INTERNET OF THINGS (IOT) AND THE TELECONTROL HAVE IN COMMON THE ACCESS TO REMOTE DEVICES, BUT THIS IS THE ONLY AND THE LAST SIMILARITY THEY HAVE

INTRODUCTION

In this article, including what was said by Chantal Polsonetti — vice president of the ARC Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com) in Dedham, Massachusetts — we want to analyze the differences between a classic telecontrol system and a modern IoT system. Despite the fact that remote access control systems existed for many years, Sofia Locks it stands as a provider of cloud services for access control systems based on IoT. What are the differences therefore? What are the benefits?

TELECONTROL AND IOT: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES

In the last few years, the industry discussions on the Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential benefits have raised a lot of questions about the distinctions between IoT and Telecontrol, which offers more classic solutions that have been available for much longer. In fact, for both (IoT and Telecontrol), remote access to devices is a common element, so the questions about how to distinguish them are lawful and understandable.

However, the commonality between the two types of solution ends here and they differ in the way they reach access to the remote device. For example, traditional telecontrol solutions rely on point-to-point communications using embedded hardware modules and cellular or wired networks. At the contrary, IoT solutions rely on IP-based networks (such as the Internet) to interface device data with a cloud or middleware platform.

The persistent inability of the telecontrol market to realize its expected growth potential, and the reasons for this failure, provide indicative factors for the true differences between IoT and telecon systems. Although telecontrol solutions offer remote access to machine data, these data are traditionally targeted to timely solutions in service management applications. Rarely, if ever, data is integrated with business applications to improve overall business performance.

The integration of device and sensor data with big data, analysis and other business applications is a fundamental concept behind the emerging of Internet of Things. This integration is the key to obtaining numerous advantages throughout the manufacturing company and, definitively, about the growth in the market.

ACCESS TO REMOTE DEVICE

The access to devices, machines, resources and other remote entities, provides a primary value proposition for telecontrol and IoT solutions. Telecontrol applications are typically composed of hardware modules embedded in a machine on a physical site of the customer that communicate through proprietary cellular (or wired) networks with a dedicated software application, usually at the service of the supplier. Through this connectivity feature, the device supplier can reduce service management costs through remote diagnostics, remote troubleshooting, remote updates and other remote features that reduce the need to deploy personnel assistance.

BOTH TELECONTROL AND IOT SOLUTIONS OFFER REMOTE CONNECTIONS AND CONTROL OF DEVICES. IN THE FIRST CASE THEY ARE EXPENSIVE, BASED ON POINT-TO-POINT PROPRIETARY CONNECTIONS; IN THE SECOND CASE, ARE ECONOMIC, SCALABLE, BASED ON CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES.

In IoT solutions, the “what, how and why” remote access to devices requires a much broader discussion. In fact, IoT technologies can be used for the same devices of Telecontrol applications, but also for passive low-power and passive sensors, as well as cheap devices that may not be able to justify a dedicated hardware remote control module. In fact, IoT devices communicate via IP networks based on the common communication standards of the Internet and it is easy to integrate their data with business applications (ERP for example) to allow not only an improvement of the service, but also operational improvements and new models of business as a product-as-a-service.

USE OF STANDARD MASS CONNECTIVITY SOLUTIONS SUCH AS THE INTERNET, AND THE USE OF CLOUD SYSTEMS, MAKES THE APPLICATION SIMPLER AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN TRADITIONAL TELECONTROL.

These integrations are possible because the data coming from IoT devices are collected by a cloud-based system, thus allowing easy access to any authorized business application. At the contrary, telecontrol systems usually use direct point-to-point communication, which makes an aggregated view of the devices in management impossible. Using a Cloud system, makes IoT inherently more scalable, eliminating the need for wired incremental connections and SIM card installations. Thanks to the IoT technologies, it is no longer necessary to have a single static IP address for each connected device as in the case of Telecontrol systems, this means it’s no longer necessary to connect to each individual device, but will be the single device to connect to the intermediary cloud infrastructure which will be a collector of all connections.

WITH IOT SOLUTIONS, THANKS TO THE ADOPTION OF THE CLOUD BROKERAGE INFRASTRUCTURE, IT IS NO LONGER NECESSARY TO ASSIGN A STATIC IP TO EACH CONNECTED DEVICE, WITH GREAT SAVINGS IN INFRASTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT COSTS.

All this, and in particular the possibility for the applications of the entire company to access the data of the connected devices in order to improve the company’s performance and competitive capabilities, clearly distinguishes the IoT potential respect to telecontrol solutions.

SUPERIOR BENEFITS WITH INTEGRATED IOT

The IoT market has a much greater potential than traditional telecontrol due to integration with business processes. Customers of telecontrol and IoT applications also want to reduce unplanned downtime of production facilities or logistics systems. The big difference is that IoT systems offer the possibility to evaluate these problems at the single device level and at the whole system level. This overview given by the IoT technologies makes it possible to apply analyzes on the aggregated data received and to process the big data to optimize the incremental benefits.

Furthermore, the introduction of IoT technology makes the hardware easy to manipulate almost as much as software, at least at the level of information exchanged. This is made possible by cloud brokerage infrastructures. Software dependency rather than hardware makes IoT solutions more accessible to a wider variety of internal and external customers. The universal viewing capabilities allow you to present data anywhere, even on mobile devices, to any authorized user. The combination of these attributes further increases the visibility of IoT solutions and generates attention from C-Level rather than departmental level.

THE USE OF IOT TECHNOLOGY, UNLIKE THE STANDARD TELECONTROL, ENABLES THE POSSIBILITY OF HAVING DATA THAT CAN BE USED IN AGGREGATED FORM FROM THE PC TO MOBILE DEVICES.

FIND THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR YOU

The terms Telecontrol and IoT have become synonymous in many environments, but it is important to ensure to specify a solution that meets current and anticipated needs. This implies to recognize in advance if you are looking for a point-to-point solution (standard telecontrol) for a simple remote access to a specific machine, as in a service management application, or if you instead seek to increase business benefits through the use of analysis, big data and other software-oriented performance enhancement tools, which is easy and possible with an IoT solution.

DIFFERENCES IN THE SUPPLIERS SCENE

Telecontrol and IoT application providers typically have different skills, which makes a big difference to the capabilities of the systems created to generate the desired benefits.

The competencies of telecontrol solutions providers tend to focus on the hardware aspects of the devices, in particular the electronics and the embedded cellular telecommunications networks. Many are starting to add cloud functionality through internal development, acquisition or partnership, but for most telecontrol providers this is new ground. Instead, IoT solution providers tend to emphasize software capabilities and, in particular, business integration, so they are the most suitable companies to extrapolate valuable information from installed device parks. In a world where software is the master in fact, it is the software companies that are best suited to carry out innovation in production processes.

“Software is eating the world” — Marc Andressen, Wall Street Journal

Original articlearticle drawn, adapted, and revisited from the original version in english available on: https://www.automationworld.com/article/topics/cloud-computing/know-difference-between-iot-and-m2m

Author of the original article: Chantal Polsonetti is vice president of the Arc Advisory Group (www.arcweb.com) in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Reference: Why Software Is Eating The World, Marc Andressen https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460