Consumers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the internet of things (IoT). Manufacturers are also reaping the rewards of leveraging the industrial internet of things (IIoT) to increase energy efficiency and improve productivity in their factories, and more. For some manufacturers, IoTT is a foreign abbreviation, but there’s time to learn.
What is IIoT?
The IoT is a concept many users are familiar with. Even if they don’t understand the granular details, users, at the very least, grasp the basics of how the IoT impacts their daily lives, and even if they don’t, a brief overview of the concepts basics should suffice.
Basically, think of the concept like this: Some physical devices connected to the internet can collect and share data with one another. Sounds simple enough, but there’s a little bit more to it than that. Consumers benefit when their connected devices collaborate.
Take home automation as an example. Smart devices (simply, devices capable of connecting to other devices and networks) have changed homelife for the better. For instance, now, instead of changing room temperatures at thermostats, users can control room temperatures from their own smartphones. Better yet, some thermostats learn user preferences and adjust accordingly, potentially saving consumers on heating costs. If the IoT can save consumers time, money and energy, what could it do for industries?
IoT machines leverage the IoT concept for the industrial setting. The IoT focuses mainly on bringing together machines and devices by connecting them and enabling them to monitor, collect and share data. The IoT’s main goal is to enhance the results of business operations. Manufacturers willing to take a chance on implementing IoT technologies can benefit greatly from improved productivity, predictability and efficiency.
How can manufacturers benefit from IoT technologies?
One of the biggest benefits of implementing IoT technologies for manufacturers is predictive analytics. For example, instead of stocking replacement parts to prepare for machine failures (this would be considered to be preventative maintenance), a system using predictive analytics would order replacement components only when needed, thereby saving manufacturers time, money and resource in the long term. While predictive analytics is a top benefit for manufacturers, there’s so much more to consider.
A top challenge for manufacturers is operating with energy efficiency. Of course, in manufacturing, energy costs are high, so companies within the space are always trying to cut costs by finding ways to become more efficient. IoT technologies help manufacturers with optimizing energy consumption by collecting real-time data from machines operating across numerous facilities and analyzing it to determine where there are inefficiencies. What’s essential to the process is the technology underneath all of it.
What should manufacturers know about deploying IoT technologies?
Setting up manufacturers for the IoT isn’t easy. Deploying IoT technologies for businesses — especially large corporations — is way more complex than installing smart automation in residential homes. To avoid confusion, IoT deployment should be done by IT experts who’ve already successfully deployed IoT technologies for manufacturers.
Also, it’s important to hire an IT provider with knowledge in not only IT but manufacturing. Otherwise, there could be a disconnect between the manufacturer’s goals and the IT provider’s vision. More than anything, it’s important for manufacturers to be able to express objectives clearly and have somewhat of an idea of how they’d like to enhance operations. (A couple of common applications of the IIoT were noted above).
Ultimately, the possibilities are endless for manufacturers open to deploying IIoT solutions throughout their factories. Many manufacturers have already implemented the IIoT and are experiencing the benefits of gathering and analyzing large volumes of data.