial IoT (IIoT), but the embedded developer or operations technology (OT) expert at the tip of the spear needs to understand why and how they need to connect a sensor on the production line to the IT department’s computers.
They also need to know why this is so hard to do that and how to convince the IT dept to open a port that might upset the IT applecart and set off an infinite whole round of IT network security requalification. It’s common to get a blank stare or quiet shake of the head at that request.
While this age-old dilemma of removing IT and OT silos continues to be the source of frustration, the fact remains that major business and product decisions are dependent upon accurate data from the shop floor on as many aspects of the manufacturing process as possible. From motor vibrations that might indicate pending line failure, to asset tracking from start to final shipping, the ability to mine data and apply analytics has put the OT dept and the embedded systems developer on the front lines of the IoT.
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For many, the concepts are unusual, as the systems involved have typically been in place for years, if not decades. Even when data is required, a quick RS-232 port link or USB download would typically have done the trick. But those days are disappearing, fast. Especially for cutting-edge greenfield facilities. For legacy brownfield systems, the imperative is to “accsensorize” nodes as quickly as possible using all available means, including new software and technologies that are designed to help you get there.
Fortunately, there are guides, sensei’s, if you will, to help you get there. One of those guides is Charles J Lord, P.E., an embedded systems consultant practiced both in the art of IIoT, as well as the more difficult yet rewarding art of training others.
A black belt in engineering, he’s officially president of Blue Ridge Advanced Design and Automation, but between Sept. 19 and 21, at the hour of 9 am Pacific, he will host “The Structure and Challenges of the Industrial Internet of Things” and open the kimono on IIoT and show you how it’s done. Correctly.
Over the course of the three days, expect to be a bit overwhelmed, a bit scared, and eventually quite enlightened.
On Day 1, Lord will look at what IIoT is all about and why you need it.
Day 2 will look at data acquisition, security and connecting IT and OT.
Day 3 is all about sensors and sensor networking options, as well as security at the edge.
Over the three days, Lord will also be fielding your questions and applying his experience, wit and commonsense to keep you abreast of what you need to know, and why.
I’ll be there to hold his coat. And dust off the chalkboard. See you then!
Remember, Sept 19, 20, 21, 9 am Pacific.
— Patrick Mannion has a long history at EE Times, starting as reporter and working his way up to publisher. Today he runs the consultancy and technology writing firm Claritek and serves as the moderator and technical editor for EE Times University.