Make Me Money, Make Me Lazy: Living on the IoT Edge
Automation system migration comes with challenges that I find fascinating (raises eyebrow in Mr. Spock style expression), though very understandable. I mean, why you would spend a ton of money to disrupt your existing functioning production lines to upgrade to something that’s going to give you the same outcome; I mean why would you?
A couple weeks ago, I asked an automation manager what would drive him to justify migration, and he summed it up pretty nicely: “Make me money, make me lazy.”
When we dug into this, by “make me money” he was really referring to making the hardware more connected and upgradable, which leads to faster time to value. This requires more built-in communications ports on the controller and operator interfaces, with options like built-in Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and onboard webservers to make communication and set up easier. Also let him keep his existing wiring, footprint, I/O and SW program so his migration costs and disruption are minimized.
By “Make me lazy” he was referring to data being sent to him rather than having to go find it himself: real-time critical data pushing to devices such as his phone or tablet from automation controllers—or diagnostic data accessible from his controller wherever he works. The automation system tells him about both reactive and predictive problems he has faced and may face in the near future.
The good news I was able to tell him is that both these things exist today if you leverage the Industrial Internet; you can seamlessly migrate from legacy automation systems to today’s industrial internet enabled hardware that, by default, has the built-in rugged, secure, connected control and analytics he is looking for.
Don’t believe me? Come and join my and my colleagues’ sessions at the AutomaTech user summit June 16 and in 17 in Falmouth, Massachusetts.