The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the industrial applications of a network of internet connected devices. The devices that are used in such a system measure, track, and share information about various components in the manufacturing process. All of the data that the hardware collects is sent to a central, cloud-based service, where it can be properly organized and analyzed.
The application of the IoT for the manufacturing industry is sometimes referred to as “Industry 4.0,” and is already being offered by some companies. The IIoT will allow manufacturers to acquire and access a far greater amount of data at quicker speeds. This ultimately leads to more insight and efficiency for a factory. The IIoT is continuing to evolve and is providing immense value for manufacturers, so let’s take a look at the benefits the IIoT has to offer.
IIoT can be seen as the “back-end” of the various IoT categories. Although it is largely hidden from the average consumer's view, many of the everyday objects that people use are heavily driven by IIoT technology. Almost every modern manufacturer makes use of some sort of IIoT ecosystem to optimize and streamline their operations.
IIoT incorporates machine learning and big data to generate powerful insights on how a factory is functioning. To do this, IoT devices are installed to collect data from sensors that are added to or built within the factory equipment. This can include almost any device or measure any piece of information that manufacturers think may influence their operations. The data is aggregated onto a central platform where it can be easily digested by a plant manager or other factory employee.
A powerful network of IIoT devices can significantly improve operational efficiency, scalability, monetary savings, time optimization, and communication across an entire organization. The various IIoT devices that are installed in the machines of a factory will continuously gather machine performance information (which consists of potentially millions of data points). This information is stored via the cloud, processed through a data analytics platform, and then used by plant managers, engineers, operators, and executives in a variety of ways.
When a factory integrates internet connected devices into their operations, it gives the factory a sort of sensory system. This new ability for the factory to collect information about itself will translate into manufacturers making much more informed decisions. In fact, with enough information, manufacturers are able to perform predictive maintenance on their machines so that they can avoid the cost of downtime.
This all leads to the optimization of machine performance, which will save manufacturers time and money. IIoT can also enable manufacturers to maximize their factory’s overall output. Whether it is utilizing big data to make predictions or to detect underperforming machines, IIoT is poised to drive this industry.
IIoT is already changing the way that manufacturers operate in the age of the internet. With access to significantly more information, manufacturers are optimizing and breaking informational silos with their access to shared analytics platforms.
Data is one of the most valuable commodities for technology integrated organizations. Unlike most investments, an investment in data is guaranteed to appreciate in value over time. The more data that is gathered, the better it can be used to make previously uninformed decisions.
Decision making is a huge bottleneck in manufacturing, mainly due to its risk-management factor. It is crucial to bring together as much information as possible to assess the risks of a given decision. The introduction of the IIoT allows manufacturers to monitor and store detailed factory data for quick access to production metrics and fast historical querying capabilities.
It is also crucial for manufacturers to gather as much data as possible when thinking about the future application of artificial intelligence (AI) in their factory. Without getting into too much detail, AI is as powerful as the quality and quantity of data that it has access to. For AI to make or suggest these decisions, it would need a large pool of information at its disposal. The longer that you have been collecting data, the more data will be available to feed into the AI. This is why it is increasingly important to implement the IIoT into a factory.
IIoT solutions in the manufacturing space can be accessed by anyone. If you want to enable the utmost level of performance at your factory, this is absolutely the way to go. The benefits of a properly integrated IIoT system will even carry over to the sales and marketing department where factory productivity information can be used to make financial projections, targeting decisions, and much more.
IIoT is clearly driving the future of manufacturing. Innovation has been taking place at an increasingly faster pace, and it won’t be slowing down anytime soon. One way to get ahead, however, is by taking advantage of IIoT technology and the insights that it provides.