What does “real time” really mean in an industrial system? And what does “real time” mean for the Industrial IoT? For some people, updating their data within 5 seconds counts as real time. For them, getting data updates once per second is blazingly fast. For us, data updates for the IIoT should be as close to network latencies as possible, typically no more than a few milliseconds.
What does that look like? Check it out. We’ve created a SkkyHub demo page for industrial speed IIoT. This simple demo shows how you can aggregate data from multiple data sources, visualize the data, and more importantly witness real-time Industrial IoT.
In the blue box, as you hover your mouse over the gray dot, it moves. If you or a friend open the same page on a second browser or a phone and swap IDs, you’ll see a black dot for each other’s mouse (or finger, if it’s on a phone). Select All, and when all other users move their mouse or finger, you’ll see their black dots move on your page and vice versa. You are participating in the IIoT, in real time.
How close to real time? You can see for yourself the latency of the SkkyHub system. Just enter and submit your own ID. Now when you move your mouse or finger around, you get a momentary glimpse of a black dot, shadowing each movement. The black dot is generated by a round-trip data feed from SkkyHub. The amount of time it takes for it to catch up to the gray dot is the latency of the data travelling round trip from your browser or phone to SkkyHub running in the cloud, and back.
Why is this useful? The demo shows that the IIoT can be as responsive as most human operators need it to be. There is no need to wait a few seconds for each action to have an effect. This is most valuable for supervisory control, where an operator or manager may need to change a setting in an HMI. The instant feedback of the SkkyHub service gives assurance to the operator that the system has picked up the change, and has responded accordingly.
At a machine-to-machine level, this kind of industrial speed, along with the ability to sustain multiple simultaneous connections, ensures that internal system activities are well coordinated. A change in one machine or device propagates in real time to any or all connected devices. This keeps the logic of the system intact, and ensures the smoothest possible performance.
When this kind of performance is coupled with a secure-by-design architecture and the ability to connect seamlessly to virtually any existing industrial system, then we feel confident in calling it Industrial IoT that works.