Amid the seemingly relentless march of computing to the cloud, the providers of local, on-premises technology have sparked something of a counter-trend. As a result, we’re in the midst of a mini-hype bubble about edge technology.
In an IoT-obsessed world—where unsexy ASICs are now IoT chips, local networks are edge computing environments and routers are edge devices— “local, proprietary and siloed” have been rebranded into “fast and secure,” imbued with the promise of technology that’s over the next horizon.
Hype bubble aside, edge on the factory floor isn’t fundamentally new. Historically, the entire factory computing ecosystem is on-premise hardware maintained by plant IT.
In reality, edge technology must be a part of any system pulling data from the factory. But to truly transform operations, manufacturers need to aggregate and integrate data from multiple machines and facilities into an enterprise platform that enables better decision making.
We’ve heard from numerous manufacturers about the difficulties they were facing in collecting machine data from disparate production facilities. The network and infrastructure challenges, as well as the data security concerns common to production facilities, often inhibit their ability to launch digital transformation efforts. We are excited about delivering powerful data acquisition technologies that can address these challenges typical of global manufacturing.
With the introduction of FactoryTX Edge and FactoryTX Cloud, Sight Machine provides two new technologies for bringing factory data into an analytics environment. While FactoryTX Edge is for manufacturers that need to capture production data from plant sources, FactoryTX Cloud is for organizations that are already moving data to the cloud. Both pieces of software have three core functions: Collect, Transform, and Transmit. They aggregate data from factory devices, pre-process it, and securely convey it to Sight Machine’s cloud-based analytics software. They give customers flexibility in determining where data acquisition takes place.
These technologies will accelerate the ability of manufacturers to use data from across their enterprise. By creating an intuitive and easily managed solution, manufacturers can now configure once and then rapidly deploy data acquisition and conditioning capabilities to multiple facilities.
The future of manufacturing will require integrated capabilities for data acquisition at both the edge and cloud, and the FactoryTX Edge and Cloud offerings deliver on that vision.