The IIoT and Manufacturing

February 22, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is revolutionizing many industries, including manufacturing. With the introduction of the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and all of its benefits, manufacturing is being transformed by value-add opportunities and smart technology. In fact, manufacturing, transportation and utility industries are forecast to make the largest IIoT investments. However, there is a lot of work that goes into IIoT implementation. Here, we’ll take an in-depth look at how the IIoT is changing manufacturing.

 

Traditionally, manufacturing companies focused on large operations that required a large capital layout with the goal of consistency and repeatability. Organizations adopting IIoT technology must not only dedicate capital to technological improvements, but also change the way they do business. Return on investment is driven by connected operations, smart preventative maintenance and predictive analytics. As IIoT implementation accelerates the speed of business, companies must increase the speed of their internal processes to keep up the pace. Introduction of the IIoT has also shifted customer expectations. Customers expect companies to be nimble and adaptive, and so the manufacturing processes must evolve to meet those expectations.

 

With all of the changes that come along with the IIoT, completing a successful rollout is a challenging task. Security is an issue to consider, if your systems are breached, production can come to a halt. Another challenge is the slow adoption of standards and interoperability. It can be expensive to upgrade your equipment. Also, many manufacturers prefer to use their own proprietary technologies, which may not meet IoT standards. Correctly interpreting the analytics to create the best outcome is a challenge, it takes time to understand how to best integrate the IIoT as a part of the manufacturing process and into your specific business model. Resistance to change also can slow the adoption of the IIoT and its overall success in the industry. For smaller operations, implementing the IIoT and everything that goes along with it, may seem like an insurmountable task. Thus, many of the companies leading the way are large, complex, industrial operations that can absorb large projects, such as an IIoT rollout. 

 

The IIoT offers an array of benefits to the manufacturing industry, but integration of this revolutionary technology is a process that doesn’t happen overnight.

 

Industry Overview: Enterprise Networks

February 15, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

In this week’s post we will take a look at the main areas or segments of an Enterprise communications network.

 

Data Centers/Main Distribution Frame (MDF)

 

Data centers (sometimes referred to as main distribution frames) are a crucial part of many businesses and institutions. The MDF is where the connection from the Telco or carrier typically enters the building. Many times the MDF is located in the basement or first floor of a building. The MDF usually houses server racks, patch panels, Ethernet routers and switches and uninterruptable power supplies (UPS). In a multi-floor building, the MDF is usually attached to the floor(s) above it via fiber optic cabling supporting many Gigabits of throughput per second to offer voice, video and data services to hundreds of users in the building.

 

Here is an example of a typical data center configuration:

 


Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF)

 

An Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF) is the area where the MDF connects to on each floor of a building. Depending on the size of the building and number of users, the IDF can be thought of a small MDF used to serve users on the floor it is located on.

 

The IDF is typically made up of an equipment rack(s), fiber and copper cabling, patch panels, Ethernet switches and UPS systems

 

Here is an example:

 

L-com stocks a wide range of components and solutions to keep your enterprise network connected. To read and download our Enterprise Network Overview PDF click here.

 

The Downside of Big Data

February 8, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

Big Data is all the rage right now and is the driving force behind a lot of new technologies breaking barriers today, including data science, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT). Even though big data may help us to achieve medical breakthroughs, explore far away galaxies, plan and prepare for natural disasters and even feed the hungry, there are still some downfalls. Along with the insights and opportunities that come with all this data being collected, there are some significant issues that need to be recognized.

 

The first issue is privacy. The big data being collected contains a good deal of personal, private information about our lives and we are entitled to keep that information private. With so many apps and services being offered that use big data, it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine who should be able to access to our data and how much we should divulge. Finding a balance between accessing the benefits of big data while still maintaining some type of anonymity is an issue worth discussing.

 

Secondly, data security concerns are growing as fast as the big data industry. The high-profile data breaches last year brought to light how important it is to secure our data. Can we truly trust anyone to keep our data safe? If a trusted source is breached, sensitive information ending up in the wrong hands can deeply impact our lives for years to come. Plus, is the legal system equipped to regulate data use at this large scale and if our data is compromised, can appropriate legal action be taken?

