Rating: Carries two orders of magnitude more data
It’s not that often that you encounter game changing technology but that’s exactly what GoMobile News found when chatting to Bill Ruh, a corporate officer with GE Global Software. From certain perspectives, what GE is calling the ‘industrial internet’ is a direct rival to traditional M2M (Machine to Machine) offerings. Except that the industrial internet is way more powerful and far more intelligent than standard M2M based solutions. Perhaps the industrial internet could best be described as M2M on steroids. Fortunately, cellular connexions still have a role to play in an industrial internet scenario.
The best way of describing what the industrial internet is about is to go back to its roots with GE Global and as to why it was developed in the first place.
GE has strong associations with helping airlines operate and maintain fleets of aircraft – all of which are powered by jet turbine engines, of course.
The company soon realised that if you could capture and analyse data from sensors attached to a jet engine, you could save airlines an absolute fortune in maintenance costs.
There is one major drawback to such a system. In reality it generates ginormous amounts of data. Ruh described it as two orders of magnitude.
Consequently, whilst a cellular network could play a part in capturing some of the requisite information, in effect you’re going to need a network far more powerful than even 4G.
Talking to Bill Ruh, it soon became clear that the security of data is a prime focus with the industrial internet.
Users simply cannot afford to permit such sensitive data to fall into the wrong hands.
GoMobile News thought that such threats were essentially theoretical but as Ruh pointed out we have already seen an attack from the Stuxnet virus wreak havoc in this kind of environment.
The good news is that all of the players in the cellular industry should benefit from the introduction of an industrial internet.
For starters, you are going to need serious amounts of local processing power to prevent the need for huge volumes of data to be sent over a network. So there is local intelligence instead.
The cellular industry has helped to develop the kind of low power, high speed processors necessary to process such data.
And thanks to handset volumes, the components required to build industrial internets are effectively cost competitive.
There’s one last big difference between the industrial internet and traditional M2M solutions.
Devices on the industrial internet will be designed to interact intelligently with humans.
So not only will such devices provide data, they could provide guidance for maintenance engineers, for example.