The ability to speed the process of connecting plant-wide data sources from industrial equipment using the Modbus protocol is now much simpler utilising platforms such as Sierra Wireless’s AirVantage.

Futhermore, Smart Automation – an extension to this cloud platform for machine-to-machine (M2M) applications – simplifies the connection to industrial equipment and the creation of embedded business logic without programming. Combined with pre-configured AirLink intelligent gateways, Sierra Wireless provides an end-to-end solution for industrial M2M applications. This enables equipment manufacturers and service providers to rapidly create and deploy new services and offerings for their customers such as tiered monitoring and maintenance, demand response applications and time- or location-based equipment usage pricing models.

The AirVantage facilitates comprehensive subscription, device and asset management through a remote M2M application. The Smart Automation extension integrates these ­capabilities with industrial control systems and makes it easy to set up custom business logic to collect, sort, prioritise, send and store data without the need for programming. Depending on the application, it might be a remote maintenance issue, monitoring of key parameters eg how much flow and when, or alerting of key personnel to the status of a process or a problem. Existing backend systems can be integrated or new M2M applications can be implemented using standard web services APIs. Smart Automation finds application in a wide variety of market segments from oil and gas to municipal water treatment. For example, it simplifies the monitoring of turbidity and water pressure in a dynamic environment with the ability to change monitoring and control parameters as needed and to proactively take corrective action when thresholds are met before a situation becomes critical. Providers of oil and gas extraction and distribution systems, for example, can reduce operations costs by using the remote access capabilities in Smart Automation to service equipment at even small or very remote sites.

The Sierra Wireless AirVantage platform enables M2M solution providers, system integrators and network operators to rapidly develop, deploy and operate M2M applications and services. The platform includes comprehensive applications to manage cellular subscriptions, communications devices and their attached assets such as components in machines; a powerful set of M2M application development tools; and an open web services application programming interface (API). Furthermore, it allows wireless network operators to extend operational self-support, application development and management capabilities to their M2M service providers.