The Internet. The explosion of wireless technologies. The Industrial Internet of Things. Technologies and trends that have been shaping, and will continue to shape, our world and the industries in which we work. As you face the challenges of plant modernization, especially in the areas of automation and controls, you will also face the challenges of optimizing and protecting your digital assets. Are you and your staff prepared to handle these challenges on your own?
Start with the Internet. Like most businesses these days, it’s unlikely that you could function without it. But your very connection to the Internet exposes you to a variety of threats. Your intellectual property and even your physical plant could be compromised if your system doesn’t take cyber security into account. An integrator with expertise in protecting against a wide range of cyber threats is your best bet for developing a comprehensive security program.
If your plant-wide control system is built on a network platform that allows all elements to be monitored and controlled, you want to be sure that your network is operating at peak efficiency and effectiveness. You’d be surprised how often a simple misrouting of network cables can impact network operation. Your integrator needs a comprehensive understanding of all the elements that make up a network and the ability to systematically examine each of those elements to assure top performance.
Internet connected sensors are proliferating in all areas of all industrial plants, producing more raw data than at any time in history. But for all that data to do you any good, you need to be able to collect and harness it, using it to connect the plant floor to your enterprise systems. Only when this is accomplished can the data be turned into actionable insights. Your integrator should be fluent in layered networks that increase security and performance. They should also be able to develop the KPIs and dashboards that support your decision making processes.
As your plant modernizes, the digital elements become even more prevalent and more important. Not just any panel shop has the personnel and the expertise to help you make good decisions about your control system network and the digital technology on which it’s based. Ask your integrator about their experience in these key areas:
- Cyber security
- Network plant and technology
- Interface to enterprise systems