Most people are familiar with the term Information Technology (IT) which covers the entire spectrum of technologies for information processing, including software, hardware, communications technologies and related services. However, IT does not include embedded technologies that do not generate data for enterprise use. That’s where Operational Technology (OT) comes in.
Operational Technology (OT) is hardware and software that detects or causes a change through the direct monitoring and/or control of physical devices, processes and events in the enterprise. Systems that process operational data (including electronic, telecommunications, computer systems and technical components) are included under the term operational technology. OT systems control valves, engines, conveyors and other machines to regulate various process values, such as temperature, pressure, flow, and to monitor them to prevent hazardous conditions. OT systems use various technologies for hardware design and communications protocols, that are unknown in IT.
OT systems administer industrial processes, high availability is very important. For smooth operation, real time or near-real time processing is required, with high rates of reliability and availability.
Mining environments contains a lot of specialized and specific Industrial Control Systems (ICS). Example of ICS are Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, Distributed Control Systems (DCS), Remote Terminal Unit (RTU) and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) as well as dedicated networks and organization units. These are all examples of OT. An OT device could be as small as the ECU of a car or as large as the distributed control network for a national electricity grid.