Microsoft is demonstrating a series of innovations in advanced industrial scenarios for the internet of things (IoT) at Hannover Messe 2015.
These scenarios enable powerful new ways to connect and harness data from industrial devices and next-level automated factories, using artificial intelligence, cloud-connected, and self-diagnosing elevators.
Many manufacturing systems and specifically their service-oriented architectures are based on the OPC standard. This standard enables connectivity between data sources, but does present challenges when it comes to security and data modeling.
The OPC Foundation – which maintains and develops the OPC standard – has developed OPC UA. This is a unified architecture to address security and data modeling challenges in a scalable way, helping to simplify connections between industrial machinery.
At Hannover Messe, Microsoft is demonstrating how its Azure IoT services are connecting existing infrastructure to the cloud through OPC UA.
This unified architecture is designed for local networks and interconnects equipment inside industrial facilities. OPC UA’s standardised interface makes it easy to link to the cloud, and Microsoft has created an OPC UA connector that streams data from industrial equipment to a cloud messaging endpoint, such as Azure Event Hubs.
This has been demonstrated at Hannover Messe, highlighting how companies can gain valuable data insight into their operations by connecting to the cloud. This insight is delivered through data visualisation, dashboard and device experiences.
Thanks to the real-time analytics and visualisation of Azure Machine Learning and Power BI, scenarios such as predictive analytics can be used to identify equipment failure, alert maintenance engineers, and move data into the appropriate customer relationship management systems.
A Microsoft blog post read: “As part of our commitment to openness and collaboration, Microsoft is actively working with OPC Foundation to provide a reliable and secure platform for industrial applications from factory devices to the cloud based on robust open standards technologies. This scenario illustrates an easy path to advanced scenarios that capitalise on the cost-effectiveness, scalability and agility of the public cloud. What used to take months and even years and cost millions can now be done in weeks at much lower cost.”
The OPC UA helps to bring together a number of operational and informational technologies, helping the IoT spread across a variety of industrial equipment, encompassing both legacy and new technologies.
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