Great technological developments are borne out of the unique ideas of visionaries that carry these ideas into the future. Discover the Internet of Things with us.
Karl Steinbuch was one of the pioneers of computer science, a trailblazer of machine learning and a co-founder of artificial intelligence. In 1966, he put forth his vision with this sentence: “In a few decades’ time, computers will be interwoven into almost every industrial product.” We now know that he was right.
In 1980, computers began being designed for home use, the World Wide Web was developed in 1989 and not much later, on August 6, 1991, the world’s first website was published. Then, more and more computers were linked, computer technology became ubiquitous and we have long been in the midst of a process of global digitalisation.
Thanks to the continuous progress of microelectronics, communication technology and information technology, objects that are used daily are now capable of being linked with each other, with computers and with the internet for communication purposes. Traditional objects such as household appliances, smartphones and vehicles are “digitally equipped” with microcontrollers and software. Information and communication technology capabilities are constantly being added to them. This is a development that generates enormous added value for devices and services and provides new opportunities for business and personal life. This is a vision with its own name, the “Internet of Things” or IoT.
The value of the “Internet of Things” is that it provides all relevant information in real time through connective networking of all products, devices and processes that generate value and additional value creation can be achieved at any time from this data.
What significance does the “Internet of Things” have for the business sectors of Endress+Hauser in liquid analysis?
It is not hard to recognise that continuous measuring system yields an enormous quantity of data over time, particularly when a process involves several measuring points and each measuring point is equipped with numerous measuring instruments. However, practice shows that only a fraction of this information can be used that was gained from the overall process and made available. This insight indicates the great potential for future IoT applications in process automation. Components of the “Internet of Things” include a measuring system with continuous self-monitoring, methods for automated data analysis, tools for simple display of complex process information, and mobile end devices, cloud technologies and new service concepts.
When these are linked, they provide users with new opportunities to increase operational performance factors such as system efficiency, process stability and operational safety. These technologies play a significant role in areas such as water management. In terms of digitalisation, this includes associated and higher-order topic areas related to the Internet of Things, such as Water 4.0, Water management 4.0, big data and cyber-physical systems.
Stakeholders from the areas of policy, standards and water boards are involved to strengthen their sustainability and competitiveness through the use of digitalisation and automation and to develop appropriate implementation strategies. The activities in the sector has already proven this. The German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA) and German Water Partnership (GWP) designed their future plans accordingly, and recently the mschergenossenschaft/ Lippeverband (EGLV) (association for water management) and the Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Agriculture, Conservation and Consumer protection of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia invited specialist experts to a strategy workshop to explain the topic of “Water management 4.0” in order to draft the “NRW water master plan”.
Intelligent measuring systems for the water supply of tomorrow
The objective of the project “Intelligent measurement methods for process optimisation of the supply and distribution of drinking water (IMProvT)” is to develop IoT solutions for optimising the water supply. The Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) in Germany is promoting this joint project as part of the 6th energy research program. This project is headed by the Technical University of Cologne. In addition to Endress+Hauser Conducta, the project partners includes various long-distance water suppliers, water utility companies, associations for drinking water, water centres, technical and scientific associations. One of the long-distance water suppliers provided three measuring points that are equipped with multiparameter measuring stations from Endress+Hauser. The measurement data is transmitted to a central server at the Technical University of Cologne and analysed there using mathematical analysis methods.
The objective is to identify parameter samples that can be used to detect atypical operating statuses in the long-distance water supply system. This should help plant workers anticipate the effects of possible malfunctions and make it easier to plan countermeasures. In addition, suitable data networking methods are being developed to optimise or avoid flushing segments of the water supply system with fresh water, which is both costly and resource-intensive.
Another project task is the development of methods for plausibility checks of measurement data and for data cleansing. From the perspective of water suppliers, corresponding software tools are necessary to improve the quality of process data and create a reliable basis for further evaluation methods using automated actions.
In addition to instrumentation and consultation during operation, Endress+Hauser Conducta is responsible for strategic management of the project. This central role of representatives from the areas of academia, regulatory bodies and industry associations within the network ensures that the developments are aligned with customer needs and technological requirements and that new opportunity for value creation can be achieved.
Components of the “Internet of Things” include measuring systems with continuous self-monitoring, methods for automated data analysis, tools for simple display of complex process information, and mobile end devices, cloud technologies and new service concepts.
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Industry Manager: Water and Waste Water