IFS IoT Business Connector

Land of Swedish delights including Abba, Volvo and Surströmming… IFS has plenty to talk about this year at its World Conference 2017 event…

Companies need to connect their Internet of Things (IoT) things to their business applications in order to perform the right kind of analytics. They also need to bring that data analytics forward into a usable dashboard (for data vizualisation) that allows the firm to use that information to execute the right levels of service management, predictive maintenance and other appropriate actions so that the business can make more money.

This is the rationale behind IFS IoT Business Connector, a new product from IFS (Industrial and Financial Systems) — IFS is known for its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Enterprise Service Management (ESM) software.

From ideas to initiatives

IFS claims that this software shortens the time from ‘ideas to tangible benefits’ for customers’ IoT initiatives by providing an end-to-end architecture.

IFS IoT Business Connector has been designed to de-risk and accelerate IoT initiatives in areas such as:

  • predictive maintenance,
  • service management,
  • asset management and manufacturing.

The software itself is offered with ‘reference architecture’ presets so that it can be used in what the firm asserts is a comparatively plug-and-play means of deployment and execution.

It gathers data gathered from products, assets and equipment to identify actionable observations that trigger user-defined, automated or semi-automated workflows in the IFS enterprise software. IFS IoT Business Connector also provides plug-and-play connectivity with the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite for device communications and data analytics, alongside open APIs to connect other IoT platforms or specialized IoT discovery applications.

Drills, pests & metal mining

The IFS IoT Business Connector is currently being implemented at early adopter customers Songa Offshore, an international midwater drilling contractor, ATS, a leading provider of factory maintenance and IT services based in the U.S., Anticimex, an international pest control company, and Hecla Mining, the North American precious metals mining company.

“We decided to join the early adopter program because we understood the enormous impact that IoT technology can have on our business,” ATS Automation Director of IT Christopher Lebeau said. “By connecting our field service value chain we are able to automate our processes in a new way and use the insights to make smarter business decisions.”

Gothia Towers Hotel complex Göteborg (Gothenburg) Sweden: IFS is on home turf for its 2017 convention
Gothia Towers Hotel complex Göteborg (Gothenburg) Sweden: IFS is on home turf for its 2017 convention

Anticimex CEO Jarl Dahlfors said, “The IFS IoT Business Connector allows us to take control of the data generated by our range of digital pest control devices, improving both the service to our customers as well as providing them with the information they need.”

IFS CTO Dan Matthews added, “By working with our customers and partners we are able to connect the dots so that investments in IoT not only yield piles of data and pretty charts, but result in real actions that are co-planned and executed in an optimal way together with everything else that is going on in a business. For our customers it means an easier way to get started with IoT, lower risks, and faster time to realized value.”

Key components

The key components of IFS IoT Business Connector are:

  • IFS IoT Controller, determining what actions to take when IoT data analysis reveals observations relevant to the business. It also handles a range of practical issues that occur when mapping operational technology (OT) into IT and business applications.
  • IFS IoT Gateway, enabling secure communications between the cloud-based discovery and analytics of IoT data, to the on-premise or cloud-based IFS products.
  • IFS IoT Discovery Manager, providing additional management and monitoring capabilities when using the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite as the discovery platform.

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I am a technology journalist with over two decades of press experience. Primarily I work as a news analysis writer dedicated to a software application development ‘beat’; but, in a fluid media world, I am also an analyst, technology evangelist and content consultant. As the previously narrow discipline of programming now extends across a wider transept of the enterprise IT landscape, my own editorial purview has also broadened. I have spent much of the last ten years also focusing on open source, data analytics and intelligence, cloud computing, mobile devices and data management. I have an extensive background in communications starting in print media, newspapers and also television. If anything, this gives me enough man-hours of cynical world-weary experience to separate the spin from the substance, even when the products are shiny and new.