By 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the internet. But we don’t have to wait til then to witness all the fruits of the Internet of Things. A combination of cheap sensors, powerful data processing and machine learning are already starting to create a network of interconnected devices to make everyday life easier for the user.
Have you heard of the FridgeCam? The FridgeCam allows you to check what’s in your fridge even when you’re out. Not sure if you have milk? The FridgeCam makes it possible for you to check the contents of your fridge in the app to make replenishing your life easier.
When applied to everyday life in this context, the Internet of Things (IoT) will connect more people and things than ever before. But when it comes to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), digital connectivity pulls together entire systems, not just individual devices.
Propelling digital business, however, doesn’t just mean making devices ‘digital’; they need to be smart, responsive, flexible and efficient. Vice president at Gartner, Jorge Lopez thinks that digital business is so much more than making tools smarter, stating: “blurring the physical and digital world…is about the interaction and negotiations between business and things.”
IIoT transform intralogistics as well as spurring on innovation in supply chain 2.0. It will increase agility, efficiency and customer satisfaction, all while introducing new revenue streams to the business.
In this post, we take a look at IIoT and how connected systems are creating efficiencies for businesses that have taken the digital plunge.
Key technology and application forecasts for Industrial IoT
It isn’t difficult to understand how to apply IoT to industry if you have a firm grasp on what IoT entail, which in the consumer context means connecting everyday appliances to the internet, and allowing them to receive and transmit data.
IIoT can be applied in a variety of industries including manufacturing, mining, agriculture, oil and gas, and utilities. As mentioned above, it goes beyond having a smart kettle or smart fridge, to being able to connect whole systems and networks that would have otherwise operated separately.
Mechanical tools and machines are interconnected and produce immense troves of data that can be deciphered or used to detect problems early on or to optimise operations. We recently wrote about the impact of driverless trucks and how they will transform distribution, but one thing we didn’t cover in that post was the nitty gritty of data, sensors and smart machines, and how they feed back into business intelligence systems to provide valuable insights on operations.
A good way of thinking about IIoT is considering your business as if it’s a hive where coordinated systems and connected infrastructure speak to each other and people in real-time.
One of the biggest challenges for manufacturers and businesses is breaking down silos between different systems, and achieving common architectures that speak to each other flawlessly. PwC refers to this as deep data inter-connectivity, where innovations (consider something like a microchip in staff collars can map efficient routes are leading to a pervasive form of connectivity.
Everyday, new and inexpensive solutions are being introduced into supply chains and manufacturing. In order to gain insights that transform businesses, you must first collect raw data and information. And the more this becomes a need across industry, to more this will become the norm for doing business.
The possibilities of the Industrial IoT: gaining insights from industrial machines
Data from the physical world is increasingly being fed into digital systems, and the scope for application is really only as limited as your imagination. Knowing how your business is functioning in real-time can resoundingly improve the reliability and productivity of your operations.
Ubiquitous connectivity in combination with process automation has got to be one of the strongest strategic solutions for businesses looking to scale their growth potential.
Below are just a few benefits businesses are already experiencing from IIoT:
Improved operating costs
The optimisation of processes by reducing redundancies and optimising the flow of goods saved businesses in time and money over time. Analytics makes it possible for businesses to predict issues before they occur. Managers are able to make sense of data in real-time and make well-educated decisions on the best solution. It is vital for businesses to integrate internal processes and technologies so that there is a flow of true demand information available in real-time. Failing to do this might mean you can’t react to challenges on the fly, costing your business precious dollars and possibly impacting the customer experience.
80% of senior IT executives have stated that improving uptime is one of the top benefits IIoT will bring. Receiving a constant influx of precise and accurate performance information allows managers to make smarter decisions to ensure uptime and component performance. This is achieved through predictive prognosis, remore monitoring, improved machine efficiency and maximising production all thanks to the advances of IIoT.
Improved asset performance management
There is a range of asset-performance-management software that’s recently come onto the market, and the results are really quite astounding. These platforms can learn how machines and assets are connected and then gather information from sensors and report how well machines are functioning in the workplace. The benefit of using a software platform over a human is that artificial intelligence is generally better at detecting patterns and synergies and can then schedule maintenance automatically to avoid any downtime.
Although Industrial IoT will be one of the next developments facing many businesses across the globe, it does not come without its challenges. One of the biggest hurdles for businesses looking to achieve connectivity is data integration. Different data streams need to be able to feed into other data streams; meaning businesses can only achieve siloed information, failing to give you the full picture of a situation.
Once this hurdle is overcome, it will be easy for businesses to remotely control their digitally connected devices. We’re excited for the future of the IIoT. What other ways do you think it will transform business? Let us know if the comments below.