IIoT (also referred to as Industry 4.0) involves collecting valuable data to improve industrial operations and make decisions faster, ultimately improving quality, efficiency, accuracy and overall reliability for businesses.
Power and robotics firm like ABB uses connected sensors to predict when their machines will need maintenance, minimizing downtime on production lines.
1. What is the IIoT?
Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution relies on connected devices and sensors that communicate data in real-time to identify inefficiencies quickly, helping manufacturers and other businesses detect those inefficient practices quicker, reduce costs more efficiently, and ensure better worker safety standards.
IIoT technology ranges from light industrial use cases such as tracking items on a conveyor belt or monitoring building temperatures to heavy industry ones like automating processes and improving efficiency, but what matters is how this technology is integrated into business operations.
Manufacturers can utilize IIoT to monitor machine performance and predict when certain equipment requires maintenance, helping reduce downtime. Utilities can use IIoT to reduce costs associated with sending technicians out to remote installations while transportation companies can use it to better understand how their fleets are performing.
But IIoT benefits extend far beyond this: retailers can leverage IIoT to increase supply chain efficiency by using it to track product movement and inventory levels, while customers can get instant alerts when their order is ready or if something is amiss. Agriculture uses sensor-based technology that monitors soil conditions to advance plant production while smart cars utilize IIoT sensors for navigation on roadways and traffic systems with help from connected technologies.
For this to work effectively, switches, routers and wireless equipment used to connect devices and sensors must provide sufficient bandwidth while being durable enough to withstand factory floors or outdoor environments. Networks should also support communications protocols that scale with deployments as they grow, while quickly responding to emerging issues through monitoring alerts.
2. How does the IIoT work?
The Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, refers to a network of connected smart devices used for industrial applications like automation, remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. Unlike consumer-focused IoT platforms such as Facebook’s, this type of technology is more robust and designed to withstand challenging environments. IIoT applications span many industries such as construction vehicles, supply chain robotics, solar and wind power as well as agriculture sensor systems and smart irrigation.
IIoT’s primary objective is to increase productivity and efficiency through automating processes, remote monitoring and predictive maintenance. To do so, sensors are connected to networks so their data can be analysed to improve processes, make decisions or optimise production – in turn lowering operational expenses by automating processes without needing human input.
One of the hallmarks of IIoT technology is machine-to-machine communication, enabling machines to exchange messages both with each other and with humans for more efficient operations and higher levels of accuracy than human interaction alone could provide.
Workers that previously needed to drive across farms to inspect watering systems and frost fans now can do it from the office from their computer, saving both time and money by only traveling to areas requiring servicing – thus saving both time and money!
IIoT solutions also make it simpler for companies to manage their assets and inventory more effectively by helping them track asset locations, monitor performance and deliver real-time information to stakeholders. They also reduce manual work by eliminating manual inspection and measurement.
3. What are the benefits of the IIoT?
The Industrial Internet of Things is revolutionizing industries by helping them achieve extraordinary levels of performance and efficiency. By automating processes and connecting devices and machines to the Internet, IIoT allows businesses to streamline operations and increase productivity while collecting valuable insights that help optimize operations while cutting costs.
Manufacturing companies can leverage connected equipment to monitor each machine and regularly assess performance, and track potential issues before they become major headaches – helping avoid downtime costs while prolonging machinery lifespan.
Industrial Internet of Things technology can also help businesses improve their energy management. Through smart meters and sensors, they can track energy use and detect patterns of peak demand that help reduce energy costs while improving environmental sustainability.
Industrial IoT technology also can improve supply chain management. By connecting connected systems and devices to the internet, businesses can track inventory statuses and shipment movements real time; providing their customers with better service while improving overall customer experiences.
The Industrial Internet of Things can also help manufacturers reduce quality defects. By connecting machines to the internet and automating production processes without human error, manufacturers can automate production and reduce human error – this in turn reduces defects and leads to improved product quality, leading to customer satisfaction and profitability increases. Likewise, an IIoT solution could notify warehouse managers when products run low on stock – helping prevent inventory outages while guaranteeing timely orders are shipped out for fulfillment.
4. What are the challenges of the IIoT?
IIoT solutions address inefficiencies, lost revenue and organizations’ desire to work smarter. Automation allows organizations to achieve unparalleled improvements and efficiencies that wouldn’t otherwise be achievable with human labor alone. That doesn’t mean humans don’t play a vital role; engineers, app developers and data scientists all must collaborate closely together in order to make these technologies effective.
IIoT security implementation presents the biggest challenge. Connecting operational technology (OT) systems to the Internet creates an attack surface, and successful attacks could have devastating repercussions for business operations. Therefore, adopting security by design or embedded security approaches are paramount for effective IIoT implementation.
An additional challenge lies in providing a reliable network to transmit time-sensitive data from edge devices to cloud and other applications, allowing for real-time decision-making and an improved understanding of business processes.
Manufacturing manufacturers can leverage IIoT for quality control, sustainability and energy management. Fanuc, for instance, employs sensors on its robots and cloud-based data analytics to predict when parts nearing failure may require maintenance soon before costs and downtime arise.
Manufacturing firms are taking advantage of IIoT to track assets like tools and vehicles for efficiency purposes, speeding delivery times to customers while making sure there is sufficient stock on hand to meet demand. Furthermore, manufacturers can utilize IIoT monitoring outages as well as identify heavy demands on resources (i.e. power grids and nuclear plants).
5. What are the opportunities of the IIoT?
IIoT allows businesses in industrial settings to collect and analyze more data at faster speeds, helping them make more informed decisions more quickly. Furthermore, IIoT helps bridge the gap between production floors and general offices so that companies gain a clearer picture of their business operations.
By providing companies with the ability to monitor the status of their devices, IIoT allows businesses to ensure they remain up and running and not vulnerable to cyberattacks or other threats – helping minimize downtime and costly interruptions that lead to decreased production or workflow, leading to higher revenues overall.
Additionally, IIoT data provides companies with an accurate picture of their operating costs and performance, helping them make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and budget optimization. Companies using IIoT data to gain a clearer picture of energy usage across machines or processes as well as identify opportunities for savings.
IIoT technology can also assist companies with improving their supply chain management processes. By helping reduce inventory levels and shipping costs, increasing efficiency and improving customer service with real-time updates on product availability and delivery times.
IIoT technologies can also play an invaluable role in worker safety and health. Wearable devices that monitor workers’ vital signs, which in turn reduce workplace injuries and accidents. Furthermore, companies using IIoT monitoring technology can identify potential workplace hazards such as air quality issues or gas leakage that need corrective action before becoming serious issues. Finally, IIoT technologies also can aid worker health. Wearable monitors that track vital signs can monitor workers and send vital sign data directly to workers’ smartphones, so that corrective action can be taken before becoming critical issues.