Discover how to use the Connected Reliability Project Scorecard to review an actual connected device and service.
Welcome back to Noria’s new web series called “The Internet of Reliability.” I’m your host, Jeremy Drury of IoT Diagnostics. We’re here for the final episode on getting you ready for a data-driven, internet-connected reliability operation. We’ve had 11 episodes, and we’ve covered everything you need to know to get started. In our last episode, I described what we call the Connected Reliability Project Scorecard. This is a way to compare the potential return on investment (ROI) for projects to determine the best place to start when taking a step into the connected environment.
As promised in the last episode, I’m going to get specific and plug real data into the scorecard. Before we get into that, let’s quickly review what’s on the scorecard. There are application and investment. On the application side, we will look at the complexity and the consistency of the data we're trying to generate, as well as the complexity of the installation environment. On the other side, we have the investment. How much control do you want in this project and how much is it going to cost?
Continuing the narrative from an earlier episode, I’m going to talk about a hydraulic pump on which you could put an internet-connected monitoring device. So, let’s start there. It’s a great place to plug and play the scorecard.
Think about a pump-monitoring device. Let’s say this device is set up to measure pressure, temperature, flow and the pump’s efficiency on the case drain of the hydraulic pump. Also, let’s assume we’re having pump inefficiencies in our reliability operation. So, this is something we want to explore to hopefully improve that side of our business. Now, let’s start to fill out the scorecard.
When we think about the complexity of the device’s installation, let’s run a couple of scenarios. If the device requires downtime in order to install it, you would have to plan for that. You will need some downtime, but it’s a Wi-Fi type of device with a simple installation. This eliminates Bluetooth, cellular, etc. So, with a Wi-Fi device, you will need access to a Wi-Fi network in order to install it.
If any of your pumps are inside a Faraday cage, then you will need to discuss this with your IT department and an IoT provider to figure out how to get this data out of the cage. There are a couple of different ways to do that, but they are not relevant to this episode. It’s just something you want to keep in mind as you’re thinking about the complexity of the build-out for this type of IoT device.
Now, let’s move onto consistency. For most people, pump uptime is very critical. As a result, this will be a high data-crunching type of device. Because of these uptime-critical operations, you probably will want to know about things like flow, temperature, pressure and efficiency. So, you’ll want to plug in a figure for how much data is being sent out every time this device pings the local network. Let’s say the device pings the network once every minute. You would need to calculate your average uptime and run time and then plug in the megabyte or kilobyte type of data that will be happening every minute during the operation. Remember, you will be calculating four values: pressure, temperature, flow and efficiency. There may also be some added multiplication when it comes to understanding just how consistently this device will need to ping your network.
Now, let’s think about the investment side. It’s important to ensure that the device is top-level encrypted. This means it’s much harder for breaches to occur inside the environment. As data packages are moving in and out of your environment, they are happening via an encrypted methodology. This will give your IT department some peace of mind.
For this scenario, let’s say the device requires data to both leave and enter your building. This is a predictive type of device, which is a buzzword in the Internet of Reliability industry. What I mean by that is that the longer it continues inside your operations, the smarter the device will become. But just like with our cellphones and other smart devices, this technology needs to stay up to date with things called over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates. This will require a network path into your organization in order to push those firmware updates to the device. So, you will certainly need to get IT buy-in to allow incoming data into your organization. Typically, this is where organizations have trouble, because the information gets hacked and hijacked on its way back into your organization. Again, this is where the encryption comes in, but it’s certainly something of which you should be mindful.
Now, how much of this will fall on you versus a third-party IoT platform provider? In this scenario, the device would be fairly easy to use. Everything has LEDs on the front, and there would be a simple web application that goes along with it. So, this is something you could have more control over and wouldn't need a lot of outside investment to help you hit the ground running.
What about the cost? This is a bit trickier because it involves the level of build-out. Some of you may be responsible for hundreds of pumps inside your operation. Others may only have five. This makes a big difference with the upfront capital expenditure. Let’s say the device is less than $1,000. If you wanted to have five devices, that may not seem like a large purchase for you. However, say you have 200, 500 or 1,000 pumps in your operations. Suddenly there could be a significant upfront capital expenditure, depending on how many pumps you wanted to include in this pilot project.
Even though analytics and a web application/data visualization package are needed with this type of device, let’s say it actually comes as part of the upfront capital purchase. This way you wouldn’t have to budget additional ongoing service money. However, if you are thinking about different methods of data management, that may be something you need to be mindful of when it comes to purchasing the data that goes along with it.
Now we have all the information, but let’s take it a step further and get into the low, moderate and high types of applications. Let’s look back at the complexity. I would argue that this seems like a low-complexity type of device to install. Sure, there is a timing element with the downtime, but realistically it’s not that big of a deal.
For the data side, we will put high because this seems like an uptime-critical type of measurement. There will be a steady churn of data that this device will need to collect and then push in and out of your organization.
As far as control, it seems low at this point, as this device is relatively plug-and-play for you to be able to install, get everything set up and start using.
Next, we’ll put moderate on the cost side because it depends on where you are. It could have a substantial upfront cost, or it might not.
When you add all these things together, you’ll want to put as much quantitative figuring into this as possible. Ultimately, let’s say this device build-out falls into a low to moderate category. Again, with this application, you now have a solid vision for how you could achieve solid ROI in your pump-monitoring capabilities.
This type of device could be a good place to start when it comes to thinking about how you want to jump into an internet-connected reliability operation. This is also a great place to end this video series. Thank you so much for your time, and thanks to Noria for the opportunity to build this thing called the Internet of Reliability. I hope I’ve done a good job to make this seem less scary, because it’s not really that scary. It just takes a little effort, some research and courage to jump in and sit down with your IT department and decision-makers to get the funding you need to get started. I look forward to talking with you again soon. My name is Jeremy Drury with IoT Diagnostics. It has been an absolute pleasure being with you.