You’ve heard of the time value of money, the economics concept where the longer a dollar sits in your pocket, the less its worth, and the same can be said for data. The longer data sits static, perhaps stored in a historian or database, the less it’s worth and the harder it is to gain value from it. Unlike money, though, depreciation doesn’t take years. In some cases, it’s only split seconds before the time value of data diminishes, for example, when data:
- Indicates impending equipment failure
- Alerts staff to a safety risk
- Detects product defects on a production line
Analyzing those types of data after the fact lead to the unfortunate conclusion, “if I only knew then what I know now”. You need to immediately access and use data for your operation to get the most benefit from it. How do you invest data quickly to gain valuable ROI?
Sensor Fusion at the Edge: How to “Know it Now”
Sensor fusion at the edge is the ability to combine various types of sensor and historical data to process, compute, and analyze data within milliseconds, at the network’s edge- near, on, or around the “thing” producing data. Sensor fusion at the edge provides a comprehensive view of a situation with near real-time offline computing, putting the data being generated to work immediately so you can make informed decisions quickly. For instance, triggering actions that enhance safety or productivity.
By combining data from a variety of sources at the edge, both dynamic and historical, sensor fusion provides more accurate information about operations than looking at data from a single device or sensor. Sensor fusion at the edge enables, for example:
- Determining fill levels with machine vision
- Robotic communication
- Product anomaly detection
- Root cause analysis
- Creation of new data-based services
Creating a Connected Operation
Advances in Edge IoT technology have enabled cost-effective solutions that acknowledge the time value of data and allow manufacturers to use data — right at the source. By using edge computing to extract and compute data without having to send it to the cloud for processing, Edge IoT reduces latency and costs. Even legacy equipment that lacks an interface or that you weren’t able to integrate with your IT system due to proprietary source code can be connected via sensors that use AI such as OCR or machine vision to stream data to your network.
With sensor fusion at the edge, you can immediately aggregate and analyze data from all sources maximizing its value and helping to control costs. For example, real-time data combined with historical data could reveal a problem on a production line, giving you enough time to correct it before it leads to waste and downtime. On the other hand, without those insights, you’ll foot the bill for cleanup, repairs, and wasted materials. Avoiding just one major incident could result in healthy ROI from investing data in sensor fusion at the edge.
Insights that Save Time and Money
In addition to preventing loss, sensor fusion at the edge can also maximize the time value of your data in virtually every area of your operation:
- Environment monitoring: Minimize product contamination or product defects caused by environmental factors with real-time monitoring.
- Inventory/warehouse management: create smart pallets using machine vision to elevate inventory accuracy and streamline warehouse processes such as receiving, returns, picking, and shipping.
- Productivity: Identify and remove barriers to productivity as they are detected to produce more, faster, with less cost.
- Equipment monitoring: Use data to schedule proactive equipment maintenance that helps maximize uptime.
- Defective products: Inspect each product, reject those that are defective, and analyze and correct issues that result in defects./li>
- Supply chain data: Monitor activity, materials, and products for greater visibility throughout your supply chain that enables you to make informed, cost-effective production decisions.
What Are You Missing without Insights from Sensor Fusion at the Edge?
Attempting to operate in a global marketplace using only historical data won’t enable you to compete with businesses that have the insights, real-time alerts, and automation capabilities that your operation doesn’t have. Using sensor fusion at the edge to combine real-time data with historical data, however, is competitive gold. It gives you actionable insights that allow you to:
- Operate more efficiently
- Automate routine processes
- Improve profitability
- Enhance product quality
- Optimize production/output
Managing your operation with respect to time is nothing new. You need to coordinate your supply chain and production; you need to deliver orders on time; you need to make the most of labor hours. And you know when things sit idly that you’re losing money.
Add using data before its value diminishes to the list of ways you need to beat the clock and optimize your business — as well as innovate and build a roadmap for the future. Don’t waste a valuable resource that you could be using this very second.
Learn more about how to turn your data historian into a real-time data-streaming source with the ADLINK Edge