Ever since the dawn of computing for commerce and industry, there has been a wide gap between the world of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operations Technology). Most of us are more familiar with IT—crunching numbers for financial applications, building databases for personnel records and corporate assets, and printing out sales reports, monthly earnings, and year-end statements. The world of OT is more remote and esoteric—hidden behind firewalls and DMZs, sometimes on completely independent networks, mission-critical systems oversee the real-time processes that control a company’s production equipment and machinery.
Now, with the advent of Industry 4.0 and the Industrial IoT, these two worlds are being brought together. In a recent article, The Internet of Things: Bridging the OT/IT divide, John Pepper, CEO and Founder of Managed 24/7, makes the case that the business value of operational data will be lost unless IT and OT learn to co-operate. He said, “Unless organisations actively bridge the gap between OT and IT, the real operational benefits of the digital business will be lost.”
A risk of losing the prize
According to their research, companies are jumping on the IoT bandwagon and increasing their number of networked devices, but due to a lack of an overall policy to bridge the IT/OT gap, there is a real risk of losing the prize. Critical OT information that has been unknown in the past is now becoming available, but only to those who know how to connect to it, and are willing to do so.
“Indeed, while the vast majority of new control systems used in buildings and factories – from water pumps to energy systems – include an Ethernet connection,” says Pepper, “few organisations are actively using this real-time insight to support CxO decision-making.”
Pepper’s call for deeper integration between the real-time data flowing through the OT world and the analytical capabilities of the IT world is a need that Skkynet was created to meet. The predictive technologies that Pepper recommends can be realized and fully supported by Skkynet’s Industrial IoT technologies. The vision of end-to-end monitoring and self-healing technologies that Pepper shares can become reality when we effectively connect the two worlds of IT and OT.