Clearing the Confusion: Third-Party Integration Made Simple

Welcome to Part 1 of our multi-part series on Third-Party Integration, the solution to right-here, right-now connectivity and remote support.

If you’ve ever been up to your knees in muddy waters you know that it’s not easy to know where to take the next step. Will it be solid and sure? Or will it put you on your tail, flailing about in the muck and the mire?

Clear waters, on the other hand, let you see the exactly where your next step should be as well as what obstacles lie ahead.

For many, third-party integration is a lot like muddy waters. You’ve heard the terms, you kind of understand, but do you really? With that kind of uncertainty comes hesitation, regret, and missteps.

That’s unfortunate, because the benefits of third-party integration are crucial to supporting a state-of-the-art automation system.

So, let’s clear up the muddy waters so you can make a crystal clear decision about which third-party integration solution is right for you.

The Definition of Third Party Integration

The first and obvious question is: What is third-party integration? Third-party integration is just the fancy, technical term for helping devices talk to each other.

One example of third-party integration can be found in something most of us use every day – the map application on our cell phones. Along with directions to where you’re going, you also get location-specific information, such as where the nearest gas station or fast food restaurant is. That doesn’t just magically happen. Third-party integration makes it work.

In building automation, third-party integration promotes secure, encrypted connection between a variety of disparate applications, devices, and platforms using either the cloud or a mobile device.

Understanding Cloud-Based Connectivity

To enable cloud architecture, there has to be something to facilitate the communication between the device and the cloud. That “something” is known as a network protocol and includes these three standards:

  1. Webhooks
  2. RESTful API
  3. MQTT (Message Queue Telemetry Transport)

We’ll be looking at these standards, including what they are and how they work, in more depth in future blog posts. Until now, just know that common standards enable that sharing of information, including real-time access to data, visual confirmation, and notifications, such as alarms.

How Third-Party Integration Can Speed Up Device Support

Remote connectivity is so prevalent in our daily lives, we’ve come to expect it – so why shouldn’t you expect it for automation? Remote connectivity to your products in the field is the best way to deliver immediate, reliable monitoring, troubleshooting, and issues resolution in real time – without having to be on site.

MSA FieldServer™ is our proven “one-box solution” that can enable you to use your existing devices and applications without big, expensive add-ons.

Application Integrations

From business applications like Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) technologies to Cisco IoT platforms, MSA FieldServer automation gateway products can bring together all your devices faster, easier, and more securely than you thought possible.

What’s Next

It makes no good business sense to risk avoidable delays and inefficiencies. With MSA FieldServer third-party integration solutions, you will speed up your response time, saving time and money along the way.

Check back to this blog for a continuation of this series where we’ll be talking about:

If you’re a MSA FieldServer customer and are open to getting a whole new level of support for you and your team, let’s talk about enabling the features you need.

If you’re not a FieldServer customer and want to swap waiting for some time-in-the-future service calls for real-time, remote automation support, contact us.

Richard Theron
Richard Theron is the product line manager for FieldServer at MSA, where he works intimately with companies in the building automation, industrial automation, energy management and life safety markets to help them cloud-enable their equipment.

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