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Industrial Internet Consortium Launches New Industrial Testbed

Infosys is leading the group's latest testbed project, for which it is creating a repeatable approach to tracking (and improving) asset efficiency in industrial applications.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Aug 27, 2015

An airplane's landing gear is, obviously, a rather vital subsystem. Any failure it sustains means a delayed departure at best, and a very perilous takeoff or landing at worst. Landing gear is also the asset of record in the latest testbed of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), a member-led organization that is helping to accelerate the deployment of networked sensor-based technology (the Internet of Things) in the industrial sector.

Earlier this year, the IIC, whose founding members include AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, Intel and IBM, launched the testbed program. The consortium relies on the participation of hardware and software vendors to evaluate and share standards-based open architectures for collecting, distributing and analyzing data collected via sensor networks in a way that can be applied to a wide range of business processes across industries. Thus far, its testbeds cover topics ranging from creating an architecture for control systems and data analytics used to manage microgrids to industrial track and trace to condition monitoring.

Landing gear is the focus of the next testbed that the IIC announced this week, but the same approach could be applied to other assets as well. The lead commercial partner is global system integration firm Infosys, with Bosch, Intel, and PTC supporting the effort. The goal is to create a reference architecture—using landing gear as a use case—for improving asset efficiency based on sensory data and machine-to-machine (M2M) systems.

Asset efficiency refers to reducing waste and improving the maintenance and uptime of any industrial asset, and it references efficiency in five different tenants, says Jayraj Nair, the head of Infosys' IOT Practice. These are efficiency in operations, maintenance, service, information and energy. (See the graphic below for a breakdown of specific processes that fall under each of these categories.)

Click on the above graphic to view a larger version.
Early this year, Infosys conducted a study with the Institute for Industrial Management (RIF) at Aachen University that showed a majority—85 percent—of surveyed industrial and process manufacturing companies in China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States believe that they could benefit from improving asset efficiency. Yet, only 15 percent have implemented programs to do so. Most of the surveyed companies also say they want to deploy asset-efficiency programs by 2020, Nair reports.

The study showed a great need for roadmaps for deploying asset-efficiency programs, said Richard Soley, the IIC's executive director, in a recent blog post: "With equipment and system processes becoming intelligent, virtually every activity in the industrial enterprise—say an aircraft, factory, or oil field—generates data. If that data is monitored and turned into meaningful insights, it gives maintenance engineers the opportunity to accurately anticipate and correct failures. That's a powerful opportunity to maximize performance, conserve energy, reduce waste, improve quality and grow profits. And yes, sometimes even save lives."

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