As technology suppliers adapt their product and services offerings around the developing requirements of the Internet of Things (IoT), a key theme has emerged: partnerships. It’s a necessary tactic for technology suppliers because the move toward IoT is happening so fast that suppliers do not have the time to develop their own products that can provide all the functionality needed by users. It’s also a benefit for users because it’s helping drive greater interoperability between suppliers’ technologies.
With the move toward IoT spreading across industries, OSIsoft—one of the more well-known providers of data collection and analysis technologies—finds itself in an enviable position. Because its products store so much of industry’s operational data, the company is now at the center of numerous IoT projects.
OSIsoft’s PI System captures data from sensors, manufacturing equipment and other devices to provide real-time insights that engineers, executives and partners can use to reduce costs, improve overall productivity or create new services.
To become an even more active participant in industry’s move toward IoT, OSIsoft made two announcements at its conference this week related to IoT and the digitalization of industry. Both announcements involve close collaboration with OSIsoft’s technology partners.
The first announcement relates to OSIsoft’s collaboration with partners such as Advantech/B+B SmartWorx, ADLink, Arrow and RtTech to encourage the development of new products and offerings that can improve manufacturers’ ability to deploy PI-based gateways to link facilities data to production data. These new products could also be used to enable pipeline companies, for example, to harvest data in remote locations.
To pave the way for this kind of technology collaboration, OSIsoft has prepared a software portfolio for edge gateway hardware providers and others that contain the necessary PI System technology to accelerate connectivity with remote and mobile assets, IoT sensors and the PI System. With this combination of OSIsoft software and partner hardware technology, OSIsoft says it is enabling equipment suppliers, application providers and system integrators to create IoT systems at the edge that will allow users to run the PI System closer to remote assets where the data can be stored, viewed and analyzed for faster decision making and optimized network bandwidth utilization.
“Our customers face a digital dilemma,” said OSIsoft’s Martin Otterson. “They want to invest in new industrial IoT technology and begin to capture and analyze new sources of data. At the same time, they worry about incompatibilities or integration challenges that can outweigh the benefits. Through these partnerships we can eliminate these problems by ensuring that these new sources of data can be added to existing data infrastructures easily. Ultimately we want to make it easier for any authorized person to get insight into any device or process at any time.”
OSIsoft also announced its Marketplace, an online site designed to link industrial customers with more than 300 hardware, software and integration partners in the OSIsoft Partner EcoSphere, as well as the 2,600 third-party developers in the PI Developers Club. Using Marketplace, OSIsoft says users can compare technologies for the Internet of Things, predictive analytics and machine learning, reducing asset downtime, data visualization and cloud-based analytics. Users can also engage specialists for remote asset and process monitoring, condition-based maintenance and performance benchmarking.
Some of the Marketplace providers highlighted by OSIsoft in its announcement of this new service include:
- National Instruments with its LabView system design software and InsightCM Enterprise software for condition monitoring—both of which can bi-directionally communicate with the PI System.
- Rockwell Automation, which integrates the PI System into its FactoryTalk platform to aggregate plant automation data for real-time insights.
- Element Analytics, an industrial analytics software company that helps users turn data into actionable reliability, productivity and sustainability insights.
- eVision Industry Software’s Control of Work software which, when integrated with the PI System, provides users in hazardous industries with real-time situational awareness from permit draft to the control room.
To showcase the kind of results it’s technology partnerships enable, OSIsoft highlighted an application recently done with its partner RtTech. OSIsoft focused on this application as an example of how IoT capabilities can be incorporated into established legacy control and monitoring systems that cannot accommodate new sensors or are too costly to upgrade.
In this application, RtTech worked with tissue manufacturers to instrument and monitor remote log saws that cut lengthy tubes of paper into rolls of toilet paper or other consumables. Because of their isolation and age, the only option for monitoring the health of these log saws was to rely on manual inspections with pencils and clipboards, or perform complex, costly retrofits.
Using edge gateways with integrated PI system technology, RtTech’s energy and reliability apps can now help deliver efficiency and energy savings on these remote pieces of equipment.
“We’ve seen manufacturers [using this technology] reduce power consumption by 7 percent, increase asset availability by as much as 10 percent and improve event capture rates to 99 percent accuracy,” said Keith Flynn, president of RtTech.