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Cloud computing for connected devices

Microsoft, Siemens and Intel have been demonstrating the latest evolution of the Innovative Production Line (IPL) proof of concept (POC) at SPS/IPC/Drives in Nuremberg, Germany.

This POC illustrates a real-world vision of how manufacturers can seamlessly connect the plant floor to the IT data centre.

The latest development in the IPL is that it is now attached to the cloud via Windows Azure to showcase connectivity between industrial devices and cloud services.

The IPL also shows how Windows Azure coupled with the latest technologies from Windows Embedded can enable constant production process optimisation, reduce delays and increase overall factory productivity by supporting the analysis and execution of real-time factory floor data from enterprise applications.

The IPL can help manage the efficient use and conservation of energy, such as green IT sensors that switch off devices automatically when they are not in use and solar cells on the roof that provide a current which is measured and stored in a Microsoft SQL Azure energy portal.

This portal could then provide instant access to real-time information, enabling manufacturers to estimate supplemental energy requirements. For example, it can superimpose a weather map over the factory location to forecast when to purchase more energy from the grid, thus helping manufacturers establish a more environmentally friendly business.

Another new addition to the IPL is Intel’s Active Management Technology for monitoring from devices to services in the cloud. This intelligent device management enables users to monitor device health and identify if a device is faulty or needs to be rebooted, as well as reviewing read-out information in real time.

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