 

 

One more area of concern is data discrimination. With all this data available, how will it be used, and will people be discriminated against based on the data collected? For example, credit scores are used to determine who can get a loan and we’ve seen that those can be compromised, which can have devastating effects on people’s lives. The insurance industry also relies heavily on data to determine coverage and rates, meaning people could be charged more or denied coverage based on these reports. Increased detail in the data collected will also increase scrutiny from companies. Steps might need to be taken to ensure that resources or opportunities aren’t taken away from those who have fewer options and less access to information.

 

Overall, big data is making a lot of big advances in the technology industry. Care might need to be taken that this data is used in the proper way, that private matters are kept private, that people’s data is secure and that regulations are in place.

 

Hot off the Presses - L-com’s 2018 Master Catalog

January 25, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

The big reveal is here and we’re ready to share our 2018 Wired & Wireless Product Guide full of thousands of products including many new and best-selling items. Long regarded as a valuable resource for technicians, engineers and educators, L-com’s master catalog is packed with tips, tutorials, full-color product images and more, making it an excellent reference guide and educational tool.

 

Here are some of the new products featured this year:

·       M12 Ethernet Cabling for Harsh Environments

·       Continuous Flex Industrial Cables

·       HDMI High Flex Cables

·       Outdoor-Rated Ethernet Assemblies

·       Premium Panel Mounted Mini Coupler Kits

·       IP68-Rated Ruggedized LC Plugs and Receptacles

·       USB 3.1 Adapters

·       Category-Rated IP67 Bulkhead Shielded Panel Mount Couplers with Dust Cap

·       Heated 14x12x6 Enclosures

 

Getting a copy of our Wired & Wireless Product Guide is easy, simply fill out our online product guide request form and we will mail it to you straight away. You can also view this year’s catalog as a flip book or download pages from the product guide as PDFs.

 

411 on HDMI 2.1

January 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM

 

HDMI is one of the most widely recognized technologies used in video display applications today. It is used on newer HDTVs, Blu-ray players, Apple TVs, computers and many other video display devices. Able to stream both video and audio at the same time, the simple plug and play interface is easy to use, offers high definition video, crystal clear auido, and now HDMI is about to get even better!

 

HDMI recently released its newest specification, HDMI 2.1, and it is slated to take video to the next level.

 

Here is the 411 on HDMI 2.1:

 

·       Supports a range of higher video resolutions and faster refresh rates, including 8K 60Hz and 4K 120Hz for a captivating viewing expereince and smooth fast-action detail

 

·       Dynamic HDR displays every monent of a video at its ideal level of depth, detail, brightness, contrast and wider color gamuts, even when being viewed frame-by frame

 

·       48G cable for increased bandwidth up to 48Gbps for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 to support features including HDR and 8K video

 

·       Backward compatible with earlier HDMI versions

 

·       eARC provides support for advanced audio formats such as object-based audio. It also allows for advanced audio signal control abilities including device auto-detect.

 

·       Game Mode VRR includes variable refresh rate, which permits a 3D graphics processor to display the image at the same time it is rendered. This provides gameplay with better detail and more fluidity, it also reduces or eliminates lag, stutter and frame tearing.

 

As with all HDMI desginated products, thorough testing must be done to garner the HDMI 2.1 seal of approval. In regards to earlier HDMI specifications, HDMI 2.1 will superceded 2.0b and will continue to refernce and rely upon the 1.4b specification. HDMI 2.0 adopters will automatically have access to the HDMI 2.1 specification, HDMI 1.4b adopters will not have access. HDMI 1.4b products will continue to be tested to the 1.4b requirements. HDMI 2.1 compliance test specifications were published last year. The timeline for beginning compliance testing for HDMI 2.1 will be decided by each individual authorized testing center. 

 

To read more about the HDMI standards, check out this blog post.

 

© L-com, Inc. All Rights Reserved. L-com, Inc., 50 High Street, West Mill, Third Floor, Suite 30, MA 01845