This article from IES R&D is part of the "Bits of STREAM-0D" series of contributions from the project’s consortium partners. It illustrates how cloud based tools can be used to achieve real-time control in manufacturing for zero-defects and production process flexibility.
By now, most of us will have heard of (or are most likely already using) ‘cloud’ technologies in our day to day lives. However, to some it may still seem like a somewhat abstract concept.
So what exactly is the cloud, and how does it work in practice?
Essentially, it provides the ability for companies and individuals to outsource the management of their systems, software and data to external servers via the internet. In terms of data management this means that, rather than storing data locally on internal servers or hard-drives, a third party provider is called upon to store the data instead. Typically, providers of cloud technologies will draw on a number of remote servers located in various locations in order to provide such a service in which users are essentially ‘renting’ the storage space and services they require.
This approach takes much of the burden of data management away from the organisation or individual that owns the data, with the cloud service provider taking full responsibility in terms of infrastructure, server maintenance and updates. Other benefits include the ability to access data basically anywhere and at any time, as long as an internet connection is present. If systems are configured in a certain way, it even becomes possible to gather and utilise data in real-time, which undoubtedly offers huge advantages over traditional data storage methods across a number of industries.