In my previous blog post, I discussed “connected schools” and how they will shape the future of education. We define a connected school as a learning institution that is connected to the cloud, allowing various aspects of its technological and physical makeup to be managed and controlled from one centralized cloud-based platform. The idea of a “connected” business can be applied to tons of different industries, but today I will be covering “connected manufacturing” and what this practice means for one of the largest sectors in the world.
Like school campuses, many manufacturing facilities have ample space, a lot of moving bodies, and daily activities that may require constant monitoring for safety reasons. And like connected schools, connected manufacturing uses exponential technology to bring operations into the future, by securing, monitoring, and optimizing the functionalities of the manufacturing facility.
A fully connected manufacturing facility that is 100% running from the cloud will have the following 5 solutions:
Access Control – With a centralized platform, access control for owners or foremen couldn’t be easier, allowing them to manage numerous functionalities of any number of facilities. This centralized cloud-based platform is truly at the center of the connected business. Video cameras can be managed, live footage can be shared, visual evidence can be searched and shared, water and electricity levels can be monitored, employees can be assigned specific building access at certain times with a detailed log of ins and outs, lockdowns can be initiated, and AI analytics gathered from each solution can be displayed and digested with ease; all of this from one convenient, cloud-based centralized platform, on either desktop or mobile.
Video Security – Monarch’s cloud-based video security cameras record and retain footage for up to a year, and provide powerful and insightful analytics, facial/object recognition, search features, and one-step footage file sharing via email or SMS, all from one, convenient centralized platform. These cameras can detect meaningful events and send alerts instantly, cutting down on response time and providing accurate evidence after the fact. Especially useful in our current pandemic climate, cloud-based video cameras can help tremendously with contact tracing; if an employee tests positive for COVID-19, it only takes a couple simple search commands to go back through footage and see every person who came in contact with him or her. The AI in the cameras sees each face and catalogues it at the date, place and time, then references this data when asked to show all footage of that certain person. These cameras can also filter footage by clothing color and vehicle type, allowing easy access to visual evidence and live feeds, no matter what the event is.
Vibration Monitors – Built to monitor and display levels of the facilities’ electrical and water usage, Vibration Monitors take the form of sleek wall panels that can be accessed at the source, as well as from the cloud-based centralized platform on desktop and mobile. The daily operations of any average manufacturing facility rely on a lot of overhead utilities. If the building’s electrical or water outputs malfunction, Vibration Monitors pick up on the change in vibration of the equipment internally, and report the issue instantly. With these automatic alerts, response time is cut down dramatically and action can be taken at once to repair the issue so business operations are not heavily affected, if at all.
Environmental Sensors – An Environmental Sensor can be implemented to capture the physical presence of smoke and other abnormalities in air quality in real-time; through this solution, owners and foremen can see spikes in the Air Index, which measures against a range of onboard sensors to identify the likelihood of smoke, C02, etc. on a scale of 1 to 100. Custom thresholds can be set to send real-time alerts via SMS and email to pre-selected employees, so action can be taken quickly. All sensor data is easily accessible from the cloud-based centralized platform, and can be put against a timeline to give a clear and complete view of when these events took place. Pairing the Environmental Sensors with cloud-based video cameras also provides a layer of visual evidence, so owners and foremen can see exactly what transpired. These sensors pick up a variety of substance readings, using the same pre-sets to alert the proper personnel of changes in environmental air quality within the facility. These readings include:
Air Quality Index (AQI)
Particulate Matter 2.5
Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOCs)
5. GPS Tracking and Dash Cams – It’s common for many manufacturing businesses to have their own truck fleets to move their assets, and with potentially millions of dollars tied up in these assets, it’s important to be able to monitor their journey once the trucks embark on their delivery routes. With Monarch’s line of cloud-based dash cams and GPS sensors, the entire trucking route can be monitored and surveilled, all from the same cloud-based centralized platform that all of the other connected solutions are managed from.
There is a lot at stake in the daily operations of a manufacturing facility: the health and safety of employees, millions of dollars in assets and equipment, the environmental security of the building itself.
With so many moving parts operating together in such a risky environment, owners have a responsibility to do everything in their power to optimize these operations in a safe and easy way. Connected manufacturing is the future, and it’s only the beginning for an entirely new cloud-connected world.