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On the Edge

Gary Mintchell

August 22, 2013 | By Gary Mintchell
All of the analog data acquired from manufacturing and products—a.k.a. the Internet of Things (IoT)—dwarfs what is currently known as Big Data.

Big Data headlines not only tech news but also popular news—as in what’s the government doing with all the information it’s storing about us. Big Data comprises just a twig compared with the full-grown oak that Big Analog Data can generate. National Instruments Fellow Tom Bradicich mentioned twice in separate interviews during NIWeek last month that all of the analog data acquired from manufacturing and products—a.k.a. the Internet of Things (IoT)—dwarfs what is currently known as Big Data.

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July 03, 2013 | By Gary Mintchell
We’ve been discussing the idea of things talking for many years. Now technologies and use cases are finally starting to coalesce into the ‘next big thing’ for improving manufacturing and production.

It will be interesting when things really begin to talk. And listen. And talk back. We’ve been discussing the idea of things talking for many years. Now technologies and use cases are finally starting to coalesce into the “next big thing” for improving manufacturing and production.

You know the technology is finally stable enough when suppliers that are not thought of as specifically “automation” suppliers are embedding connectivity into their products. That is one of the top goals for OPC UA, according to Tom Burke, president of the OPC Foundation (www.opcfoundation.org), for example. Technology should just be used.

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June 07, 2013 | By Gary Mintchell
Users give examples that show the benefits of digital technologies, including reduced scrap through better data, and money savings in operations.

“Are all those technologies real?” he asked.

A professional in the audience during my presentation on digital technologies (networking, fieldbuses, OPC, MES, diagnostics and the like) at the recent Maintenance and Reliability Technology Summit (MARTS) interrupted my presentation with that question. I didn’t mind the interruption. In fact, I prefer them.

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April 25, 2013 | By Gary Mintchell
Germany today is awash in conversations regarding an initiative known as “Industry 4.0.” I just returned from the Hannover Fair in Germany. As it was explained to me, Industry 4.0 began as a German government initiative to spur the industrial sector, which is very important to the German economy.

We hear all manner of conjectures about the future of manufacturing. Some worry about the new generation of engineers, managers and technicians. Others worry about corporate management’s lack of understanding of manufacturing and the subsequent devaluation of manufacturing as a strategic corporate resource.

I read “The Second Industrial Divide,” a 1986 book in which the authors (Michael Piore and Charles Sabel) argue that there were two industrial “divides,” meaning that we were just then about to enter the third phase of manufacturing.

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FILED IN:Chemical, Automotive
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March 12, 2013 | By Gary Mintchell
Even though I had picked up signs of skepticism about cloud computing from end users, the conversations at the ARC World Industry Forum implied that moving to the cloud is no longer controversial.

Enterprise Information Technology (IT) professionals and suppliers always question why I’m interviewing them about using the cloud as part of their IT strategy. As far as they are concerned, it is a “done deal.” Manufacturing IT professionals, manufacturing managers and automation engineers remain skeptical, however, about the security and robustness of storing data in the cloud.

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FILED IN:Cloud Computing
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Thank you for the kind words, Gary. I had a good time. It's fun to talk about stuff you enjoy doing. Remember that "The Cloud" will soon become another one of those technologies that everyone will use; most won't know how it works and even more won't care.

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