In the 1980s, the Six Sigma business methodology was introduced by a Motorola engineer. Corporations such as GE have claimed substantial savings. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is allowing companies to leverage digital technology and the speed and agility it can provide. For manufacturers, it can mean a world of difference, in many ways.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has connected electronic devices, not limited to cell phones and tablets. It also includes things like cars, home alarms, and appliances. But what about connecting industrial equipment? What are the benefits of taking advantage of such an innovation?
Similar to many IoT aspects, the IIoT allows:
- A broader and more focused use of big data.
- More efficient machine-to-machine communication.
- Equipment that’s ready for action as soon as it’s needed.
- Autonomous and semi-autonomous machinery, pumps, turbines, mixers, compressors, and robots.
What Is Part of the IIoT?
The IIoT includes temperature, vibration, and pressure sensors located on or inside equipment. Transmitters, analyzers, positioners, and drives, and networks of sensors, devices, and controls are also part of it. Also, the human machine interfaces used by facility employees bring together the value of all parts of the industrial internet.
- Efficiency: The ability for organizations to capture as much data as possible can help boost efficiency. In fact, the more people, or machines, know about processes and products in real time, the faster they can make decisions and adapt their practices accordingly.
- Advanced Business Models: Given performance can be monitored in real time, a company can guarantee a performance level and sell product functions on demand. New types of services are emerging. These are allowing companies to bring products and services to market, and also respond to their customers’ needs, in much less time. Likewise, this is helping them find new sources of revenue that didn’t exist before.
- Risk Management/Safety Compliance: The data gathered from the IIoT can be used to reduce risk. Machinery is now able to monitor safety protocols. Data based on safety protocols and compliance can be programmed into these systems. Thus, equipment can self-audit to be sure all parts, functions, and procedures are compliant with safety and other standards. In some cases, issues can be corrected automatically; other times, alerts can be sent to people faster than they would otherwise.
What Else Can the IIoT Offer?
Another promising aspect of the IIoT is 'Connected Care'. More advanced capabilities are enhancing communication between healthcare providers, treatment administration, and diagnostics. From proper use of medications to having the right data at the right time, many preventable issues can be managed. This can help avoid hospital readmissions, manage chronic diseases, and save lives. In the healthcare industry, up to 90% of cases where people are sent back to the hospital for chronic problems can actually be prevented, according to Jayraj Nair of Infosys.
The IIoT Has Arrived
The Industrial Internet of Things still needs specific components to function. One of these is people. Humans cannot be removed from the equation just yet. While analytics and converged infrastructure are major parts of the IIoT, and there are applications to interpret and act on them, people are needed to oversee processes and also take action. A modern, efficient data communications infrastructure needs to be in place and connect all of the intelligent assets.
An intersection between digital assets and business processes is helping to drive the movement behind the IIoT. From the factory floor to the consumer, it is changing the business and product landscape. Enterprises can build new business models, become more efficient, and manage risk while assuring better compliance with safety protocols and standards. The same principles are being applied in healthcare. The Industrial Internet of Things, therefore, has much to offer wherever there are digital assets, and not just for manufacturers. People from all walks of life are already benefiting from it.