SAIMC


SAIMC: Johannesburg branch

July 2021 SAIMC News

First hybrid meeting

Following lockdowns, shutdowns and the second wave, the Johannesburg branch rolled out a combined/online meeting for May, hosted by Adroit Technologies.

Dave Wibberley spoke on the use of data and what it takes for data to become useful information. He pointed out that data by itself is of very little value and that it needs to be transformed into information, which increases its value by a factor of 10. Even then, it is not of much use until it becomes knowledge, which yields another 10-fold gain.

Transforming this into understanding results in another 10-fold gain, with the ultimate result, hopefully, being wisdom. This (theoretically) according to Russel Ackov, results in a 10 000 times increase in the value of raw data, depending on how effectively each stage is used.

This ties in with Moore’s Law: suggesting that the transistor density on a chip can double every 18 months – seems to be flagging a bit lately; Metcalfe’s Law: that the effectiveness of a data network increases with the square of the number of connected users; and Koomey’s Law: that computation per kW/h is decreasing by a factor of 1,5 per year. (All assuming that the raw data is used effectively on its way to becoming wisdom.)

So where does this data come from? It may come via SigFox, for instance, which is a cost-effective data network with a large coverage in South Africa and most of the developed world. Data updates every half-hour or so.

Where more frequent data updates are required, as well as some control, there are solutions such as LoRa, NBIOT and Adroit Connect, which can also achieve limited control. MQTT and Adroit M2M can achieve both at higher rates. Nothing like factory speeds, but many applications don’t need this. For instance, a farmer may need to know the level of a reservoir and start a pump, via a drive, if this needs filling. Not time-critical, but capable of saving hours of driving. Adroit Connect allows this type of communication and also control.

Via the Adroit Cloud Portal, this type of control can be done via a smartphone, (which Dave demonstrated) with any device using Modbus. Obviously, higher level devices such as scada can also be used, but even with lower-level devices it is completely practical.

A lively Q&A; session followed and our thanks to Adroit for hosting and sponsoring the evening as well as being guineapigs for our first hybrid meeting, attended by about 20 people live and 47 online. Match that, other branches!


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