How the Internet of Things can Scale the Industrial Sector

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The tech community expects this decade to be promising for the Internet of Things. Improved Internet coverage and speed that will become a reality once 5G is fully deployed will give the manufacturers of connected devices the green light to expand their products to millions of households worldwide. 

The Internet of Things is so flexible and customizable that it’s hard to name an industry that wouldn’t benefit from improved connectivity. Trend analysts expect IoT to be at the core of smart cities, streamlined healthcare, and enjoyable online shopping. Other than that, a wide range of best IoT jobs has become available for software developers. 

More than anything, the Internet of Things will reshape manufacturing, helping electronic device makers stay directly in touch with customers (eliminating the need for distributors and intermediaries), improving the workplace safety of factory workers, and reducing room for human error. 

In this post, we will look at how manufacturers make the most out of the tools IoT makes available. 

Top Industrial Applications of IoT

The market value of industrial IoT is estimated to reach $110.6 billion by 2025. By that time, it’s estimated that an average household will have over 50 connected devices. Other than integrating sensors and other tools into their products, how do manufacturers go about industrial IoT development? 

Here are the applications of industrial IoT we find exciting. 

1. Streamlined factories that boost productivity

Despite the advent of many tools designed to make factory worker productivity grow, it… doesn’t. In fact, modern factory workers are way behind their peers in 2002 or even 1992! The Internet of Things can help manufacturers engage staff and boost workplace productivity by building so-called future factories. 

Here’s how the smart factory works 

Here’s how the smart factory works 

Airbus, a manufacturer of commercial aircraft, already created one. Some sensors track a worker’s movement, smart wearables that improve safety, offer professionals on-spot guidelines on putting aircraft units together, and RFID tags that help locate assembled items. 

2. Minimizing industrial downtime

It’s estimated that manufacturing companies lose up to 20% of productivity because of downtime. The main causes of these bottlenecks are the unavailability of spare parts, human error, and factory managers’ poor planning. 

What if IoT can reduce or eliminate downtime? It turns out it already does. For one, a robotics manufacturer Fanuc uses a robust system of sensors to predict equipment malfunction and replace the machinery before it creates a bottleneck. 

3. Continuous support and predictive maintenance as a service

Since manufacturers benefit a great deal from predictive maintenance, customers will enjoy predicting when an appliance can go out of order just as much. With that in mind, a growing number of manufacturers integrate connectivity into the appliances they distribute. 

Kaeser Kompressoren, an air pump maker, recently introduced a new “air as a service model.” The company creates “digital twins” for each product to help clients manage appliances remotely. Also, Kaeser Kompressoren leverages predictive analytics’s power, alerting device owners about possible air filter malfunctions. 

5 Tips For Successful Industrial IoT Implementation

Manufacturers are excited about launching innovative products and integrating IoT into workflows. However, most report that scaling connected devices is a challenge. According to McKinsey, 70% of IoT projects get stuck in the pilot stage and are never implemented on a wider scale. 

How to make sure your idea doesn’t end up trapped in the “pilot purgatory”?. Here are the tips that promote scalability and facilitate the implementation of industrial IoT solutions: 

  • Designing solutions to match use cases. Building innovation for the sake of it is a trap for many teams. Most IoT projects don’t scale because they are too narrow to do so. That’s why business managers should outline a list of 5-7 company-wide use cases of a future connected device before moving on to building one. 
  • Make sure you have enough data. Successful IoT infrastructures are data-driven – they gather sensor-driven inputs and transform them into actions. It’s a good idea for business managers to collaborate with data scientists as early in the development process as possible. This way, team leaders will know which types of data the solution needs to generate value and the most efficient ways to gather these insights. 
  • Choose IoT developers carefully. Business owners should analyze the tech team’s portfolio they are hiring to work on the project as thoroughly as possible. Ensure the companies you are shortlisting are skilled in building the tools you need and have enough talent and tools to support large-scale IoT implementation. 
  • Align technical needs and business goals. Separating the IoT roadmap from business objectives creates a challenge of technology not contributing to business development or even halting a business’ commercial expansion. To ensure IoT implementation pushes your manufacturing company forward rather than holding it back, align IoT objectives and business goals, and create long-term IT/OT roadmaps. 
  • Choose a type of architecture that fits the operating model of the company. There are three main types of IoT architecture – an open platform, a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS, and an application-specific model. Take your time to research the pros and cons of each and make a data-driven decision about which architecture choice is advantageous for the company. 

The Bottom Line

The implementation of iIoT is a profound step-change for manufacturing business owners. The range of applications brought about by connectivity is next to limitless – from streamlining internal processes to offering unique services to end consumers. 

To succeed in implementing iIoT tools, team leaders need to be aware of the challenges creeping down the road. If managers are thorough in research, critical in decision-making, and selective and vendor partnerships, the integration of connectivity into manufacturing will have high success odds!

How the Internet of Things can Scale the Industrial Sector

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