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Case Study: Metso, France

Metso Halves Project Development Time with Skkynet’s IIoT Solution


Metso has recently completed a large Advanced Process Control (APC) project in half the typical time, and at substantially reduced cost, by using real-time IIoT from Skkynet. With Skkynet’s SkkyHub™ real-time cloud, they were able to execute most of the project from their head office in France, despite the physical process being in the Middle East. By leveraging the real-time data collection and distribution in SkkyHub they had multiple engineers working in parallel on GUI, sensor and data modeling and analysis—all using an exact replica of the live plant. As the project progressed, the insights gained by the engineers allowed them to suggest improvements to the control system beyond the original project goals. Upon completion of the project, Metso’s engineers can keep the replica of the customer’s control system and GUI in their office in France. At a moment’s notice they can switch on the data flow through SkkyHub to have an instant real-time view of the process. Even with 25,000 active tags, the maintenance and analysis team experiences sub-second updates and interaction similar to being on site.

By using SkkyHub, Metso cut their project time by 50%, and exceeded customer expectations by meeting tight deadlines and providing top-level expertise throughout the duration of the project. In addition, they have established a means to conduct ongoing remote maintenance, and expand into big-data analytics, for continuous process improvement. This work flow and outcome demonstrates the true potential of the IIoT.

Background

Several years ago, executives and developers at Metso were looking for a full-featured, web-based HMI that they could integrate into their OCS-4D© product. OCS-4D© is an advanced process control expert system tailored to the needs of the mining industry, and is used in mineral processing plants to monitor and control crushing, grinding, flotation, dewatering, pyro metallurgy, and related tasks. The HMI they had been using was no longer suitable, and they found that Skkynet’s DataHub® with its WebView™ HMI met their needs well. Metso and Skkynet reached an OEM agreement in which the DataHub was integrated into the OCS-4D© product, and renamed “OCS-4D© DataLink”.

Last year Metso won a contract to implement a processing system for a large ore processing operation located in the Middle East. The timeline was short, as the customer needed a complete system up and running in 6 months, a job that would normally take at least a year. Meeting this deadline would require three of Metso’s top developers working full time on the project. These developers were based at the company’s home office in France, and for reasons of cost and convenience, the company was reluctant to send their people abroad for 6 months. So they turned to Skkynet for a solution, and implemented the SkkyHub service as a way to connect to OCS-4D© DataLink, allowing them to develop and monitor the system remotely.

Implementation Stage 1 – Development

The DCS used for regulatory control of the ore processing system exposed 80,000 variables as OPC tags, through an ABB OPC server. Metso’s APC optimization layer required access to about 25,000 of those tags to power both the expert logic in OCS-4D© and the HMI. On a typical project, a Metso developer working locally would then simply connect directly to the data. Instead, to get the live data to the office in France, they configured OCS-4D© DataLink at the customer location to make a secure, outbound tunnelling connection to SkkyHub. In the Metso offices, the development team made a similar, secure outbound connection from their local copy of OCS-4D© DataLink to receive the live data, in real time, and feed it to their OCS-4D© system. The result was an exact replica of the entire customer system, mirrored and tunnelled from the mine in the Middle East to the office in Olivet, France, updating continuously in real time.

With the complete project data set at their disposal, the three developers could get to work. Because the data was available through SkkyHub, they each had a full copy of the live data. Unlike a typical project, where developers have to take turns using the system data, this unique arrangement allowed each of them to work independently on their part of the project. One worked on the expert system logic, another on visualization, while the third focused on sensors and data modelling for the other two.

“It was really a nice fit because we had not been able to do parallel development before,” said Fred Theodore, Senior Engineer, Advanced Process Control, and lead developer. “Normally we have OCS-4D© running, but two people cannot be connected at the same time, and can’t develop their applications simultaneously on the same computer. The fact that the real-time data source was available to several people at the same time was a real benefit.”

The connection between OCS-4D© and SkkyHub supports secure, bi-directional data flow, allowing authorized personnel to write data back to the system. However, because this level of technology was still new to the client, they requested that the connection be configured as read-only. Using the bi-directional capability of the system would have facilitated and sped up the development process even more, but the Metso team was able to get along without it reasonably well.

