It's a classic scene in a contemporary-classic holiday movie: Chevy Chase's character in "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" struggling to illuminate the 250 strands of lights with which he has blanketed his house.
In some respects, that's not unlike the situation many industrial production organizations face today as they work to light up their facilities with actionable data. Sensors that send up real-time data about asset performance and asset health, allowing organizations to make smarter decisions about maintenance, production, labor allocation and more, is a beautiful thing. But one bad bulb or malfunctioning strand, so to speak, can derail the whole effort.
The struggle for more-seamless connectivity—and the associated technology needs—was a major theme in a session focused on distributed analytics at the Smart Industry 2015 conference. Presenter David Houghton, director of software platform company Bright Wolf, shared the story of a customer that specializes in management of transfusion blood. The expanding company had 50,000 devices in use in the field with the goal of reaching 80,000 by 2020, Houghton said, but the devices weren't connected in a way that would allow sharing of in-process performance data or real-time rich alerting. The customer recognized that it needed "the ability to light up all data points," Houghton said.