You cannot afford the breakdown of critical machines, where stakes are high. Therefore it has to go with maintenance and repairing cycle regularly to keep it in working condition. Traditionally, we plan periodic maintenance services to avoid any costly breakdown to some extent. But breakdown still happens, because running condition of each and every machine is different.
Sudden breakdown leads to firefighting and re-planning of all activities. Identification of the defect in early stage will help in planning efficiently to order parts, schedule and complete job without suffering breakdown.
But, how to detect defects in early stage?
The only way to identify defect, is to get critical diagnostic data hourly or daily basis, analyze and suggest corrective action.
Practically, it is very costly affair to take diagnostic data manually every hour or every day and send it for analysis, but technology had made it easier and affordable.
Instead of taking diagnostic data manually, an interface device can be connected to the machine sensors to collect vital diagnostic information such as vibration, temperature, circuit analysis, running hours of critical components such as Engine, electrical system & hydraulic system and can be sent to central server via GPRS on a defined frequency.
The server can analyze data and send alerts to concerned service engineer or workshop, if any of parameter is going beyond the prescribed range.
In addition to it, various analysis reports can be generated to determine health of the machine and probable period of failure of critical parts that can be used for service planning and parts requirement by the workshop.
Your wrist watch sending your heart pulse, temperature and BP to your doctor and medical record, on exceeding set limit, is an example of Internet of Things (IoT) and I’m sure you are hearing about Internet of Things from long. But still many of us need more clarity on what it is?
Is it networking of the things?
It is communication between heterogeneous devices?
Is it Machine to Machine Communication?
Is it one step ahead in automation?
In fact, it’s ALL of the above!
We all know that today’s internet devices are connected to the network based on unique IP Address allocated to the device. Therefore devices are able to communicate with each other. But lets us expand the base from internet connected devices to other physical things and see how other things can become part of it.
Conceptually to communicate with each other, what we need is
- Unique identification
- Communication channel
- Information or data for communication
- Information processing & Events for communication
To achieve unique identification, we can attach any of the below with our physical thing to identify it uniquely
- IP Address
- GPS device ID
- Bluetooth Address etc.
Further any of the supported communication channel can be used for data transmission such as,
- TCP/IP or http protocols or FTP
- GPRS or SMS through SIM module
- Radio waves
The data / information can be collected by any of the following
- & Output from programs or processing
Finally firmware program or resident software programs are used to run on the connected device to process data/information & invoke communication either on a
- Particular Event
- Or a given Frequency
The solution created from permutation and combination of all above is nothing but Internet of Things, That’s it.
The fast growing reach of the smart devices such as mobile phones and tablets to the individuals, has forced the solution experts to look for extending the accessibility of business application to these devices. Some of us start looking for the companies who are in mobile application development, without analyzing, if we really need a native mobile application or not.
We normally mistake the mobile compatible website with the mobile application.
There are two ways you can extend your application to the smart devices
- Through native mobile applications and
- Through mobile compatible web sites.
Native mobile app or mobile compatible site?
The native applications usually use internal resource of the device such as processing power, storage memory, GPS, Camera, SIM & NFC and operate system specific. Therefore you need to create different versions to support different operating systems like iOS, Android, Symbian , Windows mobile or Blackberry. On the other hand the mobile compatible website is just a set of mobile compatible web pages that are directly accessed via web browser.
Practically 95% of the business applications do not need native mobile application, but need a mobile compatible website. In fact some of the latest browsers allow accessing few mobile resources such as GPS and Camera. Thus you need not develop a native application just to access GPS or Camera. To differentiate the need, let’s take some scenarios.
- You want your service engineer to access the call details and update the status
- You want your engineer to capture the photo from site and upload
- You want your management to approve your requests; it could be leave approval, purchase requisition approval, budget approval, order approval, etc.
- You want your management to access important dashboard
- You want your client to check the status of their order
If you’re looking for any such application listed in Scenario 1, then you need mobile compatible website rather than native mobile application.
- You want to track the location of your engineer while on move
- You want to capture site photograph, edit or tag photograph and upload to the system
- You want to upstream video
- You want to read encrypted document
- You want offline and standalone application such a games , personal applications
- You want offline information update and synchronize later
- You want to chat and instant messaging other than email and SMS alerts
- You want to scan bar code, QR code, face or thumb impression
- You want to communicate to another device via NFC or wireless
If you are looking for any such application listed in Scenario 2, then you need a native mobile application.