As we begin the first week of 2016 we’d like to take some time to examine the growing trends in industrial automation and make our best predictions about where they’re headed in this and coming years. Most of what we are seeing now is a steady upswing of the technologies that emerged in recent years as theories that didn’t necessarily have the available technology for efficient adoption. Now that technology is rapidly catching up, and we expect to see these trends continue throughout the year.
How can you look to the future of 2016 without thinking about Internet of Things (or as our industry calls it, the Industrial Internet of Things).
We predict that more industrial application for Internet of Things will be effectively deployed in 2016. There are many applications that InduSoft has already deployed in Internet of Things such as:
Gas monitoring on the cloud, Packaging, real-time analysis for oil and gas drilling, building management with UT of Austin, as well as many energy (smart grid), transportation, building automation (smart building), environment (waste management), water (recycling, and other water resource applications, and supply chain applications.
InduSoft Web Studio introduced our latest product offering called InduSoft IoTView in September 2015. It allows you to use InduSoft Web Studio to build applications for VxWorks and Linux devices. This allows you to include IoTView in many headless devices such as PLCs, controllers, smart meters, and more. Below you will find a link to a few videos about IoTView and Indusoft Web Studio 8.0.
The continued evolution of IIoT will enable the vision of the smart factory to be a reality allowing for intelligent analysis of business operations.
Security is going to continue to dominate the news in 2016. This will force users to really look at their security policies and determine the best approach for their security requirements. According to Frost and Sullivan, 1.2 billion user names and passwords were stolen by suspected Russian hackers. As a result, many will begin to use other security methods rather than password protection to begin securing their information. New security measures may include ocular scanning (uMoove Mobile Eye Scroller phones), facial recognition (Amscreen Face Scanners), voice recognition (Windows Speech Recognition), touch (Holographics Touchscreen), and gesture (Snapdragon mobile technology). InduSoft is beginning to see the use of biometrics in industrial applications. InduSoft Web Studio has been used to develop applications using biometric applications for detention. The demo will be available soon.
In addition, as IoT solutions are deployed with greater frequency, security and network awareness is going to become very important. You need to understand what is on your network, including weaknesses and areas vulnerable to breach. Good cyber hygiene is needed to constantly monitor your data and networks for both external and internal threats. InduSoft is constantly investing in security. We have the following resources available for further study in cybersecurity:
Blog posts on Security:
In a recent Deloitte survey of energy managers, 79% said that their management team viewed energy management as an essential in creating competitive advantage for their organization in 2016. They have found that reducing the cost of energy by even a small percentage can have a dramatic impact on their bottom line.
In many countries, there are many government initiatives and legal requirements surrounding energy management. Energy management is more than just the energy dashboard, but also the ability to connect the various meters and devices. InduSoft IoTView allows for simple, ubiquitous connectivity of your energy assets and InduSoft Web Studio allows for graphically rich and easy to navigate energy management dashboards such as those created for the University of Texas.
Cloud Computing and Data Centers
As more data is being generated and collected, storage of all this data becomes important. As 2015 marked the maturing of cloud computing, there are still improvements in this area such as hyper-convergence, container architectures, and hybrid clouds. According to Frost & Sullivan, “Big Data is growing at 40% annually” and 89% of business leaders believe big data will revolutionize business operations the same as the internet.
In manufacturing, transactional and machine data are being used to improve quality and productivity. InduSoft Web Studio has been used in many supply-chain applications where interconnectivity between plants and processes were stored in cloud or hyper data centers. These applications were in the area of supply chain visibility and product traceability data.
Indusoft’s vision is to continue to evolve its architecture to allow for easy integration for storing and retrieving data from many data sources, whether they are in the cloud or on premise, and whether data in a data base, historian, cloud, big data, or flat files. Our commitment to continue to collect and store data so better business decision can be made.
Also, InduSoft is seeing a trend in data center management. Where more and more customers are turning to the cloud and data center colocation providers to manage and maintain their data centers. Indusoft Web Studio has been used for many data center infrastructure management and monitoring projects. Many of these applications assist data center with better understanding what is happening in their environment such as tracking status of components and environmental measurements. Applications that measure data received from sensors to monitor and control temperature, humidity and electricity along with network equipment monitoring to help data centers maintain high level of uptime and reduce operational costs.
According to Joe Gemma, President of IFR (International Federation of Robotics), “We continue to see explosive growth with 2015 topping 2014 by 15% and establishing a new record in Robot sales worldwide.”
Robotics have been used in industrial automation for many years, but now there is a movement towards human and robot collaboration. This would keep labor from being offshored to lower labor cost countries and increasing the productivity of the labor force with robot assistance. InduSoft did a podcast with MSI TEC that discussed this concept and its use in MSI Tec’s customer base.
Robots and vision technology will continue to merge with use in real-world applications. A good example is Amazon’s recent picking challenge, where various teams used technology to robotically pull various consumer items randomly placed on shelves using robots and vision system. This various technologies are important in warehouse and distribution center management.
Mobile manipulation of robots are also growing in popularity that brings us to our last trend, mobile computing.
Mobile Computing and Wearable Technology.
Mobile technology has moved from convenience to a matter of course. Mobile technology continues to grow as a leading force in how we interact with our machines. Smartphones and Tablets increasingly represent the ways we interact with technology, and industrial automation is catching up to this trend. Now, with HMI/SCADA software like InduSoft Web Studio it’s easier than ever to create applications that can be viewed and monitored on PC, Smartphone, or Tablet, regardless of physical location. With HTML5 rising as the standard for display on mobile browsers it’s possible to deploy web based applications that share a single interface across multiple mobile devices. Some companies are establishing Bring Your Own Device policies, while others have used smart watches, and others provide iPads or other devices.
Wearable technology is continuing to develop. Google Glass is being adapted to business and industrial applications, and the trend for smartwatches in the consumer market is translating to use in the automation sphere as well. InduSoft has worked hard to stay at the forefront of this technology, with applications that make use of Google Glass, Microsoft Kinect, Pebble Smartwatches, and more.
GoogleGlass video presentation