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IoT partners offer cloud-based predictive monitoring

09 May, 2014

The US networking equipment supplier B&B Electronics has formed a partnership with an Internet-of-Things (IoT) specialist, SeeControl, to offer predictive monitoring systems for industrial applications. This is the first of several strategic relationships that B&B is planning with cloud-based data analysis companies.

The aim is to help users to obtain usable intelligence from raw machine data gathered from equipment being monitored across multiple sites, allowing them to improve their operational efficiency and financial decision-making.

According to B&B, existing monitoring systems generate large amounts of data, most of which is transient operational data with little value for analysis. The two companies are combining their technologies to unlock useful, actionable insights from the raw data.

For example, B&B’s Spectre routers can be programmed to extract, process and transmit data that is relevant to a user. SeeControl’s M2M SaaS cloud-based remote monitoring platform can then analyse the data and create datasets that help to spot trends, identify potential problem patterns, and make predictions, allowing users to take actions to cut costs or increase revenues.

Such actions could include:

•  scheduling preventive maintenance when the data suggests it is needed, rather than using field technicians to take regular, routine machine readings;

•  taking corrective action to avoid catastrophic failures of assets, after identifying performance that is degrading over time; and

•  teaching an irrigation system to release water only when it is needed, based on soil conditions, weather forecasts and other factors.

B&B and SeeControl's tank-monitoring installation in Arizona can predict and prevent system failures by measuring and aggregating pump currents

B&B and SeeControl have already collaborated on a remote tank monitoring installation for a co-op of well-owners in Arizona. This predicts, and thus prevents, system failures by measuring and aggregating pump currents. By combining SeeControl’s analytics with B&B’s Scada technology, the system can take action based on changes it detects over time, alerting technicians to schedule pre-emptive maintenance before catastrophic failures can occur. This allows efficient use of manpower when servicing large numbers of field assets.

“Getting actionable insight from your machine data is a critical part of any IoT/ M2M application,” explains Parthesh Shastri, SeeControl’s vice-president of customer success and strategy. “B&B’s M2M cellular router series, with support for multiple industrial protocols, provides a single-box solution that organises, summarises and transmits processed data to SeeControl’s platform, allowing us to build better predictive analytic solutions.”

SeeControl’s M2M SaaS cloud-based platform provides continuous monitoring and data analytics for insight into operations and status at multiple remote sites from a single platform. It needs no coding skills, and provides tools to customise individual applications.

“When you can aggregate data from multiple generations of technology, move it all up to the cloud, and analyse it using various third-party inputs like SeeControl does, you’re presented with an opportunity to use your data in unprecedented ways,” says B&B’s M2M systems development engineering manager, Bill Conley. “The real magic is happening up in the cloud and in the analytics.”

B&B’s Spectre cellular router – which connects Ethernet equipment and other devices wirelessly to the Internet or Intranet via 3G and 4G phone networks – can act as an Ethernet and/or serial network backbone, aggregating multiple data-streams from various machine languages, converting the data into usable Ethernet TCP/IP, and then transmitting it to the cloud for analysis.

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