Sophie BORGNE is the Senior Vice President of Digital Plant Business, developing industrial automation products and systems for hybrid and discrete industries, with a strong focus on Digital Offers and Industrial Internet of Things. Since she joined Schneider Electric in 2001, Sophie has gained a strong international exposure in Africa, China, France and Italy while leading teams in many different functions: marketing, business development, process automation systems testing, customer support, industrialization & supply chain and training. Sophie holds a Master of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Paris) and a Master in Business Administration from the Collège des Ingénieurs (Paris).
The next evolution of IIoT solutions for Industry
There’s always been a buzz around the Industrial Internet of Things. It’s hard not to get excited about the benefits it can bring industrial businesses. Unfortunately customers who try IIoT don’t always get the value they expect out of their projects.
Companies also report they are only using a fraction of the data they’ve collected (McKinsey & Company). It’s clear the problem is not in accessing data, but the ability to harness usable business insights. Without the right expertise and analytical tools they’re like needles in a haystack, and this is one of the biggest barriers to digitization.
What is the next step for IIoT solutions?
To bridge this gap, we believe the next step is an all-in-one IIoT platform that enables customers to:
Make use of existing applications which generate specific business insights for industries such as mining, minerals and metals, water and wastewater, and consumer packaged goods.
Build custom apps for their industry
Easily connect third party software with the system
Our vision for an IIoT platform
The concept of an open IIoT platform is a little like your home computer/cell phone and operating system.
Your home computer comes off the shelf with an operating system and a selection of software programs designed for most of your day-to-day computing needs.
Depending on your job, hobbies, or business needs, you might buy extra programs like professional editing or accounting software.
There are countless other apps out there for seemingly anything you need, but if you can’t find a program that is suitable for your task, you can create your own custom app.
Computers and phones are both plug and play yet highly customizable. It makes them a convenient and easy to use, yet powerful piece of technology for both the average user and the specialist. Similarly, with our all-in-one solution EcoStruxure Plant Advisor, customers can choose from a set of pre-packaged applications or build their own to meet specific needs.
To deliver the app builder functionality we’ve partnered with software enterprise Decisyon. Thanks to the Decisyon App Composer technology embedded in the platform, customers will be able to quickly and easily develop custom apps to clearly focus on specific business needs.
Conveniently, end users also have access to a network of experts on the Schneider Electric Exchange to deliver exactly the right KPI insights to show the way to optimization and profitability. And of course, they’re then able to share the apps they’ve created with other users in the app store.
Reaching world class levels of sustainable, profitable business performance
As well as improving the business value Industry gets from digitization, an open secure IIoT platform like this brings other benefits:
Reduced IT, maintenance and engineering costs
Accelerated and simplified IoT project deployment
Standardized solutions cross sites
Solution can be scaled to cover multiple sites and facilities
As I said earlier, it’s easy to get excited about IIoT. Most of us know by now that IIoT can bring many benefits to industrial business in terms of efficiency and profitability. But digital transformation is a journey. To help customers from diverse applications in different industries reach this level, we need solutions that allow them to pull insights from their operational data more easily and effectively, while allowing them to take the journey step by step.
To learn more about this step-wise approach and the latest in IIoT solutions, visit the Schneider Electric Exchange.
Originally posted on SE Blog
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As a result of COVID, industrial companies are becoming increasingly interested in remote operations and for good reason. With Industry 4.0 and the right level of cybersecurity, remote management allows factory operators to continue to adjust processes, conduct maintenance, and make operational decisions with actionable insights — even when access to the physical plant is restricted.
This also highlights the importance of the industrial edge. There’s been a growing hype around edge computing for some years now, and with the acceleration of digital transformation, I think we’re about to find out why.
What’s the deal with the industrial edge?
The Edge Control layer has traditionally been thought of as the domain of high-speed, real time control. It’s a place where signals are analyzed and decisions are made as fast as possible. The Apps and Analytics layer, on the other hand, is where data is gathered and all the sorting and calculations are done to turn that data into useful business guidance.
Well, what if we combine the real time nature of the Edge Control layer with some of the data analysis capabilities of the Apps and Analytics layer? This approach is part of a broader trend called industrial edge computing and it’s gaining traction. Today, there’s increasing need for data crunching capabilities at the edge. Applications such as asset management, for example, need to monitor performance and process data in real time to work properly. There’s also a need to present richer insights from business systems data combined with operating data from staff working on the plant floor.
Practically, this means data must be stored and analyzed as close as possible to where it’s produced, creating a need to process large amounts of data quickly. Latency is the enemy — in some control applications we’re talking milli-seconds. A round-trip to a cloud data center and back just won’t cut it!
To address these challenges as we get deeper into Industry 4.0, and especially in the post-COVID era, I get the feeling we’re going to be seeing a lot more of industrial edge computing.
The edge computing trend in practice
For plants in remote locations or harsh environments with limited connectivity, edge computing is even more relevant. These customers need robust, powerful solutions to address complex challenges. Two of our oil and gas production customers in Southeast Asia and the Middle East with limited connectivity to remote wells have implemented edge computing solutions to help operators get the most value out of their systems.
Both customers shared common objectives:
To capture expertise from their most senior operators, automate it, and deploy it across more assets
To actively manage asset lifecycles and maintenance schedules
To optimize well production by reducing unplanned downtime and maximizing oil volumes
To help these two customers achieve these objectives, we implemented EcoStruxure Autonomous Production Advisor (EAPA), a new solution which will be commercially available later this year. It brings together the power and flexibility of cloud and edge computing with machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities.
Machine learning models capture expertise from experienced senior operators and subject matter experts. This approach enables the customer to detect, classify, and in some cases, even predict when the asset is going to enter an abnormal operating state — not only from an electrical and mechanical perspective, but also from the production process perspective.
Both customers are reporting very positive results. In one case the customer achieved a 13% increase in production while reducing the energy consumption of the oil extraction pump by 34%. With the benefits of this solution, the customer expects to extend the lifetime of the well thanks to reduced stresses on the system.
Open, innovative, collaborative solutions
As the industrial digital transformation progresses, we see more and more approaches like edge computing that are based on new ways of using the three levels of Apps and Analytics, Edge Control, and Connected Products. These ‘hybrid’ solutions evolve based on real-world experience and are driven by demand for ever higher levels of profitability and sustainability.
By combining the computing power of the apps layer with the high-speed, real time nature of the edge layer, staff can access the high-quality insights whenever and wherever they need them. This is why we call it innovation at every level!
To learn more about edge computing and how it enables Industry 4.0, watch The Rise of Industrial Edge panel session, I recently participated in with colleagues from Schneider Electric, AVEVA, and Stratus Technologies.
Originally posted on SE Blog
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