What is a real-time system?
After your bag is checked in at the airport, it has to go along a series of conveyor belts to reach a container for loading on the right plane. “How does it reach the right container?” you might ask yourself.
This is where a real-time operating system comes in. A real-time operating system is one that serves to analyse real-time application process data. This is done without buffering or delays, and is processed in less than a second. This system is crucial in maintaining output in applications like baggage handling.
Along the airport baggage conveyor belts, at various points in the system, there are gates/pushers that may direct the bag onto a new track or let it stay on the existing one. Some metres before this, there is a barcode reader that reads the barcode attached to the handle of the bag. From this point, it will only take one or two seconds to reach the point where the pusher/gate has to know whether to leave it alone or push it onto a new path. The computer controlling this has to be able to analyse the barcode, decide where the bag needs to go, and instruct the pusher/gate before the bag has gone too far. If this system takes even a second longer, your bag could end up on the wrong flight!
(As a sidenote, damaged barcodes is one of the top four reasons your bag isn’t waiting for you when you land: http://ow.ly/4nrji0)
This highlights the importance of real-time data capture in daily life.
How is iVolve involved in real-time data capture?
Real-time data acquisition is the timely collection of data for a multitude of purposes. It is used in many more applications than in baggage handling. In iVolve's systems, this is mostly to do with having access to data in time to make calculations that interpret that data accurately – like knowing where your haul truck was at the time a particular event occurred. Hypothetically, if it takes five seconds for the data to get to the machine, and the machine doesn't realise that, it will associate that event with the wrong location as the haul truck moves across the mine site. iVolve’s real-time machine intelligence gives the power to the operator and manager, allowing accurate data to be analysed in real-time using the iControl interface. This helps make machine operation more efficient and cost-effective.
Misunderstandings of real-time constraints - Real ‘real-time’ versus Quasi-Real Time: What this all means in iVolve’s iControl.