Maximize the Value of IT and OT Convergence
See for yourself how bridging the IT/OT divide with Intel® technologies reduces costs and the complexity of your industrial IoT deployments.
Advancing Toward Industry 4.0
Digital transformation fueled by artificial intelligence (AI), edge computing, and cloud technology is driving new capabilities within the industrial sector. Machine vision can check for defects, read bar codes, and confirm the correct label positioning on products. Sensors on an assembly line can be networked to track equipment performance from edge to cloud and inform preventive maintenance. AI-enabled robotics can automate manufacturing and logistics to boost efficiency. Programmable logic controllers (PLCs) can help workers maintain social distancing by supporting virtualized control applications that are managed remotely through the cloud.
Historically, factory operators have taken a siloed approach to managing machinery technology. That means PLCs, programmable automation controllers (PACs), human-machine interfaces (HMIs), and industrial PCs (IPCs) are installed and managed individually. This can lead to challenges when incorporating modern capabilities into legacy equipment. For example, attaching an AI-enabled camera to a robot that paints car doors may improve quality control, but it requires the management of disparate systems. In the long run, this can cause problems with interoperability and lead to production inefficiency.
Intel® Architecture Drives IT and OT Convergence
IT/OT convergence is the integration of information technology (IT), the hardware and software that process data, with operational technology (OT), the systems that control industrial operations.
The right underlying architecture simplifies IT/OT convergence by making it possible to design, scale, and run separate functions on one united, cloud-like platform—even when supporting legacy machines is necessary. Intel provides this foundation with the hardware building blocks and specialized technologies to consolidate discrete functions—including process control, visualization, and data acquisition—at the industrial edge. Intel® products and technologies for IT/OT convergence include:
- High-performance silicon enhanced for IoT with options for demanding industrial applications. Processors are ideal for converging edge applications that would otherwise require multiple CPUs, GPUs, and accelerators. Capabilities can be added over several years without full reconfiguration.
- Two scalable software platforms —Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial and Intel® Edge Insights for Industrial —designed to optimize and securely run multiple applications. New capabilities, such as AI, can be added and modified over time without risking downtime.
- Reference hardware architectures and market-ready solutions (MRS) available through an extensive ecosystem of partners for easier integration of new capabilities with existing systems.
- Industrial computing platforms built on open architecture that allow data-centric IT protocols to be integrated into legacy machines through virtualized applications.
This future-ready architecture helps factory operators streamline the deployment of industrial IoT solutions while improving efficiency and management. By moving to an open, fully programmable, standards-based unified system, enterprises can avoid the need for disparate systems and the resources it takes to manage them.
Benefits of IT and OT Convergence on Consolidated Systems
By optimizing their use of resources, factories may reduce installation, energy, cooling, and management costs.
Because reduced infrastructure means fewer systems to procure and maintain, factories may be able to lower their capital expenses and avoid future costs as new capabilities are added.
Consolidating many single-function devices into an integrated system can free up valuable floor space and optimize real estate.
Multiple functions can be consolidated into one console for faster user experiences. Remote management capabilities can streamline maintenance tasks.
By collecting real-time data from equipment, factory operators can predict maintenance issues and maximize uptime.
Scalability and Agility
Compute, memory, and storage resources can scale existing systems quickly and with little downtime.
Security Orchestration and Management
Converged IT/OT networks can be secured and monitored, with data collected across systems used to identify and mitigate potential threats.
Types of Industrial Workload Convergence
Backup Systems for Redundancy
For workloads that require high availability, backup systems can be consolidated onto a server to provide redundancy if the primary system is unavailable.
Digitalization is allowing hardware to operate in software applications. For example, physical controllers can now manage machine functions in software that move a product down a conveyor belt—which can streamline processes and boost efficiency.
Consolidate Multiple Functions
Different functional devices can be consolidated into one device—similar to how a smartphone has replaced the phone, calendar, camera, and GPS with a single device. Industrial computing with the right capabilities can operate multiple workloads on one IPC.
Smarter Operations with Virtualized IPCs
To optimize operations in our new factory, Intel IT implemented a virtualized station controller solution to host all the IPCs from the factory data center. Each tool has a dedicated virtual PC, avoiding the CapEx of purchasing many new PCs and the OpEx associated with installing them. The solution also freed up cleanroom floor space and consolidated operations and maintenance into one console for fast and easy fixes.
Intel® Technologies for IT/OT Convergence
Bring compute to the industrial edge with Intel® architecture that can scale up to meet performance demands, offers built-in security enhancements, improves near-real-time responsiveness, and can help reduce latency. Realize even greater efficiencies with specialized Intel® technologies designed to virtualize applications, improve safety, and synchronize networks of devices.
IoT and Embedded Processors
Enhanced for IoT, Intel® edge-ready processors are ideal for converging applications that normally require multiple processors or accelerators.
Share the same graphics, audio, imaging, and other compute resources with Intel® specialized virtualization technologies.
Intel® Time Coordinated Computing (Intel® TCC) Technology and time-sensitive networking (TSN) solutions synchronize the IT network and accelerate communication between systems.
Converged Edge Insights
Converged Edge Insights is a platform designed for building network, IT, and operational/IoT applications on a converged, cloud-native architecture.
Intel® Edge Controls for Industrial
Accelerate the transformation of industrial controls with a prevalidated software reference platform designed to maximize performance.
Intel® Edge Insights for Industrial
Build powerful analytics and machine learning models to generate actionable predictive insights at the edge.
Intel vPro® Platform
PCs powered by Intel vPro® are built for business. With forward-looking features designed to help you confidently navigate the future of security and empower your team to connect and collaborate more seamlessly. Intel vPro® moves business forward to keep you agile, allow you to scale, and help you realize your goals faster. Gain remote management capabilities for industrial IoT devices with this built-for-business platform.
Benefits of Partnering with Intel for Industrial Technology
Software-defined infrastructure (SDI) can help reduce capital and operating expenses. Multiple functions are consolidated onto commercial off-the-shelf servers powered by Intel® CPUs, reducing the number of unique boxes that must be maintained. Virtualized containers and orchestration software reduce the complexity and cost of bringing services to the industrial edge.
Intel® products for industrial IoT are designed for harsh environments, with extended temperature ranges and support for Error Correcting Code (ECC) to maximize uptime. The Intel® IoT product road map offers a clear picture of future availability to support long-term innovation.
Intel-based platforms are highly scalable, providing you with the headroom you need to add more workloads in the future. Intel® processors are incredibly scalable, offering computing options that satisfy multiple cost-performance points while supporting the computation, communication, and control requirements of robotic applications.