We just posted a new whitepaper discussion on “What is a Good Approach to Industrial SaaS.” Software as a Service (“SaaS”) provides access to hosted software over a network, typically the Internet, and is closely related to the concepts of smart factories, cloud computing, industrial Internet, machine-to-machine (M2M), and the Internet of Things (IoT).
“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link,” goes the old saying. How true that is in industrial control systems. … Factory automation, power generation, resource extraction and processing, transportation and logistics are all supported by chains of mechanisms, hardware, and software, as well as operators and engineers that must each carry out their mission to produce the expected output, product, or service.
The whitepaper goes into a discussion of the key qualities a what is necessary for widespread acceptance of industrial SaaS, such as:
- Security: industrial systems require the highest possible level of security, and achieving it over unsecured networks involves a comprehensive approach from the design stage of the overall system.
- Robustness: industrial software as a service should provide as close to real-time performance as the network or Internet infrastructure will support, such as milliseconds updates, thousands of data changes per second, and support redundant connections with hot swap over capability.
- Adaptability: industrial SaaS should be able to connect seamlessly to any new or installed system at any number of locations with no changes to hardware or software, using open data protocols and APIs, and readily scale up or down depending on user needs.
- Convenience: industrial SaaS should be convenient to use, from ease of demoing, to sign up, configuration, usage monitoring and low cost. It should offer off-the-shelf tools to get your data to and from the cloud with no programming, provide the ability to easily integrate data from multiple sources, and include options like data storage and HMI displays–all without disrupting the industrial process in any way.