Making Remote Systems Digitally Intelligent and More Efficient


Renner Vaughn, ABB

What if there was a way to make your remote assets seem a little less remote? What about a lot less remote? Next-gen digital solutions are here to expand the reach and impact of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) exponentially, making it possible for industrial operators to manage facilities and networks with an unprecedented level of flexibility, ease and efficiency.

Advanced cloud platforms with the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) tie together entire work sites – even distributed supply chains. Big data, connectivity, control systems, smart sensors and other automated technologies have been largely isolated from each other until now. Contextual understanding of the data obtained from connected devices is the key element inadding business value from the Industrial IoT. However, having real-time information is not useful unless it can be acted on quickly. This could mean distributing information to individuals inside the organization, other systems in the network, other devices, or back to the device itself. No context to the data means that we end up with a big mess (instead of big data), and the analytics can deliver the wrong result (that may look right).

By bringing actionable intelligence and advanced analytics together on one common technology platform, it becomes possible to clearly see broader patterns, predict device performance and asset health through simulations, as well as identify logistical bottlenecks. Organizations can now take preventive action to avoid evolving conflicts or costly maintenance and safety issues that were completely unforeseeable before.

For example, at remote oil & gas fields, collaborative operations such as security, control loops, alarms, rotating equipment and safety systems can all be managed through secure connectivity and data management while accommodating for future scalability needs. Remote problem resolution can result in significant cost reductions; for instance, just an eight hour stop in operations can cost operators $1 million.

For utilities, changing regulations, distributed resources and convergence of Information Technology and Operations Technology (IT/OT)are todays challenges. By using intelligent and actionable data collection and analysis, utility operators can better understand root causes, predict failures and reduce future events.

Within this technology platform, are advanced communication systems that enable real-time data between cloud platfoms and the Industrial IoT. Todays modern wireless networks seamlessly connect to the array of diverse interfaces and protocols supported by industrial things, translating their data into IP traffic on standard physical and logical network interfaces. For example, for an oil & gas operator in the Eagle Ford that is over 100 miles across, if the well is shut-in (production is stopped) due to a communications failure, it can cost the operator up to $1 million per day in lost production revenue. By utilizing a communications network that can deliver real-time data, operators gain situational awareness that can reduce unnecessary shut-ins and site visits vastly increasing efficiency and lowering operations expenses.

ABB has identified five critical things that are necessary to deliver the fullest amount of data-driven value and solve the disparate-sources dilemma:

  • Deliver a comprehensive dashboard:Provide a single view of condition data from all data sources, in real time
  • Integrate data sources:Aggregate and synthesize condition data from all sources, tearing down informational silos in the process
  • Provide an overview of operational health:Allow for tailored visualizations of equipment and process status, enabling predictive maintenance
  • Enable information sharing:Encourage collaboration and decision-making with the ability to share and comment on insights in the dashboard view, across locations
  • Simplify the user experience:Provide a modern, intuitive interface, complete with a drag-and-drop dashboard editor

Through ABBs Ability, system wide data is aggregated into easily accessible dashboards that help organizations gain insight and arrive at decisions faster. We are talking about comprehensive, tailored solutions, backed by the pinnacle of measuring and evaluation expertise. Its like crowd-sourcing for optimized solutions.

Turning data into insights and ultimately, into action in the physical world, provides improved efficiency for the customer. For oil & gas operators, this can result in significant OPEX savings, lowered commissioning costs, and minimized safety incidents. For utilities, it can mean fewer outages, truck-rolls and happier customers. All in all, by utilizing the next-generation of AI, cloud and communications technologies, todays industries no matter how remote, can gain actionable intelligence that drives down safety incidents, improves operations and reduces costs.

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