Are you tired of hearing about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) already…. but are unsure how it is going to impact your job or what you should be doing about it?
Join the crowd!
While the IIoT is an important trend that is occurring rapidly and right now, understanding it, taking action on it and benefitting from it does not have to be difficult.
Let’s take a look at what this trend is all about and the practical steps you can take to make your communication infrastructure an efficient super highway that drives IIoT benefits.
To benefit from the Industrial Internet of Things your industrial Ethernet infrastructure needs to be a super highway.
What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
The term Internet of Things (IoT) first surfaced a few years ago. At its core, it describes a scenario where smart devices communicate with each other to enhance functionality and improve operational efficiency without any human interaction.
In the industrial arena, this linking of physical sensors, devices and machines to the Internet generates a massive amount of data. By applying deep analytics, powerful new insights are possible. Such insights could transform the future of your enterprise.
For example, real-time information about all processes and more detailed status information, as well as the combination of this information throughout the complete product life cycle, will bring new insights.
With IIoT it will be possible to:
- Monitor all parameters and deter deviation from required quality indicators
- Predict future events and trends
- Continuously optimize and improve product quality
- Reduce time and effort
- Save money
- Lessen environmental impacts
In short, controlling every step in the life cycle of a product enables new business opportunities and will significantly change manufacturing.
A principal driver for the IIoT is the exploding number of connected devices. That number is estimated at 7 billion today, growing to 28 billion by 20201. At the same time, more and more processes are being automated. For example, today it is estimated that robots provide $1.2 trillion in labor-saving productivity gains but this will grow to $3 trillion by 20252. An outcome of both of these trends is that HUGE amounts of data will be generated.
Let’s think back to a technology transformation that faced some of the same high growth challenges and remember how order and efficiency were achieved to enable society-wide benefits.
The transformation I am thinking of is the widespread adoption of the automobile. While the internal combustion engine automobile was first produced in 1885 by Karl Benz in Germany, and Ford started mass production in 1914, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that many countries invested in large scale infrastructure for it.
In the United States, President Eisenhower championed an interstate highway system and construction began in 1956. It is one of the first large-scale road networks and it was successful because of the infrastructure it provided.
Without it, economic development, transportation efficiencies and rapid road travel for all would not have been possible.
The U.S. Interstate network of highways provides transportation efficiencies that benefit the economy and the daily life of its citizens.
In a similar way, to realize the benefits of the IIoT, your plant or facility, needs a well-designed highway system. In this case it’s an efficient and high speed industrial Ethernet infrastructure.
Practical Steps for Realizing the Benefits of the IIoT
One of the actions you can take right now is to assess your current communication infrastructure and plan how it needs to evolve to handle the volume inherent with the IIoT. Do things such as:
- Map your infrastructure
- Plan your migration from fieldbus to Ethernet
- Upgrade your network: bandwidth, memory, switches, routers
- Modify your network design for scalability and security
In addition, assess your current technology from a fresh perspective and explore built-in capabilities that you aren’t using.
Nurturing relationships with suppliers, machine builders, integrators, panel shops, customers and your own employees is also important. Make sure your organization is poised to take advantage of increasing connections with other people and third-party systems.
Finally, improve your ability to manage for change. Incorporate real-time tools and start putting smart devices to work. Remain alert for new opportunities and most of all, don’t wait to take action!
- IIoT resource webpage: Industrial Internet of Things
- Blog: Realize IIoT Benefits with Industrial Wireless Technology
- Blog: 4 Big Trends that Impact Industrial Automation and What To Do About Them, Part 1 of 2
- Blog: 4 Big Trends that Impact Industrial Automation and What To Do About Them, Part 2 of 2
- Blog: The Smart Factory of the Future – Part 1
- Blog: The Smart Factory of the Future – Part 2