Implementation Stage 2 – Deployment and Monitoring

For the initial test deployment, the system was delivered to the customer by one team member who travelled to the Middle East and worked on-site for a couple of weeks. During that time, and for the ensuing months, the team back in France used a cloned copy of the system to continually monitor the logic and ensure that everything worked properly, while the customer’s staff learned how to use the application.

“It was as if we were sitting beside them in the control room,” said Theodore, “and through live monitoring, we were able to continue developing the application, thanks to the real-time connectivity. In fact, I was travelling at the time, and was able to continue my work, uninterrupted, from the USA and Africa, as well as from our home office in France.”

“This approach is very flexible,” Theodore continued, “because at any point we could tell the client, ‘This loop is not performing the way we like it, could we investigate it with you?’ Maybe it would be a kind of secondary process loop that we could test here while something else was happening on the real system. Sometimes nobody had even asked us to develop anything, but we got an idea, something completely out of scope. As long as the data was coming in, we had the ability to test the idea, evaluate performance, and then contact the client, saying, ‘Here are some things we should do.’ The client would be surprised, because we hadn’t even come on site.”

These updates and improvements were all included with the final delivery of the system, which was turned over to local staff for normal operation and routine maintenance. Since the final sign-off, the data connection between OCS-4D© DataLink and SkkyHub has been deactivated, but it is still configured. It can be reactivated at any time, whenever an authorized Metso team needs it to provide service or support. Through this secure, outbound tunnel to SkkyHub, the developers can see what is happening in real time, monitor the logic, and efficiently interact with the system, as necessary.

Performance of the newly-installed APC system was measured by turning it on and off, and the results indicated that running OCS-4D© showed an efficiency gain of up to 10% in almost all areas of the mineral processing system. “We did so well because we were able to process the live data through SkkyHub longer than on any previous project,” said Theodore. “It had been a challenge to get this level of performance in such a short period of time, and we succeeded, thanks to the real-time data that was available through OCS-4D© DataLink (DataHub) and SkkyHub.”

Future Plans

This Industrial IoT approach to development and implementation of OCS-4D© substantially increased the profitability of this project compared to other, similar projects. Metso is planning to implement it again soon, in such far-flung places as Peru and Indonesia. As Theodore explains, “We have local people at these sites, but not many, and they are busy with other projects as well. There are several ways we can help them using this kind of connection, because we can schedule a time and connect by the Internet from almost anywhere. To optimize our resources of time and manpower, it is better to connect people remotely, from the US or France, for example, and let them work with the local people.”

“For the next stage,” he continued, “we don’t want to lose the data in the system, but rather use SkkyHub to make the connection to Big Data for analytics. We’d like to record as much as possible, so we can compare between sites, optimize performance, and do some kind of benchmarking. We want to be able to ring up the customer and say, for example, ‘You have the system installed, running at this percent, while we know that at other plants with the same configuration, it is running better.’ And of course there is the value of aggregating information. This information is crucial as we supply services and spare parts. We need to know the condition of the system at every point in time.”

About OCS-4D©

OCS-4D© is a software solution from Metso used for Advanced Process Control (APC), including embedded expert systems with fuzzy logic, modeling and optimizing modules (MPC), vision and acoustics analysis algorithms―for mineral processing plants (crushing, grinding, flotation, dewatering, pyro metallurgy, etc.).

About Metso

Metso is a world leading industrial company serving the mining, aggregates, recycling, oil, gas, pulp, paper and process industries, with products ranging from mining and aggregates processing equipment and systems to industrial valves and controls, providing a broad scope of services and a global network of over 80 service centers and about 6,400 services professionals.

Red Lion adds new platforms for cellular RTUs that further IIoT connectivity

Red Lion Controls, a global expert in communication, monitoring, and control for industrial automation and networking, announced that its RAM industrial routers and cellular RTUs now support the Microsoft Azure, Cumulocity, and Nokia IMPACT IIoT platforms.

This follows the recent announcement that Red Lion’s RAM products now support the MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol. The addition of these two platforms moves Red Lion RAM products to lead the market in the greatest number of platform integrations, providing greater flexibility for industrial customers to quickly connect to their choice of leading IIoT cloud platforms.

In addition to those announced, RAMQTT, Red Lion’s embedded MQTT client, simplifies implementations with pre-configured profiles for AT&T M2X, Amazon AWS IoT, AutoDesk Fusion Connect and Telenor Connexion. Customers connect using a simple drop-down menu to select their cloud platform of choice. Also, using the RAM Software Development Kit (SDK), connectivity can be enabled with additional platforms, including LEC IQ Web SCADA, Set-Point IPwebcontrol, Skkynet SkkyHub, and Telit deviceWISE.

