C²I² Press Release
The arrival of extremely powerful and reliable yet inexpensive computer and network hardware, coupled to ready availability of software development and system engineering skills previously harnessed to the South African defence establishment, means industry can now run its mines, process plants, manufacturing facilities etc. with military effectiveness.
That’s the view Richard Young, Managing Director of C²I² Systems, an established Cape Town-based company specialising in real-time, mission critical distributed computing systems.
Young says a number of different trends have converged in recent months to enable South Africa’s industrial enterprises to make the quantum leap into the next generation of computing systems.
Firstly, the price/performance ratio of processing and connectivity platforms has declined to the point where, today, the concept of ubiquitous computing is a reality.
Young explains: "In the same way that previously rare and expensive items such as books have become commonplace and inexpensive, so computing hardware has become universal and affordable."
Secondly, networking technology has grown widespread and affordable, as well as increasingly sophisticated and reliable.
Thirdly, with the advent of the new South Africa, local expertise in the design and deployment of real-time, mission-critical distributed systems for the defence industry is becoming generally available through companies such as C²I² Systems.
C²I² Systems has been a successful supplier of highly advanced systems and consulting to mainly the defence establishment for more than four years. Systems developed and deployed by the company include radar communications, radar display applications, real-time mission-critical networks and real-time shipboard management systems.
"The above mentioned trends make it possible, for the first time, to design and build affordable distributed real-time systems for mission-critical applications in industry and commerce. Previously such systems were mainly restricted to military and similar environments because of their high cost," Young continues.
"The implication is that process managers, production managers, mine managers and their counterparts across industry can now run almost entirely automated plants.
"The advantages of doing so are enormous. For example, companies could dramatically improve the quality of their products while reducing manpower costs in terms of training, logistics etc. Furthermore companies could confidently operate highly complex production facilities, thereby adding value to their customers and the consumer."
The next-generation systems, by virtue of their distributed architecture, consist of collaborative computing nodes with no single point of failure. This makes the systems ideal for industrial environments where failure of execution, or faulty execution, may have catastrophic results such as loss of life, serious injury or damage to plant.
"The South African defence industry is acknowledged as among the most technologically advanced in the world, having pioneered many sought-after products and systems," Young concludes.
"Thus it is no small advantage that, through C²I² Systems, solutions meeting military standards of performance, effectiveness, flexibility and survivability can now be implemented by industrialists – at an affordable price."