Cisco Live 2019: Emerson Automation steps up access points to improve connectivity

Bob Karschnia of Emerson Automation Systems explains how Wi-Fi connectivity is improved for workers in the field with upgraded access points.

Cisco Live 2019: Emerson Automation steps up access points to improve connectivity

At  Cisco Live 2019, TechRepublic's Teena Maddox spoke with VP/GM of wireless at Emerson Automation Systems, Bob Karschnia, about the partnership between Emerson and Cisco and how they plan to improve Wi-Fi connectivity for industrial workers. The following is an edited transcript of the video.

Teena Maddox: Tell me about your news this week at Cisco Live.

Bob Karschnia: We launched a product as a partnership between Emerson and Cisco. We've combined Cisco's world-class industrial access points, called the IW6300, with Emerson's WirelessHART Gateway that allows you to actually connect sensors throughout an industrial environment into that access point, and then bring that back to all the applications that we have running in the cloud or on-premise.

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Teena Maddox: What are some of the potential applications?

Bob Karschnia: Today, there are two primary use cases that I think are easiest to think about. The first one is, because it's a Wi-Fi connectivity platform, operators in the field can actually use tablets, like a Toughbook or something like that, to get data that they can normally only access in the office space, out in the field. And what that allows them to do is get a pretty dramatic improvement in performance. Typically, in a plant environment, when somebody is doing a startup or a turnaround, they need all kinds of information, and today they often radio back to the control room to get that. By having these tools, it gives you a lot more productivity and efficiency, and we see 50% plus improvements in task performance when they actually have this tool set.

The second would be the connectivity of the sensors, which rides over that Wi-Fi backbone that is created and that data is actually used for a lot of different applications. In an oil refinery, we might see about $15 million worth of savings using various applications, from monitoring your pumps to heat exchange you're following to corrosion in pipes. So there's a wide class of applications that our customers use that for, and the idea is to be able to get predictive intelligence about these applications--to get it to the right person, at the right time, so they can take action before there's a problem in the plant. And that's how the cost savings come in.

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By Teena Maddox

Teena Maddox is Associate Managing Editor at TechRepublic. She oversees TechRepublic's news team and TechRepublic Premium. She focuses on tech and business and how the two worlds intersect. Teena's lifelong journalism career has included writing on s...