Rescuing U.S. Infrastructure

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By, Jory Schwach, CEO Andium

It doesn’t take much to see that some of our country’s infrastructure is nearing a crisis point. Although there are a few enterprises exploring new ways to modernize their infrastructure, many remain in the past, possessing infrastructure that dates as far back as the 1950’s. With solutions in place that are almost a century old, the US’ framework is due for a much needed renovation, and IIoT can be the driving force that rescues the US’ aging infrastructure.

What is IIoT? Well, if you’re familiar with products like the Google Home Voice controller, then you’ve experienced IoT, the Internet of Things. IoT is the interconnection of everyday objects via the internet. These objects can be anything with a function, from something as complex as an automobile, to a much simpler object such as a bicycle. When computing devices are embedded onto these objects, it enables them to send and receive data, making them “smart” objects that can function on its own. When interconnectivity of physical objects are used for manufacturing and supply chain management instead of products made specifically for everyday consumers, it is referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). So how can this methodology change US infrastructure?

It’s called sustainability. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has developed to the point that it allows enterprises to operate in more sustainable ways. This is made possible due to the data users will have access to when industrial infrastructure is interconnected via the internet. Users can receive data points from any piece of equipment, no matter how archaic, and also receive data points from any other events occurring on site. When an enterprise adopts an IIoT ecosystem, they can make their operations many more times efficient since they are viewing data they have never had access to, recording patterns they wouldn’t have noticed in the past, and building an index of information that leads up to predictive maintenance — stopping problems before they start.

One example of an industry’s infrastructure that is being revolutionized by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the oil and gas industry. Andium, is an IIoT ecosystem that combines hardware and software solutions to maximize the efficiencies of an enterprises’ operations, making sustainability much more feasible. When commoditized hardware is integrated with low-touch infrastructure, internet connectivity with a software platform can provide industrial companies with the visibility and tools they need to remotely manage sites more sustainably.

With the use of smart thermal sensing devices, enterprises in the oil and gas industry can manage oil and water levels across all of their wellsites without ever touching a single tank. Traditionally, oil and gas companies would rely on manual tank gauging, a process that requires a field operator to manually measure the liquid contents within each tank. Not only is this method time consuming and laborious, but it can also be dangerous. Oil and gas enterprises can also possess several hundreds of wellsites, with each site having nearly a dozen oil tanks, making it easy to see why traditional solutions are in need of change. The use of smart thermal sensing devices that can measure the fluids of multiple tanks simultaneously in real-time cuts operating costs tremendously and saves companies millions of dollars across their supply chain. This is just one example of how IIoT can revolutionize the US’ aging infrastructure, and can be applied to any industry that relies on fluid management.

In addition to smart thermal sensing devices, smart optical sensing devices can monitor sites in real-time for accidents, fires, unauthorized personnel or unintended emissions. Other types of low-cost sensors can identify everything from equipment at risk of failing, to site anomalies, without ever needlessly sending a person onsite and exposing them to unanticipated risks. This data can then be brought into predictive analytics, allowing a control system to learn to optimize its own processes — preventing problems before they start.

The insights gained from an Industrial Internet of things (IIoT) ecosystem can completely change the financial trajectory of an enterprise. The recorded data is an index of information a user can use to not only discover inefficiencies and predict when accidents may occur, but also identify opportunities within their own operations. Without having an IIoT system in place is like a person using the internet, but without search engines to aid them. The user would only be able to access very specific information by knowing a website’s URL address which is limiting. There would be no searching, since there is nothing that is indexed. The same is true for today’s Industrial Infrastructure. Right now, most enterprises are limited to the details that take place within their operations because they don’t have enough data to detect issues before they arise or witness them in real-time. With an IIoT system in place, on-site event data is indexed like a search engine, and can be used to maximize efficiency, making enterprises operate in more sustainable ways. With the US’ outdated infrastructure, sustainability is hard, but with an IIoT ecosystem in place, sustainability is much more feasible.

About Jory Schwach, CEO, Andium.com

Jory brings over a decade of experience in entrepreneurship, flow theory, and security technology. Founder & Former CEO of GlobalRim, a solar GPS company, and MeshMe, an offline communication platform. Published academic and expert in applied machine vision & network optimization technologies.

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Technology writer for FastCo, Quartz, The Next Web, Ars Technica, Wired + more. Consultant specializing in VR #MixedReality and Strategic Communications

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