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Representing and Interacting with Real World Objects in a Registry

Originally published on LinkedIn:

IoT Real World Objects in Registries

While a registry can provide the capabilities of a Digital Asset Management system or catalogue of datasets and web services, it is equally at home representing information about and interacting with real world objects such as equipment in a hospital, or the pumps, motors, and valves in an oil field.

With the advent of low cost intelligent sensors, it is quite reasonable to consider information such as health status about real world objects being reported to a registry in real time. What information is captured, and how the registry is set up, will depend on the purpose for which the registry is being created and the application or applications it is to support.

As an example, let’s look at how we might set up a registry for monitoring components in a pipeline. We start by creating an object type for each type of “thing” for which we have distinct properties. Initially, let’s decide that we will have object types for Pumps, Pipe Segments, Motors, and Valves. How many types of things we want to create object types for will depend on how fine grained our application needs the descriptions of these objects to be. In some cases, a pump and a motor need not be distinguished, but there may be other cases where such a distinction will be essential.

With some object types defined in the registry, we might want to create a set of life cycle states for any object type that we need to track the condition of. For example, a pump might be {operational, faulty, under repair, repaired, or tested}. A sensor can easily send a message to the registry to indicate what state the pump is in, or this information can be entered by a human user. Now that we have defined the states that a pump can be in, we might also want to configure the registry with some state transitions that control which states a pump is allowed to move between. For example, a pump might not be allowed to transition from “repaired” directly to “operational” because that would mean that it has not been through the state of “tested”. The registry will only respect the allowed transitions (from repaired to tested, and then from tested to operational) and will generate an error for any transition that is out of sequence.

Over the operational life of a pump, its life cycle state may change many times. Operational properties, such as pump bearing temperature and shaft vibration, may be defined as part of the object type definition as discussed above, and intelligent sensors could be used to transmit the values of these properties to the registry. New properties can be easily added in the future as the understanding of the component and its contribution to business productivity evolves.

In many cases, a given type of physical object, such as a pump, may be classified according to one or more taxonomies that provide information with respect to its role, physical construction, operating principles, etc. This information is easily captured by creating suitable taxonomies or classification schemes, and the operational values for this information can be captured from a human user or from a sensor or from an external software program.

Using the application-level audit trail information recorded by the registry, we can reconstruct the history of the behaviour of any component. This includes the component’s identifier, what states it has been in, the timeline of changes in its properties, its classifications, and its associations.

The registry can be configured to automatically generate an alert based on an event such as a component being changed to a specific state. These alerts can be used to notify a person or an external software program or web service about the event.

Registries can provide a fast, low cost means of monitoring a large number of physical components and devices. They can perform multiple functions within the overall infrastructure for managing real world systems.

Learn more about the INdicio Registry™ through the product information page on the Galdos Systems website, or contact our Sales department at salesatgaldosincdotcom  (salesatgaldosincdotcom)  .