I had the opportunity to attend the IAMCP SoCal Chapter meeting at National University’s Los Angeles campus. Action Point sponsored the event and made a very interesting presentation on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Before the meeting began, John Savage, Action Point’s Chief Technical Officer, helped me get a first-hand look at mixed reality by playing with a Microsoft HoloLens for the first time. The device is a little bulky and uncomfortable, but fit over my glasses quite well. John first asked me to scan the room so that the HoloLens could capture the layout of my surroundings. He then taught me how to use hand gestures to signal the device to execute certain commands. Once done, I proceeded to play a video game called RoboRaid in which I could shoot aliens hovering around an unsuspecting Dick Porter and blow holes in the walls of the National University classroom. John encouraged me to peer into the holes where I actually saw images of plumbing and electrical conduits. Bystanders could watch my progress on a notebook computer nearby.

I enjoyed my HoloLens experience, but enjoyed John’s presentation on IIoT even more. I came away with the following concepts:

  1. In IIoT, there are several layers of hardware, software, and services required including:
    • Sensors
    • Edge Connectivity
    • Edge Gateways
    • Network
    • Cloud
    • Server-side Processing
    • Responsive, Rich Client Apps
    • Big Data Analytics, Visualization and Business Intelligence
    • Service and Support
  2. According to John, in general, no one firm has all of the above capabilities. However, Action Point has many of them covered and creates strong partnerships to fill in the rest (Dell for example).
  3. Common applications of IIoT include:
    • Traceability
    • Conditions-based Predictive Maintenance
    • Big Data, Machine Analytics
    • Environmental IIoT
  4. John referred to the need for a large piece of “grit” (analogous to the grit that begins the formation of a pearl in an oyster). In other words, a client organization needs to have a big business problem that needs to be addressed, one which is well understood within that organization. Toward that end, John described a few case studies involving Action Point’s customers. His observation is that prospective clients are often distracted by the technology inherent in IIoT when they should be focusing on the business case and business value that IIoT can deliver by harnessing digital disruption.
  5. To address this “adoption barrier,” Action Point developed a stand-alone product called IoT Predict. It is composed of a Dell Edge gateway and 3 sensors (temperature, vibration, pressure) designed to capture ambient data and predict machine failure. For prospective clients who have a larger project in mind, Action Point has a service offering, Idea Factory, to enable organizations to start and be successful with a small, well-defined IIoT project.

I have always been intrigued by what manufacturing organizations might be able to do with the IIoT and augmented / mixed reality. I suspect that my experiences today will be the first of many to come. Many thanks to the Action Point team.

Brian linuma

Related article: http://ssgnet.com/role-internet-things-iot-manufacturing