Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD
Fall is upon us, and while I’m not particularly enthused about the onslaught of pumpkin spice lattes (and every imaginable pumpkin permutation), I’m thrilled about trade show season.
As you read this, we’re about a month away from electronica, the biggest and most important industry event, and my European colleague, Ally Winning, should be on-site.
While I’ve never had the pleasure, electronica is legendary for its smorgasbord of new technologies and picturesque Munich location. I hope to make the pilgrimage someday, myself, but meanwhile, stay tuned for PSD’s coverage of Europe’s premier trade show.
And speaking of novel technologies, if anything acts like an all-encompassing unifying force for almost our entire coverage area, it’s the Internet of Things.
Oracle describes the IoT as “the network of physical objects—‘things’—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.”
This month’s contributors have their own notions of the IoT, like “IT/OT Convergence, Industry 4.0, and the IIoT” by Gary Guess over at Allied Electronics & Automation (part of RS Group).
The piece starts out with a succinct explanation of the differences between Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) and how those disparities slowly disappearing is paving the way for the increased interconnectivity essential to Industry 4.0 and IIoT applications.
“IT/OT convergence is becoming increasingly mainstream thanks to the evolution of powerful networking technologies, storage systems, and computing capabilities as well as the proliferation of IoT, IIoT, AI, and machine learning technologies,” explains Guess.
Purchasing, building, and maintaining IIoT infrastructure is an important prerequisite for IT/OT convergence.
The other piece I’d like to highlight, “Making Garbage Management Operations Smarter,” by Tsuyoshi Yamashita from Murata and Johannes Ollech from Sentinum, touches on a very different — but essential — aspect of the Internet of Things, municipal operations.
Most of us have likely experienced the occasional…inefficiency of local waste management, and especially where I live, this was massively compounded by the employment fallout from COVID-19.
And amongst the everyday processes that could benefit from a fully realized local, national, and global IoT, waste management stands near the top.
It’s a huge logistical challenge — each EU citizen generates about 505kg of garbage each year (in the U.S., it’s about 2,072 pounds per person annually). All told, dealing with all that waste constitutes an enormous task, which the IoT can assist with.
While traditional waste collection has been largely passive, IoT technologies could allow it to be a lot more responsive, and if the collections were more data-driven, they could be bespoke and tailored a lot better to individual localities.
Amongst other things, that would boost efficiency, reducing costs and carbon emissions.
“The use of IoT technology now offers the possibility that data can be acquired which will make the waste collection strategies of municipalities and private waste service providers more responsive and increase their effectiveness,” says the authors.
If you’re lucky enough to make the trip to Munich next month, have a great electronica!
North American Editor, PSD