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3rd Wave of Process Automation & the IoT

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Process Automation is the ability to efficiently orchestrate workflow between computers, computer controlled machines and software. Proper process automation is exceedingly important and strategic to organizations because it enhances productivity, lowers cost and reduces a product’s time to market.

Wave 1

The process automation concept has existed for decades and is widely used in car manufacturing, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals , mail, just to name a few.

The main characteristics of these types of process automation solutions are:

Wave 2

A second wave of process automation solutions emerged with the advent of the Internet and its underlying technologies; specifically the openness and availability of massive amounts of valuable digital information. Second wave process automation technology is used in the service sectors for credit card processing, emails, social networking, just to name a few.

The main characteristics of these types of process automation solutions are:

Wave 3

A third wave of process automation solutions are emerging with the advent of the Internet of Things. This massive computerization of smart-sensors and the ability for these devices to publish and consume information throughout the Internet has opened up a new world of possibilities. People are developing systems that can remotely monitor and control their appliances, HVAC systems, garage doors and sprinklers all from an iPhone. Cities are starting to improve parking, waste, road and water management systems through connected devices. In addition, sensors allow us to consume more data than ever before and faster computing power enables us to transform this data into actionable intelligence.

Despite these advances, process automation is still dry with respect to the processing of sensor data as a stream of data. Process automation in this third wave of the IoT is still primarily limited to the detection of sensor data thresholds and the changing of data presets. A unifying technology has yet to emerge that can take all these new data streams and orchestrate them in a way that would create similar solutions to what we found in the first and second waves of process automation.

Consider the case where the following process needs to be automated: the vital signs for hundreds of patients located across several hospitals are going to be continually monitored. The vital signs include a patients EKG signal, pulse rate signal and temperature. These signals need to continuously stream to a diagnostics center for real-time analysis. If a patient’s signal is deemed abnormal, the system must generate the proper sequence to alert medical personnel for immediate attention. This solution can be implemented in part by using disparate IoT components. However, a gluing technology is yet to emerge to make the automaton of this process faster and easier.

Bluwired engineers, with their extensive experience in the implementation of process automation solutions, have developed a framework that can glue components together to make cases like the vital signs process automation example a reality. The Bluwired framework encompasses products and expertise in the following state of the art technologies: Mixed-signal Data Streaming and Processing, Real-time Streaming Spreadsheet Processing, Global Wiring Interconnections, Data Security, Embedded Systems, Digital Signal Processing, Wireles, Cloud Technology, Database Technology, Synchronization, Intelligent Agent Distributed Processing and Simulation tools.

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