An integrated approach to infrastructure


By Rashesh Mody, Senior Leader, and Madhusudan Krishnamoorthy, Senior, Marketing Manager, AVEVA
Friday, 15 March, 2019

An integrated approach to infrastructure

A transformative ‘system of systems’ approach supports centralised control to increase visibility and improve decision-making.

With increasing urbanisation, mounting cost pressures and the demand for improved quality of life, there is now a global move towards infrastructure consolidation, upgrade and continuous improvement. Many cities have old and ageing infrastructure with high replacement costs. Converting existing infrastructure to ‘smart infrastructure’ is the key to improving cities, and it is directly correlated with quality-of-life improvements.

Some of the drivers for smart city initiatives include:

  • Multiple IT/OT systems supplied by various vendors and the need to connect and exchange information between them.
  • Increased use of public transit.
  • The need for increased visibility of building plans, eg, to help firefighters mitigate losses.
  • Smarter buildings for reducing energy consumption.
  • The need for better traffic management to reduce congestion and improve emergency response.

For smart cities to be efficient, they must be able to connect, collect, analyse and act from disparate data sources. There are three main parts to that job: collecting, communicating and ‘crunching’.

First, a smart city connects and collects information about itself through sensors, other devices and existing systems. Next, it communicates that data using wired or wireless networks. Third, it ‘crunches’ (analyses) that data to understand what is happening now, what is likely to happen next, and finally it must act based on this intelligence.

A transformative approach to this spans various applications, including facilities management, utilities, telecommunication, transportation, health and e-governance. The most effective approach, then, is to not just connect all these disparate functions, but to collect, analyse and then act with a unified and holistic intelligence with the help of real-time data.

The objective is to enable city leaders to better serve citizens and businesses. A command and control centre based on an integrative, ‘system of systems’ approach can be used to leverage information from various data sources to anticipate and resolve problems even before they are presented, coordinate various resources and processes to operate seamlessly, and generally make more strategic decisions.

Technology is the powerful unifying asset, as it can provide a truly holistic approach to unifying disparate and complex systems and data challenges. It provides a centralised infrastructure that supports operations and customer information systems across the entire value chain. Combining information technology and operational technology, and having a system that communicates effectively, results in:

  • Reduced total cost of ownership through better system integration and by leveraging investments already made in systems and applications.
  • Improved asset utilisation and availability of assets with minimal downtime, as well as improved predictability of asset maintenance.
  • Lower implementation costs with hardware-agnostic, unified platforms.

AVEVA recommends implementing a robust platform that integrates enterprise and control applications with advanced real-time monitoring, and which integrates existing systems through a system-of-systems approach that provides: a hardware-agnostic platform for centralised control and device system connectivity; asset performance monitoring, predictive maintenance capabilities and asset life maximisation; and enhanced workforce collaboration with real-time control and monitoring.

Image credit: ©孤飞的鹤/Dollar Photo Club

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