Skkynet to Exhibit New IIoT Technology at ARC Industry Forum

New embedded systems technologies and Industry 4.0 protocol support drive Skkynet’s demos of the Industrial IoT.

Mississauga, Ontario, January 31, 2017 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, will demonstrate the latest release candidate of the Cogent DataHub® connecting via SkkyHub™ to the newest Renesas Synergy™ Platform, at the ARC Industry Forum on February 6-9 in Orlando, Florida.  The hands-on IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) demo will let users interact securely with a live embedded system from their mobile devices over OPC UA, the recommended protocol for Industry 4.0.

“People need to see something working, and interact with it, to truly understand what we mean by an end-to-end IIoT solution,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet. “This demo brings the IIoT out of the realm of speculation and into the domain of practical solutions that the C-level executives who attend the ARC Industry Forum expect to see.”

The ARC Industry Forum brings together CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, VPs, directors and managers of some of the largest industrial companies in the world.  This year’s focus on the IIoT focuses on the convergence of IT, OT (operations technology), and ET (engineering technology) and explores the move “from Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) concepts to real IIoT products, solutions, and services.”

The Skkynet technology being showcased includes the latest version of the Cogent DataHub, which  fully integrates OPC UA and other industrial protocols to support OPC networking, OPC server-server bridging, aggregation, data logging, redundancy, and web-based HMI. Capable of handling over 50,000 data changes per second, the DataHub is also seamlessly integrated with Skkynet’s SkkyHub and ETK for secure, end-to-end Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 connectivity.

The demo also includes the Renesas Synergy Platform running the Skkynet Embedded Toolkit (ETK), which allows embedded devices to make a secure connection to the Cogent DataHub or SkkyHub, enabling real-time, bidirectional IoT data flow. Skkynet’s SkkyHub service connects to the ETK and the Cogent DataHub to securely network live data in real time from any location. It enables bidirectional IoT-based supervisory control, integration and sharing of data with multiple users. Secure by design, the service requires no VPN, no open firewall ports, no special programming, and no additional hardware.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design. For more information, see http://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cogent and BellChild to Launch Next Generation iBRESS Service

Skkynet subsidiary Cogent Real-Time Systems signs memo of understanding with BellChild to offer next generation cloud service for Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT.

Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 2016 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, announces that Cogent Real-Time Systems, a Skkynet subsidiary, signed a memo of understanding with BellChild Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, to launch the next generation iBRESS™ cloud service. This MOU supports the rollout of an Asian-market specific SaaS (Software as a Service) for secure, real-time data communication suitable for Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications.

“We are pleased to strengthen our relationship with BellChild in this way,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet, “and build on the success of the current iBRESS Secure Cloud Micro Service, which we have been offering jointly for the past 18 months.  Adding the capabilities of the SkkyHub™ service to BellChild’s portfolio will significantly enhance their ability to serve their customers.”

Users of the improved iBRESS service will be able to securely connect industrial plants, machines, or individual sensors and actuators to a complete Industrie 4.0 or IIoT system.  This will allow BellChild customers to monitor and control their industrial processes in real time, from a web page or mobile phone, as well as log data directly to any database or Big Data repository.  The improved service requires no programming, and allows users to seamlessly integrate existing systems using standard protocols, while incrementally adding Industrie 4.0 or IIoT capability as needed.

Underpinning the iBRESS and SkkHub services, Skkynet’s patented technology for secure, outbound-only connections is fully compatible with corporate IT policies, and ensures no exposed attack surface – no open firewall ports, no VPN, and no extra hardware.  It provides Industrie 4.0 and IIoT connectivity at in-plant networking speeds of microseconds over network latency, and processes up to 50,000+ data changes per second.

About BellChild

BellChild is a system integration company focusing on secure system development, robust infrastructure development, and advanced operations capabilities. BellChild’s BEAM platform provides highly secure cloud services for the financial sector. The company develops and maintains secure servers used to support high-speed financial transactions, which is also used to provide a robust and secure platform to support industrial cloud-based systems in the form of iBRESS™ service.  For more information, see http://www.bell-c.co.jp/.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design.  For more information, see http://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cogent Introduces OPC UA-Enabled DataHub at SPS IPC Drives

At SPS IPC Drives 2016 Skkynet subsidiary Cogent Real-Time Systems will demo a release candidate of Cogent DataHub with OPC UA support.

