Jumping into the Internet of Things (IoT) isn't all that easy. Beyond simply connecting certain devices with sensors and bringing them online, there's the task of managing and monitoring those devices.
For VMware customers, one of the de facto solutions to handle these tasks is VMware Pulse IoT Center. At the 2018 VMworld conference in Las Vegas, VMware employees and customers hosted a panel discussion on how firms are leveraging the Pulse IoT Center to drive real business value.
Moderated by Mimi Spier, the vice president of VMware's IoT business, the panel examined the concept of moving from data centers to centers of data as the value proposition for edge computing.
SEE: Hiring kit: IoT developer (Tech Pro Research)
Here's how three different customers, in three different industries, are using VMware Pulse IoT Center to manage their IoT deployments.
Asher Lohman, the senior technical director at CSX, explained that the transportation firm has been doing some form of IoT for a long time. However, as the technology progressed, Lohman said that the company needed a way to take in data from a variety of sensors and gateways, so they could leverage it more efficiently across the stack.
CSX has 21,000 miles of track and hundreds of facilities. There's about 7+TB of data per train, but the facilities themselves have air compressors and other machinery that needs to be inspected and updated. Lohman said that the process used to be very manual, but they've used Pulse IoT Center to monitor those machines, push out custom agents to the relevant gateways, and push updates over the air.
As a learning takeaway, Lohman said that it's all about the data. Companies need to think through what data they'll choose to ingest and how they want to take it in. Lohman said that CSX used the SDK to handle part of their input and it has made a huge difference.
2. GE Global Research
GE Global Research services all the different GE businesses—from airline engines to healthcare. Brent Brunell, the director for edge controls and additive manufacturing at GE Global Research, said that the firm deals with IoT data points coming in from every sector, and it needed a way to better leverage that data.
One of the tools they built was the Trip Optimizer, which optimizes for fuel flow. Brunell said that the tool has led to 8-10% fuel savings when implemented.
The company also deals with data around steam and gas turbines and, by better understanding data around those turbines, the company was able to generate $1-2 million in extra profits and keep maintenance costs the same, Brunell said.
VMware itself is also a customer of the Pulse IoT Center. Rick Cuevas, senior manager for REW at VMware, explained that its core use case with Pulse is for energy efficiency.
The firm started metering and segregating energy loads a couple years ago, and then they began auditing whole buildings to take a look at their energy data, Cuevas said. This data comes from occupancy sensors, connected light panels, and more.
According to Cuevas, Pulse brings all that data onto one platform so VMware can better understand how certain behaviors influence others by breaking down data silos. It also allows them to maximize energy efficiency and save money in the process.
In the future, Cuevas said, VMware plans to use Pulse and sensors to better connect, monitor, and manage their data centers. The company is also planning on building a smart grid for their Palo Alto campus that might be able to power the entire campus in an intelligent fashion.
- Sensor'd enterprise: IoT, ML, and big data (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)
- VMware aims to manage Internet of Things infrastructure (ZDNet)
- Internet of Things (IoT): Cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- VMware kicks off international expansion of VMware Cloud on AWS (ZDNet)
- What is the future of IoT? (TechRepublic)
Conner Forrest has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.