In the manufacturing world, some kind of instrumentation is already employed, like the use case of the elevator, which we talked about earlier. The elevators already have built-in sensors, but these sensors are not connected to any platform, (the platform here maps to core platform in our architecture diagram – Refer Chapter 1) so as to enable transfer and analysis of the data. Moreover, the protocol and connectivity (maps to communication layer in our architecture diagram– Refer Chapter 1) for the various hardware components (or devices) in the elevator and their interactions would be very proprietary in nature.
Based on the requirements of the connected product, new hardware components (devices, microcontroller, sensors, etc.) might also be required. For instance, in a connected elevator design, the elevators now have new requirements to maintain an optimum temperature for smooth functioning, taking into account surrounding external factors (external factors may vary in different regions). Now the new design could also break down an operating ambient temperature into multiple levels of degradations, monitor this remotely or via notification and use this information to schedule services. For instance, take the following example where X is the optimum temperature that needs to be maintained and if X is greater than Threshold value, the degradations process starts. Lastly, if no action is taken from the start of degradation beyond Y days, a critical failure alert message is sent to the elevator company.
X being optimum temperature,
X > Threshold Value -> Needs attention within 5 days. The elevator is still functional but with limited load. The load is cut down from 300 kg to 150 kg.
At this stage, details about the suggestive spare part changes, the location of the spare part, suggested service vendor nearest to the current location is also made available by the system. It’s easier for the system to detect the GPS coordinates of the connected system, look at the inventory and service vendors based on the region and scheduled maintenance services. At this stage, the elevator is operational but with reduced load and have controlled the movement of people using the elevator.
X > Threshold Value (Date) – Y Days –> Critical Failure alert. This is final alert to repair the defective part, along with a good time to repair the elevator based on people movement during that week and projections to ensure minimum downtime and least impact on passengers. The above is only one such example. A manufacturer could employ many such requirements, which would require design changes right from microcontrollers to adding new hardware components. Again, this is an incremental effort; one can take gradual steps by identifying and adding new hardware component and then connecting along the way to the core platform for data transmission. The data is then used to correlate and perform analysis at the core platform layer to understand failure conditions and patterns.