Mississauga, Ontario, November 15, 2016 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, announces that Cogent Real-Time Systems, a Skkynet subsidiary, will demonstrate the latest release candidate of the Cogent DataHub® with OPC UA support at the OPC Foundation booth at SPS IPC Drives 2016 in Nuremburg, Germany, November 22-24.  With OPC UA support, this version of the Cogent DataHub will be able to connect to virtually any industrial system, ranging from legacy equipment to state-of-the-art Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT projects.

“OPC UA is where the world is headed,” said Andrew Thomas, Cogent CEO, “and we help our clients get there.  The DataHub is uniquely positioned to extend OPC UA by seamlessly connecting it to the previous generation of OPC (OPC Classic), while providing full integration with SQL databases, Excel spreadsheets, a web-based HMI, and the SkkyHub service.”

OPC is a series of standards for connecting industrial hardware and devices with HMIs and other software.  OPC Classic has a twenty-year established user base of millions of installations.  OPC UA (Unified Architecture) was introduced to expand the domain of OPC beyond traditional industrial applications, and to provide improved networking and security.

The latest version of the Cogent DataHub being demonstrated at SPS IPC Drives fully integrates OPC UA as one of its standard protocols, along with OPC DA and other industrial protocols to support OPC networking, OPC server-server bridging, aggregation, data logging, redundancy, and web-based HMI. Capable of handling over 50,000 data changes per second, the DataHub is also seamlessly integrated with Skkynet’s SkkyHub and ETK for secure, end-to-end Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 connectivity.

Skkynet’s SkkyHub service connects to the Cogent DataHub to securely network live data in real time from any location. It enables bidirectional IoT-based supervisory control, integration and sharing of data with multiple users. Secure by design, the service requires no VPN, no open firewall ports, no special programming, and no additional hardware. The Skkynet Embedded Toolkit (ETK) allows embedded devices to make a secure connection to the Cogent DataHub or SkkyHub, enabling real-time, bidirectional IoT data flow.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design.  For more information, see http://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Skkynet and Partners Showcase Secure IoT at ET2016 in Japan

Joint collaboration between NiC and Skkynet partners BellChild and Nissin demonstrates secure, real-time connectivity for the IoT.

Mississauga, Ontario, November 8, 2016 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, announces that NiC, a Skkynet subsidiary, will collaborate with Skkynet partners Nissin Systems Co. Ltd. and BellChild Co. Ltd. to demonstrate secure, end-to-end Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity at ET2016 in Yokohama, Japan, later this month.  The joint exhibit, which features the Skkynet ETK connected to BellChild’s iBRESS Secure Micro Cloud Service, will give engineers, developers, and executives a chance to access and control Renesas Synergy™ Platform hardware from their mobile phones, over a secure, real-time, two-way data communications link.

“This demonstration represents a fusion of leading IoT technology―hardware, software, and services―to provide a seamless experience,” said Mr. Akira Iwata, President of NiC. “Developers working with Renesas Synergy can simply activate the Skkynet ETK for their project, and get immediate access to their data in a web browser or mobile phone.”

“Japan is a world leader in embedded technology,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet.  “This show is the ideal venue for demonstrating the practical value of connecting embedded devices to the IoT.”

The ET2016 show is the largest of its kind, attracting developers and customers from all over Japan, as well as other parts of Asia and the world.  With two specialized sub-shows for embedded and IoT technologies, ET2016 caters to the expanding range of applications for embedded devices in all markets.

The Skkynet ETK (Embedded Toolkit) for the Renesas Synergy Platform is part of the Renesas Synergy Verified Software Add-on (VSA) Program. The ETK is offered by Skkynet free of any royalty or development-license fees, allowing engineers and developers to quickly and securely enable their projects for the IoT, while providing a platform to earn a recurring revenue stream.

The iBRESS Secure Micro Cloud Service can transmit mission-critical sensor data over a public cloud in real time, while conforming with or exceeding the most stringent security requirements in the industry. It can meet the individual needs of a wide range of corporate users, and provide flexible solutions for individuals and groups of clients in the financial or industrial sectors.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design.  For more information, see http://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.