The last thing you need if considering rolling out even the smallest industrial IoT deployment is getting poor advice. Here at TechHQ, we’d always push our readers interested in exploring the possibilities towards a company that’s both long in the tooth, but also has experience specific to your industry.
In the case of Sierra Wireless, the company’s pedigree is both long and impressive. The organization was there at the beginning of industrial IoT (IioT) as the first machinery, devices, controllers and monitors began to appear on embedded devices.
Initially, IIoT capabilities were relatively closed off due to the proprietary nature of the technology involved. A model of tracker or attenuator would only communicate with certain control surfaces and systems, and there was little interoperability between competing platforms. In time, that mix was further complicated by third-party, after-market solutions that helped devices connect further, or even connect and be connected for the first time.
Sierra Wireless is a company that has always been involved in the industrial IoT stack, from the minutiae of on-device technology to the communications layers, and the orchestration of data to a company’s cloud. Now, it is investing heavily in edge and cloud technologies, so from data orchestration to device management, the company can offer end-to-end solutions.
What is refreshing to many of its customers is that Sierra Wireless offers an iterative, staged roll-out of IIoT where required, meaning that companies can acclimatize to the changes possible right across their industrial capabilities.
The company’s Octave platform fully supports the staging of deployment and could begin, for instance, by aggregating data using the Octave module in edge (or facility) gateways to normalize all data produced locally by interconnected machines and devices.
Then, Sierra Wireless’s Smart IoT Connectivity leverages most cellular carriers across the globe meaning your connected facilities can always communicate, on a network that’s best in the moment, rather than one with whom you’ve been tied into using. Sierra Wireless bundles this IoT- connectivity (with no minimum use thresholds) with hardware, like modules built just for IoT.
The AirVantage cloud-based platform is a management system that enables you to track and control the entire inventory of devices. But local technology from Sierra Wireless’s Octave will also mean that data gets filtered and buffered (according to rules you set) before being sent on to the cloud infrastructure that you use currently. That means networks are not overwhelmed and keeps connectivity costs down – for instance, only value changes from devices that fall close to, or outside predefined thresholds are sent. As ever, that’s up to you, the operator. Your definitions of what data moves where, and when, are simply enacted by the platform.
The Octave device-to-cloud (D2C) solution is secure and lets you not only collate, but also act on data collected and filtered. Telemetry data can be sent to a variety of destination like cloud services or regional/head office nodes, but always safely, using end-to-end industry standard encryption. As you might expect, data flows are two-way, so software or firmware updates can be scheduled and pushed to devices at designated times, fitting in neatly with maintenance timetables or scheduled down-times.
Whether you want your data processed on the edge, in the cloud, or at head office, the Octave platform helps you manage the entire IIoT pipeline. Feeding, for instance, into an ERP system will effectively ‘join-up’ what were once separated systems. That means that worlds of possibilities open up, as live data can be streamed into finance systems, logistics management platforms, factory gate or warehousing software, or even published (in limited form, if required) for viewing or processing by third-parties. If your legacy stack has an API, Sierra Wireless can interact with it.
The Octave platform effectively breaks down the barriers that have existed between operational technology (OT) and IT, creating assets that interconnect as you need them, but all controlled seamlessly and effortlessly. The Sierra Wireless advantage is that all of this can be achieved by existing staff: there’s no need to think about having to employ a wireless, or cellular specialist, or a data analyst (or three). Specialist functions like edge communications, embedded device connectivity, cybersecurity and data analysis are all baked-in, so industrial professionals can build dashboards and connectors using technologies they already know.
And while the process is stage-able, the scalability is right there once ROI is proven. Backed by the two dozen (plus) years of experience in IIoT that Sierra Wireless offers, and the company’s industry knowledge and positioning, means that you and your data are in safe hands.
To learn more about testing the IIoT water, or jumping right in to the possibilities, get in touch with a representative today.
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