Here’s a broad look at a few recent items of interest related to the industrial Internet — the world of smart, connected, big machines.
Smarter Robots, With No Wage Demands (Bloomberg Businessweek) — By building more intelligence into robots, Rethink Robotics figures it can get them into jobs where work has historically been too irregular or too small-scale for automation. That could mean more manufacturing stays in American factories, though perhaps with fewer workers.
The Great Railway Caper (O’Reilly Strata EU) — Today’s railroads rely heavily on the industrial Internet to optimize locomotive operations and maintain their very valuable physical plant. Some of them were pioneers in big networked machines. Part of Sprint originated as the Southern Pacific Railroad Network of Intelligent Telecommunications, which used the SP’s rights-of-way to transmit microwave and fiber optic signals. But in the 1950s, computing in railways was primitive (as it was just about everywhere else, too). John Graham-Cumming relayed this engaging story of network optimization in 1955 at our Strata Conference in London two weeks ago.
The Quiet Comfort of the Internet of Things (O’Reilly Strata EU) — Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino presents a quirky counterpoint to the Internet of big things; what you might call the Internet of very small things. She leads Designswarm and founded Good Night Lamp, which produces a family of Internet-connected lamps that let friends and family communicate domestic milestones, like bedtime. Her Strata keynote explains a bit of her work and approach.
Solar panel control systems vulnerable to hacks, feds warn (Ars Technica) — A good reminder that the industrial Internet can be vulnerable to the same sorts of attacks as the rest of the Internet if it’s not built out properly — in this case, run-of-the-mill SQL injection.
The industrial Internet series is produced as part of a collaboration between O’Reilly and GE.