JUL-AUG 2017

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By Andrew D. Hopkins and Brian Irwin INTECH JULY/AUGUST 2017 25 nately, in a mining setting, high-bandwidth Inter- net does not always exist. And so, most of the data generated by the machine cannot be streamed to a cloud and analyzed in real time. Conversely, in manufacturing environments, the challenge may have more to do with latency than connectivity. Breakdowns in automated manufacturing processes (particularly with pro- cess manufacturers) can cause significant down- time and loss of production. In these situations, any latency in the collection and analysis of data and the "triggering" of actions can be very expen- sive. Here, machine solutions that allow instant, near-real-time warnings to machines and opera- tors or even preventative machine shutdowns can reduce risks and costs much better than cloud- based solutions prone to latency. Gaining an edge Similar issues exist in numerous other industries— in farming and mining, for example, at industrial sites in remote areas with low-bandwidth Internet connections, or in plants and factories with highly complex machines and operations. This is why networking hardware vendors, such as Cisco, Dell, and HPE Intel, have found ways to use the analyt- ics capabilities built into devices like network rout- ers or switches, which operate very near or even next to the data-generating equipment. And high ly specialized analytics firms like the U.S. startup Lone Star Analysis have refined this approach and improved the analytics capabilities so that these devices can analyze the data coming from the equipment and glean decisions and instructions from them in near real time with relatively limited computing power. It is an approach that not only solves many in- frastructure or efficiency challenges associated with cloud-based big data analytics by generating faster analytical results, but it enables decentral- ized decision making. There are two benefits that can help address key operational challenges. Faster analytics, for instance, benefits a wide range of industrial situations that require real-time SYSTEM INTEGRATION

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