PLCs and DCS to become obsolete when safety moves to the cloud

By Mike Bacidore, chief editor, Control Design

Feb 19, 2016

CG1602 CloudComputingOur sister publication's Editor in Chief Mike Bacidore says industrial network—operations technology (OT)—is converging with the enterprise network—information technology (IT)—so data analytics can be performed in the cloud. This will enable machine control decisions to be made, based on that cloud analysis, and then communicated to the intelligence in edge devices such as drives and sensors.

Bacidore says cognitive computing in the cloud is smarter than you might think and it is just a matter of time before safety becomes a cloud function and there’s no longer a need for PLCs or a DCS at all.

Read the full report here.



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  • ‘Cloud computing’ is ideal for large volumes of historical data (‘Big Data’) which is not time critical. There is also another emerging trend; real-time deterministic ‘fog computing’ which as the name suggest is closer to the ground. This may include real-time analytics such as PeakVue Fourier transform in a vibration transmitter or control-in-the-field in a fieldbus control valve positioner. APC and RTO also lend themselves to cloud computing. That is, there will still be pervasive control and pervasive analytics; control in valve positioner, DCS (which remains), and cloud; analytics in transmitter, (controller-like) appliance, and cloud. They are complementary, not competing.


  • I second what jberge is saying.The cloud and fog and mist and whatever might come along, should be seen as a parallel path to control, particularly safety in the plant. I wonder how well these proponents of the above would sleep at night, knowing that the lives and safety of tens, nay hundreds of thousands of workers was being 'guaranteed' by the cloud. Next statement : "The PLC and DCS will be obsolete". Sorry, but I just cannot see control, let alone safety legislation allowing this. Perhaps practitioners will also be obsoleted........................


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