ABI Research identifies four benefits of cloud-enabling equipment

February 21, 2019
Sierra Monitor

Today’s equipment owners, building owners, and facilities managers demand that their critical industrial and commercial equipment, from HVAC systems to fire panels, function as a system instead of a collection of individual, disparate devices. What’s more, they insist that they integrate with building management systems (BMS) to increase automation and ensure that they can be monitored, maintained, and managed together, via a single pane of glass. 

OEMs have heard these demands and have worked hard to meet them. To make their equipment work as a system, many OEMs have turned to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gateways to ensure that their devices can connect and communicate with each other. These same IIoT gateways have helped to translate the disparate, non-interoperable protocols utilized across the industry so that devices can communicate with equipment from other OEMs and work with BMS systems. 

Embracing these IIoT gateways has clearly enabled OEMs to meet the demands of their customers. But, could they do even more for OEMs? A recent report from market analyst, ABI Research, claims they can. The ABI research report entitled, “Equipment Manufacturers Turn Cloud Connectivity into Competitive Advantage,” looks at another capability enabled by IIoT gateways, the ability to push device data off-premise and into the cloud,  and how that functionality can revolutionize commercial and industrial equipment. 

What ABI Research found was that pushing equipment data into the cloud, “allows equipment manufacturers to have real-time data streams, anytime-anywhere visibility, and on-demand analytics—all with encrypted transport and storage.” 

The report, which was co-sponsored by Sierra Monitor Corporation, highlights four incredible benefits and new revenue opportunities that equipment manufacturers can realize if they install these cloud-enabled gateways in their devices and embrace their cloud functionality. According to ABI Research, these benefits include: 

Configurable tenancy

When access to data is tiered by the type of end-user, controlling what is  seen by whom, and potentially scaling the costs to provide a specific level of access to a given number of users occurs. For example, data may be accessible by one or more types of employee with differing roles within the organization purchasing the system. Or, access to data may be extended to strategic go-to-market channel partners, aggregators, virtual service providers, or resellers. The level of control and visibility can be variably billed by manufacturers as a value add. 

Flexible data access

Similarly, cloud-based systems improve the flexibility with which information collected from IIoT devices can be accessed and manipulated. Device data and analytics are made available horizontally, across various platforms, from: back-end systems that natively interface with the cloud repository via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), to anytime-anywhere web-based front-ends, to curated mobile app-based access with data formatted for consumption on portable devices. 

Customized reports 

Custom views of data can be designed to display only what is needed by workers of distinct types. Commonly-needed customized and configurable cloud-based reports include: 

  • dashboard aggregations for rapid high-level visual trend assessment
  • searchable location, operational, and product service status information for inventories of connected devices 
  • automated alarms activated by end-user-defined triggers 
  • real-time information provision for on-demand drill-downs to operational specifics about individual connected assets

Real-time results

The real-time nature of IIoT data stored and processed in the cloud increases the skillset of the end-user and the results they accrue. Individuals can manage connected devices, customizing the metrics they wish to monitor, the means of delivery, and the criteria for the storage of the data. Secondly, the physical operation of a facility’s connected assets can be ensured by remotely updating them with the latest firmware without the need for costly site visits. Finally, an IIoT system can become extensible with the dynamic cloud-based setting of rules for the exchange of data with other platforms.

For additional information about how cloud-enabling equipment can generate benefits and increase revenue for equipment manufacturers, download a complimentary copy of the ABI Research report.

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