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What is IoT? Demystifying the Internet of Things

by Jason Sprayberry | Mar 20, 2020

 

 Digital-banner-IoT  

 

Welcome to the 2020 1st Edition of the Demystifying IoT Blog!

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We are very excited to kickoff this series with the goal of sharing insider tips, tricks and relevant information - all targeted at making the Internet of things, (IoT) easier to understand and use. By sharing we hope to enable our customers to catch the wave of the IoT promise and finally ride it to a place of true digital transformation.

 

New IoT and Digital Transformation Blog Series

Over time we will dive into compelling real-world solutions like predictive maintenance, OEE, energy management and remote asset monitoring. We will also touch on exciting new trends like 5G cellular, digital twin, cloud services, IT/OT integration, X as a Service (XaaS) and more!

We will start by focusing on “what is IoT?” Digital transformation? Industry 4.0? Is it all just hype or is there something that can benefit me as a user directly? Are there some simple steps that I can take on my path to digital transformation? Or should I fast forward directly to machine learning, artificial intelligence and blockchain? Our blog will be focused on simplifying the message, and through awareness provide easy actionable steps towards your digital transformation goals.

At HMS Networks, our goal is to make the world a better place by liberating the captive data from the islands of information and enabling actionable insights to truly enable the transformation that’s been promised for years. The first step is to make IoT easier, more accessible, more real – and most importantly more ROI!

 

Your Digital Transformation Journey

In IoT, everyone is on their own Digital Transformation Journey – and as they say, the road to a thousand-mile trip starts with a single step. We believe Digital Transformation begins at the Industrial Edge – which is literally the gateway to unlock all the potential value promised down the road. But step 1, is simply to digitize (or computerize) your assets. It is incredible the amount of information which is still gathered via operator rounds with a clipboard. Or simply just communicated via word of mouth. Why is this highly manual means of information gathering so prevalent when the cost per tag has continued to decline? Simply put, businesses at the beginning of their Digital Transformation are in a highly reactive cycle of operation. Just in time, run to fail, good enough practices seem most practical for the short term – because that is the way we have always done it. But if you look closely, each of the top performing manufacturers have realized that with even just a modest investment to get their assets on-line, operations are able to be more reliable, safer and more energy efficient.

 

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Remote Assets

It may be safe to say that most equipment that is deemed ‘critical’ to the business has been integrated into some PLC or DCS based automation system. However, a few blind spots persist. First, many assets – especially Remote Assets (outside the 4 walls of the factory or plant) are often neglected as ‘orphaned assets’ or ‘disconnected’. Connectivity to remote assets using standard low-cost public (and private, wired and wireless) networking technologies has drastically matured as a viable means of including remote equipment in the same context as the on-site assets. Discover the need for Remote Access and what HMS Networks offers in our blog post here.

 

IT/OT Convergence

Another oversight often assumes that just because an asset is connected to an automation system, the data is easily accessible to the people and systems that are the true enablers of the next levels of transformation. Often important data is locked away in proprietary (often outdated) automation systems and devices – where only fully integrated (usually expensive and difficult to use) systems can access the data. The trick is to cost effectively enable existing (brownfield) legacy systems to more easily communicate from their proprietary native OT communications languages to more open, IT friendly protocols.

 

Next Steps

As you can see the climb to the promise land of IoT quickly escalates the value – but not without commitment of resources for those first steps. Of course, the journey is not without risk. Many IoT ventures have failed – often because of lack of a good plan and committed goals. Fortunately, the HMS team of solutions engineers can help come along side your business – and ensure you a safe path based on 30+ years of experience in IoT, Digital Transformation, M2M, Industry 4.0 – or as we call it, just helping you do business.

 

Contact HMS today for free Digital Transformation consultation:

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