We use this phrase a lot at Sabisu:
Context is king
It applies to all areas of the operation, not least platform UX, but here we’re going to talk about why its’s so important to usefully processing big datasets; to use the word du jour, ‘datalakes’.
We shunned the traditional BI datawarehouse approach many years ago, so it’s great to see datalakes gaining an appreciative following. Yet making sense of all that data is a real challenge. It’s the challenge for industrial data (cf. IIoT).
The sectors we work in (oil & gas, petrochemicals, manufacturing) are heavily instrumented. There’s a vast quantity of structured process data along with the usual, vast quantity of unstructured enterprise data. The nature of the structured data gives us an advantage; the data structure and the data itself contain valuable contextual information. Examples might be that historian tags are configured with plenty of useful metadata such as physical units, or key DCS flags are exposed in the historian for reporting. This is valuable data.
It’s not just process data but descriptive, guide or technical metadata because of the context it provides. This context can even be applied to historical data, after collection or aggregation. This is great ammunition for our algorithms.
This metadata can tell us everything from what was going on in the control room during a significant incident to the precise configuration of the plant. It describes the contemporaneous situation and when a particular set of circumstances arises in a plant or project, it allows us to point to the likely next set of outcomes taking into account multiple variables.
Context really is king. Without it we can’t build out intelligent, predictive, pro-active systems because we don’t know what good is.
We hope that’s an interesting introduction – there’ll be much more on this topic over the coming weeks. As always if you have any questions or suggestions, head over to our LinkedIn group and share your thoughts.