IoT: Where the internet of things meets the industry

Green and blue background, in the middle it is written IOT and on the right it is wrtitten Where internet of things integrates the industrystria

IoT, or internet of things, consists of embedding sensors, processing capacity, software and connectivity in a unique device.

This unification amplifies the data collection capacity and the integration between machines and people, overcoming limitations which were imposed by wired network connections and embedded processing capacity.

Meet the internet of things universe and how technology can promote enhancements in your process.

Data collection system

Data collection is not a novelty in industry. The use of PLCs (Programmable Logic Controller) in this data acquisition process started in the seventies and they still are widely employed in industries. PLCs are equipment that have communication and processing capacity.

Therefore, PLCs can capture data from sensors and distribute them by a network to a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system, which enables real time industrial plant monitoring, and PIMS (Plant Information Management System), that store these data.

The collection and centralization data process has been through many transformations in order to obtain a better interoperability between devices, migrating from specific and closed drivers to OPC (Open Platform Communication) systems.

The industrial system data collection is not always in the IoT model, nevertheless it already enables the application of various fundamental technologies to the digital transformation in the industry 4.0.

Collection and centralization of data in industry

There is a misunderstanding with the terms SCADA, 5G connection and IoT systems in industrial scenario. The collection and transmission of data can occur in several ways.

It might occur by the employment of transducers and transmitters which transport signals to the PLCs and later to some centralization system (data base, historians, PIMS) or by IoT devices already endowed with connectivity and process capacity that send the information directly to a cloud system with a lower cost.

Regardless of the data collection method choice, it is important to highlight that with IoT systems it is possible to go further with regard to the potential of data collection and machine and people integration. That enables an advance in the digital transformation, an enhancement in the decision making with new data and new connectivity possibilities such as 5G.

Big challenges

Even though most people do not know, the majority of the country's industrial data still is not integrated by a unified platform, in other words, they are not sent to the cloud by an IoT system. Generally, data is centralized by historians or PIMS which uses OPC or protocols and proprietary data format to send this information to the cloud.

The employment of different communication strategies should consider the collected data criticity, the information type and how it will be used. Nevertheless, the data collection by IoT systems associated with a robust data stack for Data Science application might provide many advantages and provide faster and more assertive decision making.

Data security is another relevant factor in the IoT and digital transformation scenario. One common strategy is to isolate the industrial network by using different network and firewall interfaces and creating a safe data transfer channel to a server in another network connected to the internet. With IoT systems directly connected to the cloud, the security strategies are different and present new challenges, but it is also possible to reach a robust security model (zero trust) with this technology.

5G impact on IoT

Another important aspect is the new possibilities generated by the 5G implantation, which is beginning to be a reality in Brazil. With this technology, a different network architecture can be built. A possible scenario is the collection of data, its centralization through OPC servers and its send by a 5G network separated from the corportative network, which ensures data security.

Another possibility consists of the IoT devices development with connectivity to create smart sensors, whose data collection would be unfeasible by traditional methods due to the extensive data volume.

But what is considered a smart sensor? A temperature or a pressure sensor are technologies well known and generally are endowed with transmitters that convert the measure and transport it to a collection system (as a PLC). However, an augmented reality glass, which is considered a smart sensor, is a different device, because the data traffic is much more intense and it demands specific and unconventional processing inside the own device. In this case the use of 5G and IoT devices directly connected to the cloud are much more feasible.

Therefore, IoT technology enables the development of smart sensors with a different connectivity approach, increasing the range of data collection possibilities. Another relevant aspect is that in these cases the volume of unstructured data grows considerably, which demands their centralization in raw data repositories (data lake) that will be processed later by automated data transformation pipelines through Data Science techniques, such as Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning.

These prossessings aggregate value to data according to the business need and when associated with other technologies can promote different visions to the company as well as support the decision making.

Aimirim in the process

Aimirim has IoT devices for data collection in non-proprietary format, decision making systems based on IoT and smart sensors, with a wireless network architecture prepared to transmit data to the cloud and a cloud platform to visualize, explore, and aggregate value to data.

If there is a requirement for an information which is hard to obtain with the conventional methods and that needs data pipelines with intelligence to enrich the information captured sensors (numerical methods, scientific computation, mathematical solvers), Aimirim is capable of delivering these on demand sensors and develop, in partnership with the client, a design that meets the business needs.