Gbots are the new paradigm in cloud computing, they are unique to Pacific Controls Galaxy platform, and provide the services with exceptional responsiveness. These intelligent software agents are deployed across networks around the world to undertake a wide range of tasks. Gbots are unobtrusive automated tools for customer support and are integrated exclusively into Pacific Controls Galaxy services delivery platform. They are built using the Java framework, a language that is widely used in the Internet environment for machine learning and reasoning. The architecture can support third-party agent development using the Gbots application programming interface (API). Gbots are able to run autonomously wherever necessary, sensing and acting on dynamic conditions they may encounter and using real-time data to predict future needs. They engage in complex and frequent two-way communication with users and each other and can manage and act on information in a responsible and secure way.
Gbots simplify next generation equipment maintenance and customer service, enabling early fault detection and creating intelligent self-healing systems. The Galaxy platform acts as the factory and orchestrator for Gbots. Users can request the creation of Gbots when they wish, or they can be created automatically when an event is flagged, or a maintenance activity is scheduled. Galaxy will then intelligently assemble and compile code for specific tasks to create a Gbot and route it across the network into the relevant device. Gbots give Galaxy far greater reach and scalability, since it temporarily leverages the processing capability of the field device for local and distributed decision making, as opposed to doing all of this processing on the central servers. Gbots enable high frequency local data capture and analysis, to identify ephemeral patterns that may lead to problems before they actually occur. They can assess a situation and take action both immediately and autonomously, if appropriate, or they can call on other Gbots or the experts at the GCCC for assistance.
Gbots run in devices and equipment to support Pacific Controls managed services. Among their many capabilities, Gbots are able to:
For example, if a fan coil unit has ceased to operate and the temperature in a room is rising, the Galaxy platform can generate a Gbot, implant the required knowledge within it and dispatch it instantly to assess the problem and remedy it. The Gbots can be programmed automatically by Galaxy with information about the acceptable temperature, the historic pattern of temperature change and the microprocessor control system in the unit. The Gbots can then reset parameters in the control system to attempt to restart the unit; it can also learn from experience and remember what has worked before and what has not. If it turns out that the problem is in the mechanics of the unit, and changes to the programming of the control system are not achieving the desired result, the Gbots will then signal this to the control center and an engineer will be called out.
Of all the new capabilities that Pacific Controls technology enables, the most revolutionary is the ability of systems to automatically learn from history. Gbots are the beginning of a new generation of smart systems technology that will provide customers with elegant and unobtrusive portals into networked customer support services. They are already used to keep equipment such as chillers and generators running smoothly with no effort on the customer’s part, and soon they will provide much more. As network technology continues to be embedded deeper into the very fabric of modern life, virtually any electronic product or device can automatically send a periodic signal about its status, with no human intervention or understanding needed. Gbots are already collecting real-time data from sensors all over the world and the possibilities for their future use and capabilities are potentially endless.
The ever-increasing complexity of industrial and business data systems demands a smarter, more intelligent approach to FDD. Pacific Controls ICT Enabled Managed Services for Business Process Integration meet this need with the Galaxy FDD module that provides proactive monitoring via the web in real time. Its expert rule engine system dramatically reduces dependence on human intervention and minimises error in fault analysis. Its ability to learn from experience ensures that no abnormal equipment behavior will go unnoticed. The predictive intelligence of the software identifies processes in which performance is degrading and takes timely preventive action. Suppliers can make use of the rule-based artificial intelligence to detect and identify faults, perform fault analysis and provide diagnostics reports. Galaxy’s FDD tools can actively simulate or test for faults under a complete range of operating conditions in order to understand faulty operation, what is causing performance to degrade and to identify broken components in a physical system.
Its key functions are:
The configurable expert rule engine captures the same knowledge a human expert would have gained from experience and encodes it into a rule set. The artificial intelligence (AI) in the system is then able to perform in a manner similar to the expert. This allows the system to make decisions about faults and automatically take action to remedy them, in real time.
Gbots are capable of predicting imminent component failures using data about equipment that is downloaded frequently and analysed immediately. Gbots intelligently extract knowledge and useful information from that data and diagnose problems where and when they occur. Gbots can identify early signs of malfunction through supervised and unsupervised learning, including case-based reasoning and neural network techniques. They provide continuous feedback to the facility maintainer, or to the maintenance Gbots, if that role has been delegated to them. This allows suppliers to arrange appropriate maintenance and forestall potential problems, making system failures extremely rare.
When an alert relating to degrading or faulty equipment is received at the GCCC, Galaxy chooses the appropriate Gbots to attempt a diagnosis. The Gbots capture data and compare it with the benchmarks established from past experience. The Galaxy platform develops specific expertise relating to that equipment based on the Gbot’s observations and their acquired knowledge and uses this to command the Gbots to initiate appropriate actions, such as recording data on equipment degradation, generating alerts, or turning off a piece of equipment. If the user has requested an automatic response, corrective action will be taken using heuristic approaches, such as iterative measurement and adjustment of process parameters, until the problem is rectified. If the local Gbots fail to rectify the fault, the GCCC will call in the central support team to resolve the problem, which may mean human experts at the GCCC fixing the problem remotely. If remote techniques fail, a technician will be called out, either directly by the GCCC or the request can be passed to the supplier’s internal systems. Pacific Controls is continuously improving the ways in which Gbots can be used for remote intelligent diagnostics.
This unique ability to use Gbots to solve system problems gives Pacific Control the edge in systems control and is used in sectors as diverse as the aeronautical and the oil and gas industries. Before the end of this decade, many manufacturers will use smart, networked products based on Pacific Controls Gbots to create next-generation services that will drive unprecedented growth.