So often today you hear the word “smart” put on the front of a segment describing the transformational program encompassing many of the Internet of Things concepts.
Smart Cities, Smart Farms/ Agriculture, Smart Airports, Smart Plants, Smart Fields etc.
Are they different or do they all come down to a basic set of concepts, transformations that are applied to that industry to significantly shift the needle in operational efficiency?
Fair question, and so often lately I am being asked what is the difference between IT/OT, IOT, and Smart xxx? So I thought it was worth a discussion, as I suspect there different interactions.
To me the discussion of “smart/intelligent” industrial it is all about achieving “operational Optimization/ Excellence”, to suite the required production at the most effective time, cost. This is a shift from time based production and managing the process to managing the production of product/service. Driving the optimized execution of work / actions on operational processes for that product/service delivery.
At the core it is about changing the way in which we manage and execute work tasks, either automated or actions with human intervention so that only required work is performed at the correct time.
“Smart Strategies” are fundamentally different from current IoT, Big Data etc. thinking:
- The IoT, Big Data etc. Initiatives/trends can be characterized as offering the 5 “any’s” – any information, in any context, at any time, to any user, for any action
- “Smart” products and operations can be characterized as offering the 5 “right’s” – the right information, in the right context (operations situation), at the right time (which is often earlier than “real-time”), to the right users for the right actions (which are often preventative and at best prescriptive).
All fundamental on the journey towards “operational excellence.”
That said “Smart Strategies” will employ the services of IOT, and big data, but the key is “Smart” is about tightening the execution of an operation process relative to the current product delivery expectations. A key concept is that the Operational Process, (no matter if it is in a city, airport, or production line) understands:
- What it is expected to deliver in characteristics of product or service, and when
- It is “self-aware” of it’s condition and ability to deliver that product/ service, due to capability, materials and the situation it is in.
- It is able to then request and interact with other process, applications, assets and people to gain the required actions needed to succeed and when.
This is a transformation from just understanding it is taking control of the process, as opposed to time schedule actions.