The concept of breathing new life into an otherwise inanimate object may have its provenance in Germany, but the “brain transplant” is no Frankenstein’s monster.” Today, it has important applications to bring traditional industrial machines into the modern era of the Internet of Things (IoT). One such example was on display last week at Hannover Messe, where Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and Daenet, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, showcased its “Smart Automation” framework.
The framework, which will be available to the public soon, is a great example of how refitting decades-old machines can give businesses access to powerful IoT capabilities such as predictive maintenance without major capital investments. It provides the foundation for a demonstration at Hannover Messe that connected a robotic sorter to a metal stamper via the Microsoft Azure cloud, which can be operated remotely by anyone wearing a Microsoft Band. In an instant, connectivity is established between machines and the people who run, monitor and repair them. Let the data collection and analysis begin!
The demo was specifically aimed at German companies with fewer than 500 employees, but the potential is global for businesses to expand their operations, offer new services and seize new opportunities. The framework uses low-cost, off-the-shelf products to prove that even small and midsize businesses can modernize their equipment at minimal cost for great potential gain. Specifically, by attaching Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3 miniature computers (the “brains”), adding software and connecting to the cloud via the Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, the Smart Automation framework shows that fully functional but offline equipment can be transformed into connected, smart machines.
Future innovations on this type of system including fascinating capabilities such as controlling a drone with a Microsoft Band via the Azure cloud from anywhere in the world.