The Industrial Internet of Things is revolutionising the manufacturing industry. If you’re not already on board, here’s how to get started. Let’s find out more.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a subdivision of IoT focusing on internet-connected devices in industrial production. By utilising these devices to gather and analyse data, you can make your manufacturing processes more efficient, productive and safe.
But why does IIoT make such a difference, and how do you get started? In this article, we’ll explain everything.
Benefits of IIoT
When you implement IIoT in your manufacturing company, the benefits are clear:
- Visibility - IIoT delivers real-time insights into the health and performance of your machines, helping you to reduce unplanned downtime
- Proactivity - IIoT data helps predict machinery wear and tear, so you can fix minor problems before they become serious issues
- Tracking - IIoT helps you with site inventories by tracking equipment locations. This data is valuable for service and product management
- Administration - Data provided by IIoT (e.g. energy consumption) helps facility managers make more informed decisions
- Adoption - IIoT delivers insights into machine performance and usage patterns, helping you better understand your products and how your customers use them
- Iteration - IIoT data helps you identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement in your production process
The overarching benefits? More efficient processes, lower costs and better results.
How to implement IIoT
Now you know the benefits, how do you get started with IIoT?
The first step should be to have a clear ‘why’ for your IIoT implementation. Choose a purpose, such as reducing costs or improving efficiency, so you can align IIoT technologies to achieve your goals. Ensure your purpose aligns with your overarching business goals, and consider the impact on other stakeholders in your organisation. Other points to consider at this stage are how you’ll communicate the changes, risk management, agile methodologies, data management and monitoring.
Next, spend time with your people to talk about how you’ll implement IIoT and the results you want to see on the back end. Use tools like value stream process mapping to help envision a new process with IIoT incorporated.
The next step is to get the technology side in order. IIoT devices generate a vast amount of data, so you need a strategy to manage the data in a way that will deliver usable insights to optimise operations. Consider cybersecurity risks and implement measures such as authentication, encryption and threat detection to fortify your defences.
Finally, hire people with the right engineering and interpersonal skills to make your implementation a success. Be open to feedback - especially around security and analytics - to identify future improvements.
Of course, nothing is simple. You’re sure to encounter challenges as you roll out IIoT across your manufacturing business. Here are some obstacles you may discover. Be prepared and have a solution ready:
- Lack of scope - If you don’t have a clearly defined goal, you won’t select the best technologies to accelerate improvements
- Responsibility - While IIoT delivers benefits across your organisation, you’ll gain more benefits if you have someone on your team who focuses solely on it. Let them be the advocate for IIoT in your company
- Adoption - Getting people to embrace change is always one of the hardest parts of any tech implementation. Create a strategy to show your employees the benefits IIoT brings to their everyday lives
- Security - IIoT is a connected technology, creating a potential attack surface for cybercriminals. Have a robust plan in place to address cybersecurity issues
- Scalability - Don’t create silos. Invest in flexible infrastructure that you can roll out across your organisation
Let’s get started
IIoT is taking hold across the manufacturing industry - and if you stand still, you’ll be left behind. There will be challenges, but the benefits are revolutionary when you get it right. Don’t delay any further. Get started on your IIoT journey today.