The amount of data we generate every year is boundless. A study published by Statista in 2021 found that 64.2 zetabytes of data had been created, captured, copied and consumed in 2020, and predicted that this amount would double by the end of 2023. The industrials and manufacturing industry contributes significantly to this amount of data, generating or collecting it via factory equipment, network devices and other sources. To benefit from this data, however, organisations must be able to analyse it for insights and share this knowledge across their facilities, third-party applications and customers so teams can make smarter business decisions.
“Companies are making huge productivity gains by analysing their data and applying artificial intelligence,” says Xavier Mesrobian, vice president of sales and marketing at Skkynet. “Microsoft Azure was built for collaboration and allows businesses to access their industrial data easily to stay competitive.”
Skkynet’s DataHub service for real-time industrial data communications is available on Microsoft Azure Marketplace, allowing Azure customers to make the most of their data.
“The DataHub service provides a shrink-wrapped solution to acquire, monitor, control, consolidate and share data from any industrial process,” says Mesrobian. “Data is collected from the plant floor using standard, open protocols – such as open platform communications (more commonly known as OPC), message queuing telemetry transport (MQTT) and structure query language (SQL) – and is then streamed to Azure over a secure-sockets-layer (SSL) encrypted connection. Once in Azure, the data is available to be used within an internet of things (IoT) hub, third-party storage or analytics programme.”
The solution helps organisations to resolve IoT connectivity issues, secure data communications and reduce their cybersecurity risk profile, while also enabling them to share data with any application partner or customer in real time.
This kind of system can be used in many ways. For example, firms can collect data from a variety of MQTT clients with different data formats including Sparkplug, then aggregate and publish it to Azure IoT Hub, a data historian, or a cloud application.
“Companies could configure a centralised alarm system connected to any number of sites and generate alarms and notifications to go out in any data format, including emails or text messages,” says Mesrobian. “Another possibility would be to deploy a centralised network operations centre to connect multiple sites, aggregate the information into a single unified data set, and create real-time or historical views of the data in a human-machine interface.
“In any case, putting industrial data into Azure can give a company a valuable window into their operations, providing the data they need to optimise production and cut costs.”
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2023 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription