Our manufacturing environments are now filled with multiple devices collecting data from every end point and an average site can easily generate, and store, millions of data points every day. Harnessing that data is vital for effective decision making, but finding a way to access, analyse, and manage vast volumes of data is easier said than done.
For years, many manufacturers have feared connectivity, believing it opens the door for security breaches. However, for manufacturers looking to initiate an IoT strategy, connectivity is a must and it’s here that Software as a Service (SaaS) comes in.
Software as a Service does exactly what it says on the box (metaphorically speaking). It is software that is delivered to you as a service, which you can access via a web browser or app; as opposed to software that you have to purchase upfront and install on your computer or machine… Think Google, Facebook, YouTube, these are all examples of SaaS solutions, you haven’t installed them on your machine, you simply use them as a service.
Although SaaS solutions are used by all of us in our everyday life, at the mention of a cloud based service many manufacturers still recoil in horror, but the reality is cloud services are here to stay and will only bring benefits to your company.
Do you use Office365 elsewhere in your business? If so, you’re already embracing Software as a Service. And, if you trust the cloud with your accounting and confidential business data, why not trust it with your production data?
In manufacturing, the cloud is your friend.
Nobody is suggesting you operate your real-time production there, but a cloud based service such as SaaS can correlate all the other business data you collect – across multiple sites and historians – and collate it and present it in a way that does not require additional IT expertise or capital expenditure. For example, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) could leverage cloud-based services to monitor machines remotely, analysing energy consumption data and production data, providing valuable insight to their customers to help them to drive efficiencies.
There is an increasing view that intelligent analysis of data will be one of the key factors to differentiate the most successful organisations in future. This is particularly true for manufacturers facing their own specific set of challenges where many are fighting for survival, not only against their competitors, but sometimes internally against other plants and sites based in other countries which enjoy lower cost bases.
SaaS solutions, such as Wonderware Online InSight, deliver powerful data intelligence to the people who need it, when they need it, where they need it, all supported by the highly secure Microsoft Windows Azure Cloud Services environment. As a SaaS solution, Wonderware Online InSight allows you to use the software without being responsible for its implementation, maintenance or upkeep.