Oracle Beefs Up IoT Cloud Portfolio With Built-in AI, Virtual Reality

Oracle said its latest moves will help companies gain more insights and value from all the data they are collecting from internet of things devices.

Oracle IoT Cloud Demo

REDWOOD SHORES, Calif. —IoT devices collect a lot of data, but companies that deploy them aren’t seeing enough return on their investment in devices and archived data.

That was a central theme of a media briefing this week at Oracle headquarters that detailed new features designed to help business get more value from all the sensors and IoT devices they have deployed.

“IoT is at the top of the hype cycle,” said Bhagat Nainani, Oracle’s group vice president of IoT. “Billions of devices are going to be connected, but a very small amount of the data they collect is being used today.”

Oracle latest cloud services are meant to address this deficiency. The Oracle IoT Cloud now includes built-in artificial intelligence and machine learning features designed to give customers broader visibility into IoT operations, for example on factory floors, to gain predictive insights such as when parts or equipment in the field are likely to break down.

The system’s built-in operational analytics help detect anomalies, predict equipment failures, and recommend the best course of action. Oracle also announced several industry applications such as Digital Field Service with intelligent remote monitoring, failure prediction, over-the-air repair and dynamic technician dispatch. This system also makes use of augmented reality to help guide technicians with equipment repair.

Another system, Digital Fleet Management, offers real-time shipment tracking, risk management, and logistics synchronization.

While Oracle is best known for its namesake database and other services designed for IT, the company stressed that its IoT efforts are designed for line of business and other managers. “We are going to help with easy to use apps and automated workflows that don’t require data scientists to get insights into the business,” said Nainani.

Oracle’s IoT cloud is a Software-as-a-Service platform that integrates with a company’s other business systems. Earlier this year, Oracle announced four IoT applications: IoT Asset Monitoring Cloud, IoT Connected Worker Cloud, IoT Fleet Monitoring Cloud and IoT Production Monitoring Cloud. Connected Worker, which just started shipping, tracks employees in the field for safety and adherence to compliance initiatives. 

For repairs in the field, Oracle’s Digital Twin feature lets companies create virtual copies of assets that can be tested for potential failure when, for example, a part overheats due to overuse, extreme environmental conditions or a design flaw. In a demonstration, Oracle showed how one company uses a Digital Twin of a pump to train and assist repair personnel in the field.

“The Digital Twin allows you to create a virtual copy of your assets and provides a multi-faceted view of the current state of the asset in a business context for things like inspection and quality reports,” said Nainani. “You can interact and run what-if scenarios without using the physical device, reducing capital expenditure.”

In another demonstration, Oracle showed how it’s using virtual reality to help companies manage assets on shop floors and other industrial settings—what it calls the Smart Connected Factory.

Using an Oculus VR headset, managers can virtually tour and inspect facilities in different parts of the world as well as view real-time updates of production and other statistics.

In one demonstration of a mythical wind turbine manufacturing facility, a manager is able see that 83 percent of the production lines are in use, ten percent idle and the rest shut down. The manager can compare those figures to last week’s, perform additional analysis and then communicate directly with the remote systems to implement changes. 

Lionel Chocron said Oracle has a customer in Europe just starting to use the VR capabilities, but said he’s not able to name the company at this time. “The VR environment is also a great way to train people so they don’t have to physically travel to these different facilities,” said Chocron.

David Needle

David Needle

Based in Silicon Valley, veteran technology reporter David Needle covers mobile, bi g data, and social media among other topics. He was formerly News Editor at Infoworld, Editor of Computer Currents...