Industrial Internet of Things Is Everywhere

Aug. 7, 2015
The Industrial Internet of Things is already being built with real technologies that solve specific business challenges within energy automation and intelligent traffic systems. This article highlights specific examples of how it’s happening.

Volatility in the price of oil is extremely high at the moment. The cyclical trends of this market are no cause for a halt in network modernization; rather, they are a justification for it.

Imagine if extraction and production processes could be easily automated so that they were coordinated with global supply and, therefore, the price of oil. Furthermore, what if investing in the modernization of a brownfield plant saved operational costs? With intelligent sensors and intelligent edge devices, oil and gas customers are finding today that they don’t have to only imagine such scenarios.

Sensors are becoming much more intelligent and capable, especially within the process automation sectors. However, with this technology advance there comes an increase of data. Being able to read and act on the data being generated at the field level of an oil and gas platform, for example, is something that is not commonplace within the oil and gas industry. In extremely remote or inhospitable locations, oil and gas extraction points onshore or at sea are limited by the bandwidth available to them. Satellite communication is the primary mode of data delivery from the field to the off-site control room.

Given these realities, when you consider that the data provided by modernized sensor technology can generate up to 2 TB per oil platform daily, it can take up to 12 days to process data from the point of transfer.

Edge computing solves this data bottleneck problem by bringing the analysis component of operations to the location where it’s all happening. As a result, oil production can be altered in real time in response to high-powered analytics. Reads on pressure, temperature and flow also shed valuable insight to the state of capital equipment to prevent unexpected operational failures. A higher degree of seamless integration with high-power computer centers at central control can now pull data from the fleet network in the field with great veracity. Reduced infrastructure costs obtained by circumventing PLCs in the field offer a huge benefit to the bottom line as well.

By using Moxa’s embedded computer line, Moxa is bringing automated decision-making capability to remote oil and gas locations across the upstream and midstream arena. In the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concept, data equals power, but only if you can act on it. Now, the world’s most remote oil and gas operations have the ability to take data-driven decision-making from days to milliseconds.

Smart roads enable smart cars

Have you ever wondered what infrastructure would be needed to support a highway of smart cars? Moxa has. With our high-bandwidth switches, industrialized wireless units and host of gateway technologies, Moxa is already helping cities from Taipei to New York modernize with intelligent transportation systems—capable infrastructure for a future of connected cars and traffic systems.

The challenges of enabling this exciting display of IIoT in our world’s flagship cities are many, but the two main advancements necessary for success are scalability and network availability. Moxa has played an enormous part in modernizing the traffic management and surveillance systems surrounding Silicon Valley and the Atlantic coastal cities of the U.S. Using our extensive gateway product offering, Moxa was able to support CCTV surveillance networks and tunnel control systems while interfacing with the existing infrastructures. Redundant fiber rings support localized traffic lights throughout the city to offer a separate, more scalable network that can grow with the city’s future demands for modernization. This network layer approach has allowed Moxa to attach city traffic modernization projects without disposing of existing, usable infrastructures.

In the end, IIoT is about breaking down industry and technological divisions that have existed between vertical industries and technologies for the past 50 years. Hadoop structures are supporting extensive energy and city infrastructure networks with on-site data processing capabilities. Respectively, industrial hardware has scaled up to support massive data infrastructures once reserved for the enterprise arena only. Moxa is seeing this exciting exchange of ideas and technologies from both industrial hardware and enterprise software companies alike, and the exchange is happening on the expanding—and ever more capable—network of the Industrial Internet of Things.

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