With the recent Street Lighting conference focusing on self monitoring and remotely controlled lighting followed by the publication on 10 August by the Gartner report titled “The Value of IT and OT Integration” are we starting to see the emergence of a new cashable efficiency area?
Large scale Government procurements of IT systems in our space are starting to “float” the idea of self monitoring assets (e.g. in tunnels and property) to reduce the overall cost of maintenance.
OT systems refer to “Operational Technology” systems, meaning “systems” that run assets or the service delivery process that it the purpose of the asset. They can work in either direction – turning down or up the street lighting at various times of the day or sending warnings when an asset is about to fail. OT systems often include software linked to sensors. The outputs can often point to web pages that in turn make data available to IT systems but most often produce outputs that are proprietary. Caution might be an idea if you are in the market anytime soon.
Integration between OT and IT systems not requiring operator presence might be the “ideal”, but there are at least two critical questions:
1. What process or processes is/are triggered by what output(s) from the sensor
2. Can the OT and IT systems be integrated and how robust are they (the definition of robust might be: quick to implement; low cost to implement; break hardly ever and reliable)
Depending on the OT system, outputs might vary from “Inspect me, I might be failing” to “Get someone out here to fix or replace me, right now”. An amusing thought, perhaps, but think of closing a tunnel just to inspect the lights…in a busy city…and it suddenly starts to sound quite the cost saving point of view. Think about a very high street lamp column on a busy roundabout where traffic flows are busy 20 hours a day…making more sense yet?
Where our Confirm system sits in this equation will evolve. The first integration of IT and OT happened around 1997 with a Confirm in CyberJaya (Malaysia) and a series of building Self Monitoring sensors (lifts, lighting circuits and the like). What happens in future, will we find out together? Will it be led by a few projects? Will legislation lead the way – reducing Carbon Footprint in the Street Lighting department is an obvious one, but what if a new report shows how a new breed of self monitoring assets can enable Inspectors to be re-purposed to operational staff?
It would be great to hear some stories of how your IT and OT systems integrate…or not. Please email me or post a comment. If there are common threads, maybe the Confirm users will lead the way…stranger things have happened (Confirm was the first product of our type in the field with hand held computers in 1994 and currently have over 3,040 Confirm mobile modules working every day, “out there”).
What’s your view, what’s your story?