“Cloud” is one of the current automation buzzwords. It just means that the computer is not here. It’s in an offsite location administered and backed up by specialists. There’s nothing wrong with outsourcing. I outsource driving directions to Google Maps instead of my wife now.
But Cloud is not about where the computer is; it’s about what you use it for. Enter “Big Data” – another current buzzword. Big Data is not really just about collecting the data. If it were you could enter it into write-only memory.
PROFINET does a great job of collecting the data, quality information, context, and maintenance information on the plant floor. OPC UA is called upon to take the Big Data to the Cloud.
The above is all prelude to the magic – Analytics. More than just another buzzword, this is where predictive maintenance and long term process improvements can be determined. [See my previous PROFIblog posts on analytics: Statistics or Engineering and Analytics for Everyone]
But remember, it all starts with the indispensable PROFINET.