September 3, 2015 | Written by: Greg Knowles
Categorized: What's New
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As the Internet of Things (IoT) expands rapidly, more and more “things” are reporting their properties, location, and status in near real-time. This generates a huge volume and variety of data that is under-utilized…or often not used at all! Enterprises can leverage this data to understand the state of operations and equipment to better run their businesses. The key to achieving that efficiency is to utilize IoT data effectively to drive business decisions and results.
To leverage the IoT for business decisions, companies need help processing large amounts of data to drive real-time actions.
There is far too much data being produced to even consider doing anything manually. Organizations need help processing large amounts of data in real-time and driving real-time actions from that data. To address these challenges, IBM is introducing a new Internet of Things analytics offering: IBM IoT Real-Time Insights.
IBM IoT Real-Time Insights
A key service in IBM’s IoT Platform, IoT Real-Time Insights consumes data from IoT devices and provides awareness and understanding from that data through real-time contextualization and visualization. It enables organizations to monitor equipment and operations to understand and respond to emerging conditions to improve responsiveness, equipment availability, and overall efficiency. IoT Real-Time Insights can be used for several common monitoring patterns:
- Monitor devices to understand current conditions and status, usage patterns, availability, and performance
- Monitor operational processes to track progress towards milestones and business outcomes
- Monitor environmental conditions to identify security issues and unsafe or undesirable situations
And when conditions warrant it, IoT Real-Time Insights allows you to automate a response to those conditions. IoT Real-Time Insights enables organizations to gain awareness of equipment and operations through four simple steps:
Step 1: Enrich the data to understand it in context
Raw data from IoT connected devices and sensors is just that, raw. It may need to be transformed or normalized, and it definitely needs to be linked to information from systems of record where master data about assets lives. This linkage is vital to understanding data in context. IoT Real-Time Insights enables this context through integration with systems like Maximo Asset Management which contain master records about equipment such as the make and model, when it was purchased, when it was put into service, as well as historical information about repairs and maintenance. This information provides valuable context which enables a greater level of understanding about how things operate in the field. Additionally, IoT Real-Time Insights enables integration of correlating data sources such as weather. Weather and environmental conditions are a common factor in the performance of equipment and operations. By linking these types of data sources with IoT data from devices, you can gain even greater insight into their performance and health.
Step 2: Apply rules to identify issues
From simple thresholds to more complex correlations, rules monitor the ongoing conditions of equipment and operations. Well known conditions such as operating specifications and normal or expected usage patterns can be encoded in rules that trigger when these conditions are violated. But IoT presents challenges in terms of the volume and variety of devices and data which traditional rules engines are not designed to handle. IoT Real-Time Insights delivers a highly scalable, parallel processing rules engine which is designed from the ground up for IoT data. It was designed, developed, and tested working with IBM Research and some of the earliest, large scale IoT projects. IoT Real-Time Insights also provides an intuitive, visual rules editor that can be used by a wide range of users from business users and technicians to more advanced IT users.
Step 3: Visualize what’s happening now
Often, you just need to see what’s happening now—where are all my things, what alerts were triggered during the last shift, how is that asset we repaired yesterday performing? IoT Real-Time Insights provides a configurable dashboard which presents a contextual view of all of your devices. It provides a map to see device locations, current and recent property values, and alerts including the rule that generated it and the conditions which caused it. All of this is delivered through a user friendly, configurable dashboard, so users can tailor real-time visualizations to their specific needs and responsibilities.
Step 4: Automate actions when issues arise
As we mentioned earlier, the scale of IoT demands an increasing amount of automation. There are simply too many devices and too much data for manual processes and business as usual. You need to automate responses to abnormal conditions and issues. IoT Real-Time Insights provides an action engine that can do simple things such as send an SMS message or an email when a rule is triggered. But it also allows you to take actions through external ‘systems of action’. For example, you can configure a rule to create a work order in Maximo to inspect or repair a troublesome asset. Maximo’s work order engine assigns personnel with the right skills, tools, and spare parts to efficiently complete the job. Further, Maximo can escalate a work order if it is not completed in a timely manner. The combination of IoT Real-Time Insights and Maximo provides a closed loop response to issues in the operational environment, providing traceability from the sensor data to the asset to the response all through an automated process.
IoT Real-Time Insights consumes the data and device information, enriches that data with asset master records and weather data, and applies rules to take action when conditions warrant enabling you to gain awareness of equipment and operations to make better decisions, improve availability, and respond more quickly to emerging conditions.
Can’t wait to get started? Go give it a try now on Bluemix!
If you are already using IoT Foundation, IoT Real-Time Insights plugs right in and connects to your devices and data to start driving new insights and action.
If you are new to IBM’s IoT offerings, simply start with the IoT Real-Time Insights service on Bluemix which will automatically provision and connect an instance of IoT Foundation. Try it out by installing our sample app which allows you to connect your mobile phone to IoT Real-Time Insights and start learning about the capabilities and how you might apply them to your IoT projects. You can also connect a variety of devices and prototype kits that can be found in our recipe catalog on IBM developerWorks.
We look forward to your feedback and hearing about how you are using IoT Real-Time Insights. Oh, and stay tuned! We’ve got more planned for IoT Real-Time Insights and additional analytics for IoT… 🙂