Articles

Data Security Practices Can Ensure a More Reliable and Secure Wireless Remote Monitoring and Control System

Josh Schadel, Director of Engineering
SignalFire Wireless Telemetry

Data breaches and hacking put companies in jeopardy of exposing critical business information or can cause damage to company operations.  While the most visible cases relate to computer databases, data transmitted over any network can be captured by an outside intruder.  Attacks on wireless sensing and control networks also can cause an unintended system operation, affecting production loss or safety issues. Continue reading

Utility IoT and the Cloud: From Connecting Assets to Enterprise-Wide IoT

By Brian Bradford, Vice President, Industry Strategy
Oracle Utilities

The Internet of Things (IoT) and increasing distributed energy resources and connected devices at the edge of the grid are transforming the electric utility industry. The sheer numbers of devices are phenomenal: smart meter deployments in the United States alone were projected last year to reach 70 million by the end of the year, and to reach 90 million by 2020.[1] And its not just smart meters in the new electricity network: utilities are also increasingly deploying smart field sensors, and end consumers and their utilities are both adding distributed energy resources (DER), smart thermostats and the like to the edge of the grid in record numbers. Continue reading

What’s Next for Cyberattacks? The Steps to Securing Our Critical Infrastructure

Stewart Kantor, CEO and a Co-Founder
Full Spectrum Inc,

For those of us old enough to remember life prior to the wireless networks which now provide continual connectivity and bolster reliance on the internet, one recalls a period in which our country relied upon regulated monopolies – established by the phone companies – for most of its voice and data communications.  Fast forward to 2017 where, in the U.S. we’ve entered an age where internet access is nearly universal thanks to ever increasing competition and the integration of technological advances including automation, machine learning and now even artificial intelligence in our daily lives. These advances, which are frequently used by consumers and commercial enterprises, are now being leveraged within our nation’s critical infrastructure (C.I), introducing new network integrity and security concerns. Continue reading

Don’t Know What You Got ’til It’s Gone; Why Paying Attention to Backup Battery Power is Important

Chris Mangum, President & CEO
Servato

Power outages are a fact of life. Generally when we think of outages we think about freak weather events or big cities pushed to their generation limits during peak summer hours. All in all, we imagine power outages as events that happen to other people and are highly unlikely to affect us and our businesses. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Outages are increasing in prevalence and impact, and so backup power is taking on greater importance. Continue reading

MQTT: Winning the War of IIoT Protocols

Colin Geis, Director of Product Management, IIoT
Red Lion Controls

The IIoT revolution is in full swing, but there are several contenders in the protocol market for communicating plant floor data to IIoT cloud platforms. While the leader of this race to connectivity appears to be MQTT, alternatives like AMQP, STOMP and REST APIs (among others) provide a variety of benefits that make a choice less than straightforward. Even within the MQTT universe, despite its status as a standard, varied interpretations and implementation practices cause difficulties for those crafting a solution. Making an informed decision on which protocol to select needs to originate with a recognition of the goals of IIoT programs, an understanding of how this compares to traditional industrial communications objectives and protocol choices, and a review of the benefits and limitations of competing IIoT protocols and platforms. Continue reading

Specifying Intrinsically Safe Remote Monitoring Sensor Systems for Hazardous Class I, Division 1 Environments

Josh Schadel, Director of Engineering
SignalFire Wireless Telemetry

Wireless sensor networks frequently operate in hazardous areas where caustic atmospheres pose a safety risk to electrical equipment.   A Class I, Division 1 hazardous area is defined as an environment where combustible gas, vapor or mist is present or is expected to be present for extended periods under normal operating conditions.  An example is a tank or well level monitoring application that involves the storage of dangerous or volatile materials.   This top of the oil tank or well head presents a potential hazardous environment.  All the components of a wireless sensor control system operating in these types of hazardous applications must be properly rated for safe operation.  Continue reading

How IIoT and SCADA Systems are Melding Together

Dr Yair Poleg, PhD,  Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Ayyeka

For more than 50 years, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems have been at the forefront of monitoring industrial infrastructure through computerized means. Comprising a collection of cyber-secure, industrial-grade hardware and software to collect, analyze, and control information from sensors, SCADA systems are deployed around the world to monitor and control complex, fast-moving industrial processes that exceed humans’ abilities for manual oversight. SCADA applications include providing monitoring and control capabilities in power generation plants, HVAC systems, and large-scale manufacturing processes such as automated production lines.  Continue reading