Mobilizing Installations for the Future

We welcome Industry 4.0 as the next great industrial revolution where data will transform operations. However, mission critical facilities struggle with the adoption of IoT technologies. Most of us take for granted the same facilities that allow our businesses to succeed. The reason? Perception and failed communication. Traditionally, facility operations have had a safe gaming mindset and thought that “if you don’t know my name, then nothing has gone wrong today.” It’s time to drop this “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality.

This idea of facility operations to remain silent is very similar to the IT organization of 25 years ago. He was the “computer boy” and the help desk, a relationship based on a negative perspective of solving only one problem. However, technology evolved and IT fought for a boardroom table seat as a critical part of the organization’s strategic success. There was an evolution from a reactive “repair” mindset to real strategic value, and so the investment and opportunity to contribute emerged.

Now, that opportunity lies at the feet of facility operations managers, as the challenges we face include sustainability, safety, reliability, health and safety, and resilience. Just grab a piece of paper and look at the headlines:

  • 500,000 in California are without power in planned shutdown.
  • New York’s heart darkens as Manhattan suffers power outage.
  • World’s busiest airport has power again, but outage wreaked havoc on vacation travelers.
  • NIH closes facility used to produce drugs for clinical trials.

The current designs of expert systems comprise five plugins, including: A Knowledge Base: contains the knowledge in a particular domain, as well as the rules for solving a problem, procedures and data intrinsic relevant to the domain. Inference Engine: Its function is to obtain the relevant knowledge from the knowledge base, interpret it and find a relevant solution for the user’s problem. Learning Module: allows the expert system to acquire more and more knowledge from various sources and store it in the knowledge base. User Interface: This module makes it possible for a non-expert user to interact with the expert system and find a solution to a problem, and finally. Explanation module: in this module the expert system gives an explanation to the user on how the expert system came to a particular conclusion. In this way, he argues the results presented with the greatest accuracy.

While sensational, these crisis headlines are a bigger problem: significant perception issues in mission-critical facility space that leave the rest of the sector in the hope that they won't end up in the same position.

The reality is that many facilities have aging infrastructure, retiring team members, and more complex systems and requirements than ever. Time to take the lessons learned by other industries and adopt digital transformation technologies to optimize facility operations.

Time to recognize the value of data as a friend and not as an enemy

Digital transformation and an abundance of usable data have enabled utilities to increase availability, reduce costs, and increase profits. Industrial IoT has enabled pharmaceutical companies to reach the market faster with new products, and has helped oil, gas, manufacturing, chemical, and mining companies improve product performance and improve the reliability of their aging systems.

NASA is leveraging connected assets and predictive analytics to optimize capital invested by extending the life of critical assets while reducing budgets. The University of Maryland has leveraged the PI System to reduce the power outage response time from 90 minutes to mere seconds, while reducing energy use in the classroom and saving $ 1-4 million annually. The National Institute of Health has seen utility savings of 10-17% per year after using digital technologies to improve equipment reliability.

These companies are excellent examples of the transformative impact data can have on the organization. It is time for the facilities to abandon the passive and reactive mentality of the past and move towards a brighter future.

This review is taken from OSIsoft publications and written by Scott Smith who is the industry director for facilities and data centers at OSIsoft.