Get Your Head in the Cloud

Cloud computing has continued to grow as a method to help individuals and companies simplify and secure their software management processes.

Columns From: 10/10/2011 Production Machining, ,

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Chris Felix

Cloud computing has continued to grow as a method to help individuals and companies simplify and secure their software management processes. It allows applications and data to be stored on a central server by a supplier (some of the best known are Amazon, Google and Microsoft) while clients access the information and run the applications over the Internet using a browser interface.

Some well known advantages of cloud computing include increased storage, automated software maintenance, reduced cost and better mobility for the end user. It’s this last point that IGear Online exploits most with its Pulse technology, which can deliver critical machine data in a secure and reliable fashion, anytime and anywhere.

This online content solution is designed for machine builder OEMs that want to better understand machine performance, utilization, and service needs. It enables each machine in the field to automatically push data to IGear servers, where it is stored and analyzed by both the OEM and end customer. Because the information is securely stored in the cloud, any authenticated web device can access it via the Internet at any time.

While this service is marketed toward machine tool OEMs, advantages easily carry over to their customers as well. With improved machine monitoring, OEMs will be better able to predict when machines will fail and notify the customer ahead of time. If a machine does go down, it facilitates communication between the OEM and the customer to quickly get the machine back into service. And this improved communication typically results in reduced service costs.

Benefits such as these are typical of cloud solutions that offer “online content,” meaning that the application actually stores data in the cloud for ad hoc queries and analysis. It is always receiving data and storing it permanently, enabling predictive capabilities through a proactive approach. This method is very different from some other remote diagnostics products that use network connections to the machine.

To read more about the potential effects of cloud computing on everyone from small shops to large manufacturing plants, read “Cloud Computing in Manufacturing.”

 

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