What's Involved in IT/OT Convergence?

IT/OT Convergence is the process of merging Information Technology (IT) and Operational Technology (OT) within an organization to create a seamless and integrated environment. It uses real-time data, automation, and analytics to reach efficiency and decision-making across different verticals like including manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, and more.  

How IT/OT Convergence Works 

IT/OT Convergence involves integrating the tools, systems, and data used for collecting and managing information (IT) with the tools and technologies used to control and optimize physical processes and assets (OT).  

IT Tools: 

  • Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): SAP S/4HANA - An ERP software suite that integrates various business functions like finance, sales, inventory, and human resources. 

  • Human Machine Interface (HMI) software: Ignition HMI/SCADA - Provides a visual interface for operators to interact with machinery and processes. 

  • Asset management software: IBM Maximo - Helps organizations track and manage physical assets. 

OT Tools: 

  • Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA): Wonderware SCADA - Monitors and controls industrial processes in real-time. 

IT Systems: 

  • Transportation Management Systems (TMS): Oracle Transportation Management - Streamlines transportation logistics and operations. 

  • Energy Management Systems (EMS): Schneider Electric EcoStruxure - Helps organizations optimize energy consumption and reduce costs. 

OT Systems: 

  • Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES): Siemens Opcenter Execution - Enables manufacturers to optimize production processes and improve efficiency. 

  • Building Management Systems (BMS): Johnson Controls Metasys - Controls and monitors building systems like HVAC, lighting, and security. 

Data: 

  • Sensor data: Temperature, humidity, motion, pressure readings from IoT sensors. 

  • Operational data: Production output, machine uptime, downtime, process variables. 

  • Maintenance data: Maintenance logs, equipment health status, maintenance schedules. 

  • Customer data: Customer profiles, purchase history, preferences, feedback.  

IoT and IT/OT Convergence 

IT/OT convergence is closely related to the Internet of Things (IoT) as it involves integrating IT tools and systems with OT tools to manage and control IoT devices and processes. Below are a few samples of IT/OT Convergence use cases in IoT: 

  • Smart Manufacturing. In a smart manufacturing facility, IT/OT convergence allows the integration of production data from IoT sensors with manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.  

  • Smart Buildings. IT/OT convergence in smart buildings integrates building management systems (BMS) with IoT devices to monitor and control HVAC, lighting, security, and energy usage. 

  • Connected Transportation. In the transportation industry, IT/OT convergence enables the integration of transportation management systems (TMS) with IoT-enabled vehicles and logistics platforms.  

  • Healthcare and Telemedicine. In the healthcare sector, IT/OT convergence enables the integration of medical devices and patient data with electronic health record (EHR) systems and telemedicine platforms.  

  • Precision Agriculture. In precision agriculture, IT/OT convergence integrates IoT sensors, such as soil moisture monitors and weather stations, with agriculture management systems.