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Making Device Data Self-Describing to Enable Seamless Integration across Multiple Applications

Project-Haystack has become the leading solution for making data-self describing so that it can be easily used across applications.

Marc Petock

Marc Petock,
Vice President, Marketing
Lynxspring &
Connexx Energy
Member Board of Directors,


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The amount of data created by equipment, systems and devices has exploded in recent years. Today’s automation systems and smart devices produce tremendous amounts of data to the point where we have expanded our reach to a range of devices that can gather and analyze physical data and react to that data in a variety of applications that we’ve never seen before.

However, this data can be very hard to organize and use across different applications because it is stored in many different formats; has inconsistent naming conventions and very limited data descriptors. It lacks information to describe the meaning of the data. And without meaning a time-consuming manual effort is required before analysis and value creation can begin. And without proper analytics, this data is not useful.

The challenge is to make the data available in the right format and deliver it to the right person at the right place and time within a secured environment. This is the basic requirement to create a data value chain. To realize the full value of data, it must be collected securely, in a timely manner, standardized in the correct format, made ready to be used, put in context with operations and events and presented to the right persons at the right time to enable timely decision-making.

To make sense of this, ease the challenge of integrating data from diverse systems and devices and to effectively analyze, visualize, and derive value from all this data, Project-Haystack.org was started in March of 2011 by a small group of individuals who recognized a major unfilled need in the automation market existed – that being a uniform way to make device data self-describing so that it could be easily used across different applications and maximize its value. Today over 650 people have joined the Project-Haystack forum and the tagging libraries and open source contributions continue to grow. Many of the major communications standards are committed to including semantic tagging in next generation protocols and have voiced their intention to support Haystack. Project-Haystack has become the leading solution for making data-self describing so that it can be easily used across applications.

contemporary One of the major activities the community undertakes is Haystack Connect. Haystack Connect provides a unique opportunity for professionals involved in automation, control and the Internet of Things to learn and share the latest techniques for connecting systems and utilizing device data in applications, including intelligent buildings, energy management, remote monitoring and other smart-device applications. Session topics include data acquisition, communications, wireless technologies, protocol translation, data visualization, analytics and methods, which can effectively bring data together for improved systems and equipment performance. This year’s event is taking place May 18-20 at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs Colorado.

To find out more, visit www.project-haystack.org and www.haystackconnect.org.   


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