From end station to open IIoT platform: the evolution and future of the data historian
Jeroen Coussement on , updated
How the data historian has evolved from a bulky and closed production tool to a lightweight and open IIoT platform, enabling companies to beat the interoperability challenges of Industry 4.0.
Simply put, a data historian is a software system that collects, stores, and analyses data from industrial processes. It’s the go-to source for anyone who wants to understand what’s happening on the production floor. Running a factory without a historian? That’s like trying to fly a plane blindfolded.
Plenty of reasons to take a closer look at the past, evolution, and exciting future of Industry 4.0’s top data collection solution.
Proprietary historians: the dusty relics of the past
Picture it: the 90s. The era of grunge, dial-up internet, and of course, the high-rise of proprietary data historians. They were like the dinosaur computers of the industrial world – big, bulky, and slow. But they did the job. Well, at least for the happy few that had pockets deep enough to be able to afford them.
Even for the companies that could buy into these highly expensive data historians, they gradually turned into a huge frustration. They were too slow to analyse a rising amount of process data, difficult to use and complex to modify, and always seemed to break down at the worst possible moment.
It was time for something better, something more modern, something… open.
How open historians solve Industry 4.0 challenges
First, imagine a train station.
In the old days, the station was a simple terminal. Trains came in, and trains left. That was it. But as time went on, it became more than just a terminal. It became a hub, a departure platform, where passengers could switch trains and connect to other destinations as well. The station became a platform.
The same goes for how data historians evolved.
Thanks to open technologies, the classic data historian has made a radical turn. It has transformed from a slow, complex and proprietary production tool to an extremely fast, open and full-fledged IIoT platform. One that can deliver insights for any department, and offers a global view on production operations.
The foundation of its success? Interoperability.
Production companies need a variety of systems, applications and tools to successfully run their manufacturing operations. Therefore, the future belongs to tools and vendors that manage to solve one piece of the puzzle really well, thereby leveraging a standard protocol to exchange data between parties.
By being able to easily share data with other systems, our open historian can help you achieve the level of interoperability needed for true Industry 4.0 compliance. This interoperability is key because it allows you to break down the silos that exist between company departments, and factory systems.
The open data management platform for Industry 4.0
How Factry Historian can future-proof your business
Efficiency is key to stay on top of the game in Industry 4.0. Because Factry Historian integrates with any system, tool, or data source, you are able to create a holistic view of your processes, which can help you to optimise operations, make better business decisions, and improve the bottom line.
Leverage new IT innovations
The openness of our software makes it a lot easier to take advantage of emerging Industry 4.0 technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and advanced analytics tools, connecting them with the OT layer.
By providing access to large amounts of data in a structured format that is easily digestible by these technologies, our historian can help you unlock advanced data insights that would be impossible to obtain otherwise.
A more efficient workforce
Factry Historian has the power to change the way you work by allowing ever more processes to be fully automated, and evolve to a plant in which operators are instantly notified in case of issues – instead of having to literally sit and wait for it. These people can then do more useful tasks.
Same data, more perspectives
Gone are the days when only experts worked with an industrial historian. Today, any department needs to get to work with data. For instance, financial controllers need an overview of all global assets to compare their performance, and facility managers need to find new ways to cut costs.
Our open historian delivers a central source of truth for all your process data, and can provide people throughout the company with all the data they need to investigate production issues, streamline processes, save energy, or make better business decisions – all based on accurate, real-time data.
A global view of operations
Since the historian can be easily connected to the cloud, you can easily build a cloud control room in which you consult high-level and detailed insights on how global assets are running, which sites or lines are currently down, and get instantly notified in case certain business or operational KPIs are not met.
The future of the historian looks bright (and so does yours)
The future of the industrial data historian is bright, and it’s only getting brighter. Your next historian will no longer be just a terminal station, but will be a full-fledged departure platform, where you can connect other tools and applications to help you understand your processes better.
Here’s some final advice on how to make your company’s future just as bright:
Don’t make interoperability an afterthought
It is safe to say that today’s biggest innovations in and around Industry 4.0 are rooted in the IT world, going from cloud technologies to advanced data analysis, and machine learning. That is why interoperability should never be an afterthought when implementing a new data collection solution.
Compatible with the latest technologies, and acting as a gateway between systems, apps and technologies, Factry Historian can help you successfully bridge the gap between OT and IT, replacing outdated protocols, drivers and libraries with a unified IIoT platform and standardised communication.
Choose future-proof, and open technologies
The technology you choose is vital for your success. Proprietary historians do not only struggle with delivering real-time data to the right people at the right time, in case you want to extract data or integrate them with other systems or tools you will need to buy expensive connectors or do custom development.
So, to sum it up:
In the Industry 4.0 landscape, building up efficiency is key to stay competitive and keep your profits. And by adopting a historian built with open components, you can position your organisation to take full advantage of the benefits of new technologies to increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve quality.
And in the end, who doesn’t want that?
Learn how Factry Historian can help your business improve the bottom line and become more competitive in your niche.
Request a free demo of Factry Historian