Last week I was at mining conference and had a rare chance to sit back and listen to people’s thoughts on innovation, and the future. It was good to hear the topics of partnership are key to innovation, (relating to my blog of a month “Participation architecture and culture key to Innovation”).
As expected the “internet of things” came up a lot, in many contexts, like it did at the Dairy conference the week before. With this cam the usual many definitions of IOT and the impact it will have on the mining industry. I just wondered how many people really comprehend the value, and complexity that it brings?
One evening I was on call with France with a partner discussing smart cities and IOT and he made the interesting comment:
“The Internet of Things has moved beyond big data and analysis to how will we align the devices and people into an orchestrated operational strategy that achieves a repeatable agile outcomes.”
I sat back with a big smile as he had articulated the change I had been seeing. As decisions and data is nice but it must go from data, information, knowledge to wisdom where actions can be taken, no matter if that action is taken by a device, or human.
Then I saw this categories of maturity in the internet of things, I had seen something similar but in a week of much discussion on this topic I thought this one would do. It shows devices going from a data sources with intelligent data / I hope actually Information. Evolving to control of devices in orchestrated way, no matter if the control is in the thing or in cloud the things know how to work together in a coordinated strategy. Once you have all the things working together you can move to tuning their operational behavior and effectiveness. This seems simple but things require access to control strategies, and orchestrations that guide these things, now we talking 100s to 1000s of things in this coordinated community. Eventually you end up autonomy or semi autonomy “managed by exception”.
In another discussion with a large network hardware supplier we were discussing a mining extraction alignment solution that could be enabled by IOT unlike today. So we took a practical look at the application, and saw 10s of like machines and a few classes of machines. Then you look at the operational processes they executing and again see repetition, but we are now talking 1000s look at devices. Yet we had a customer wanting achieve level 3 in the above model “Optimization”. I thought back to many industrial sites I have been on in the last few years where there are 10s of PLCs programmed with larger control strategies but programmed at different times and by different people (even if from the same vendor) and how customers were having a significant cost of ownership in evolving these strategies. This why organizations like OMAC and PACKML have come about defining standard control strategies for operations/ devices that could span vendors.
So I ended back at my conflict, as we move to landscape where we will have 1000s of devices often smaller than traditional PLCs but each with their own monitoring, or control strategies, and then high level strategies that enable the orchestration of these devices/ things into a an effective operational strategy.
I asked how are we going sustain and evolve these strategies without having an “Enterprise Standards Management Framework” that enable standards to built for an operation? These are then deployed over 100s of similar operations on different devices. Now we shifted to managed, agile and sustainable solution.
The thought of 100s of people programming 1000s of devices and then trying tune and evolve these seems un practical, plus if we enable standards management the reuse of IP and rapid rollout is achieved, while leveraging the revolution to smart devices and lower cost devices that execute these strategies.
A food for thought!!!!!