Definition

machine-generated data (MGD)

Contributor(s): Gary Lyng

Machine-generated data (MGD) is information that is produced by mechanical or digital devices. The term is often used to describe the data that is generated by an organization’s industrial control systems as well as mechanical devices that are designed to carry out a single function.

In the past, operational technology (OT) systems and single-purpose machines typically ran in isolated environments. The software that supported them was usually proprietary and data was stored in log files. It was difficult to normalize the data that was produced and integrate it with the organization’s information technology (IT) systems. An additional problem was that most information technology systems were not designed to handle the sheer volume of data that operational technology produces.

As the Internet of Things (IoT) has continued to evolve, however, access to machine-generated data and integration between OT and IT have become more important.  In response, vendors have begun to insert IT capabilities into operational technology, allowing devices that generate machine data to talk with each other and connect with the IT infrastructure that captures, transfers, stores and analyzes the rest of the organization’s data.

The integration of OT and IT is expected to make machine-to-machine (M2M) communication more robust. Increasingly, machine-generated data that is generated in real time can be used to automate triggers that will optimize settings, request component replacements, initiate work orders and lower the cost of operations.

This was last updated in April 2016

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