Operations technology (OT), such as control systems, are crucial elements in our daily lives. They make the stoplights function at intersections. They guide robots with precise movements on the shop floor. Their switches and routers are the backbone of our internet.
But what if they were even more intelligent? What if the actions of OT were guided not only by engineering principles but by data, prescriptive instruction based on advanced analysis and informed by real-time, relevant information? Then, OT systems become responsive to the current conditions of their environment and can even become adaptive.
This is the promise of the Internet of Things: powering OT with analytics.
The energy industry has been discussing a variation of this topic over the past 10 years – many calling it the convergence of OT and IT. The conversation really took off when energy companies began adding intelligent sensors such as smart meters to the massive power grid.
The convergence of OT and IT at utility companies is already proving helpful in making more strategic decisions in terms of transmission and distribution system optimization. Now, there is a shift underway to apply machine learning techniques, forecasts and other algorithms into event stream processing to mine even more value from this data for improved reliability, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
In this video, Jason Handley of Duke Energy’s Emerging Technology Office reflects on the two-fold value of a responsive smart grid system.
- For customers, personalized energy management informed by patterns of data streaming from social and highly-sensored devices, such as smartphones, wearable technology, cars, and online personas.
- For energy providers, improved asset management that leads to a more resilient grid and long-term planning
Infusing OT with IT analytics seems to be the most logical step in gaining value from IoT data. It also brings us closer to an Internet of Analytics, which transcends “things” themselves and focuses on the communication and actions that things can take on our behalf. The Internet of Analytics is really the transformational business platform for future innovation.