Global industrial company Schneider Electric SE is connecting oil pumps to the internet, with the intention of gathering data that can be used for advanced services such as predictive maintenance. Realizing such ambitions, however, requires a new kind of network with vastly more computing power placed at the edge, far away from the corporate data center or the cloud.
The company is using edge computing to predict costly mechanical problems with equipment that extracts oil in remote locations, where wireless connectivity isn’t widely available, said Cyril Perducat, executive vice president of digital services and Internet of Things at Schneider Electric.
The company is packaging the predictive maintenance solution as a new service offering and selling it to oil field customers.
“We’re able to go from describing a problem to recommending a path to prevent the problem even before it happens,” he said.
In edge computing, data is processed and analyzed on or near the device where it’s generated instead of first being sent to a corporate cloud or data center. This way, devices ranging from factory machines to elevators and vehicles can compute and analyze data in real-time without always relying on connectivity to a corporate cloud.