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How to turn legacy equipment into cloud-connected IoT devices

IoT connectivity firm Grid Connect launches Smart Power Cord for AWS

Investments in connectivity, cloud-based data processing, and the internet of things (IoT), is a key part of many industrial firms’ digital transformation strategies. While 5G is seen as major driver of IoT implementations, there’s still a long tail on massive adoption due in part to the fact that many large, industrial companies have a good number of older—but still useful–assets that weren’t built to be connected to the internet.

U.S.-based Grid Connect, which specializes in embedded computing and networking products, is looking to help industrial equipment makers and users turn older equipment into IoT devices capable of pushing operational data into Amazon Web Service’s cloud computing infrastructure. With its Smart Power Cord for AWS, Grid Connect enables 100-volt or 240-volt devices to access the AWS IoT Core platform. The company identified use cases, including real-time operational data tracking, predictive and scheduled maintenance, and capture of data points related to how operators are using particular machines.

In a statement, Grid Connect Solutions Architect Gary Marrs said the new offering has a built-in “rules engine, so a machine operator can define, for instance, when to shut off the machine to protect it from burning up. If a manager knows a machine’s steady state is 10 amps, the breaker is 20 amps, and the machine begins burning at 15, they set our cord to shut down the machine at 14 amps.”

IoT to drive product safety

The Smart Power Cord for AWS looks like how it’s described–an extension cord. The other route to turning a legacy equipment into a smart, IoT-connected device would involve working with a system integrator or buying commodity hardware and writing the relevant software code, according to Marrs. “Instead, by plugging any product or edge device into our Smart Power Cord for AWS, a machine builder or user immediately gets the data to monitor their machine and provide user-defined alerts to improve product safety.”

AWS IoT Core manages the process of connecting IoT devices to AWS’s cloud computing infrastructure. The AWS IoT Core Message Broker transmit data to and from devices and applications; the service also allows users to mirror device states and connect to LoRaWAN networks.

For more on how the IoT, private networks and other technology are shaping the energy sector, click here. 

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