George Dickinson of IHS wrote in a column in Automation World that there’s a problem with the focus on sensors in industrial automation. More sensors, new sensors, and sensors everywhere seem to open new vistas of possibility for servos and the machinery they control.
But Dickinson points out that the sensors are really just gathering data.
What to do with the data is the big question. Dickinson suggests that until the machinery is capable of making decisions based on data without human intervention, the sensors aren’t really advancing industrial automation.
But the same could be said for human use of Big Data. Huge amounts of data are collected, and precious little use is made of most of it. Most of the human decision makers don’t know how to make effective decisions based on the data, at least in the form it’s available in.
Does that make it a bad idea to collect the data? Not at all. When the people are ready to use the data, it will be there.
The sensors, too, are collecting data that will be useful in the future. But Rexroth is working to make sure that the future will be ready. The Bosch Rexroth Foundation has provided $50,000 so far this year to area schools. One grant of $7,250 to a high school will help support the RAMS (Real Achievement in Math and Science) program. The program focuses on helping students understand the practical use of data.
Teachers observe that students don’t automatically connect math with science. They don’t see the math behind the science, or the way quantified information is used in science and technology. This lack of connection contributes to the problem of students who leave high school unprepared to study technical subjects — often just because they don’t have the background in math or the skills in data analysis.
Companies like Rexroth need to invest in younger students now in order to have college graduates prepared to work with them in the future.