Google Cloud Platform (GCP) will release two new solutions aimed at the manufacturing sector and with the aim of simplifying engineering and data analysis activities, unifying data from different machine assets to offer business insights to factory managers.
The new GCP offerings come at a time when manufacturing companies are adopting systems to address the challenge of volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous conditions (also known as VUCA) resulting from global phenomena including the pandemic and the “Big Resignation”.
Nearly two-thirds of manufacturers globally already use cloud solutions, according to consulting firm McKinsey, and marketing intelligence firm ReportLinker reports that the global smart factory market, made up of companies using technologies such as the IoT, is expected to reach $ 214.2 billion by 2026.
But companies that are planning to digitally transform their factories or are in an emerging technology deployment phase face major challenges, says Google.
“We believe the scalability challenges revolve around two factors: the lack of access to contextualized operational data and the skill gap to use complex data science and AI tools in the factory,” wrote Charlie Sheridan, chief technology officer of the company. Google Cloud global production in a blog post.
To help with data organization and make sense of it for use in business operations, GCP announced the Manufacturing Data Engine.
The edge-to-cloud connection helps extract data
The Manufacturing Data Engine is designed to enable companies to extract data, including telemetry data and images, via a private, secure, and low-cost connection between the edge and the cloud, Sheridan said. The engine has built-in data normalization and context enrichment capabilities, providing a common data model, with a factory-optimized data lakehouse for archiving, she added.
However, most companies use various types of machine resources, often referred to as operating technology (OT), to collect data. To solve the challenge of collecting different types of data from these resources, GCP launched the Manufacturing Connect tool.
Developed in collaboration with industrial data platform provider Litmus Automation, the Manufacturing Connect tool is designed to connect to any OT resource, with a back-end library consisting of over 250 machine protocols.
“Manufacturing Connect translates machine data into a digestible data set and sends it to the Manufacturing Data Engine for processing, contextualization and archiving. By supporting containerized workloads, it enables manufacturers to perform low-latency data visualization, analysis and ML [machine learning] capacity directly to the limit, ”Sheridan said.
Production apps integrate with other Google offerings
Businesses can also use the Manufacturing Data Engine in conjunction with other GCP products to generate more insights, perform predictive maintenance, and detect machine-level anomalies.
The Manufacturing Data Engine comes with a ready-to-use integration with code-free Google Looker BI platform templates designed to allow manufacturing engineers and plant managers to quickly create and edit custom dashboards, add new machines , configurations and factories.
To perform predictive maintenance, companies can implement predefined machine learning models and refine them with the help of Google Cloud engineers.
To help manufacturing teams uncover machine-level anomalies, the company built an integration underpinning GCP’s Time Series Insights API on real-time machine and sensor data that identifies unwarranted changes and provides alerts .
Google faces rival industry-specific solutions
Google Cloud’s production solutions will compete with offerings from the AWS stables, Microsoft Azure, Oracle and IBM, which offer similar solutions bundled with more horizontal capabilities, said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
Google began the trend of launching industry-centric solutions in 2019 when Thomans Kurian was at the helm, Mueller said, adding that these kinds of industry solutions help CIOs unlock the true potential of their cloud investment, helping to ensure faster times. market strategy.
Some of Google Cloud’s partners for production solutions include Intel, Splunk, Quantiphi, Cognizant, Litmus Automation, Sotec, GFT, and Softserve.
The company has not provided any indication of the general availability of these solutions, but is expected to unveil them later this month.