How Industry is Adapting to IoT
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Industrial Automation has been the leading innovation in improving production and efficiency for manufacturing companies for over 30 years now. However, if you have paid attention at all the past couple years, the Internet of Things is booming, and it only makes sense that the manufacturing industry adopts it.
Worldwide initiatives are being taken to improve IoT and adapt it for manufacturing purposes. The Industrial Internet of Things contributes to a bigger cause of making the manufacturing and production process smarter, faster, and more efficient by utilizing a collection of connected sensors, HMIs, PLCs and ERPs, as well as consumer products like Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Now that the technology is improving, industries are slowly but effectively adapting to the latest IoT trends. In 2017 many industries have shown significant usage of IoT and Industrial Automation in their regular manufacturing process. Companies like Boeing and Porsche use IoT, VR, and AR for ameliorated research & development. Medical and healthcare industries are adopting IoT and various other technologies, Like AR and VR, to ensure they take care of patients in the best possible way. Now is the most promising time for the industries to switch over to IIoT for automation and fulfill the Industry 4.0 goals.
The Basics of IoT and IIoT
The Basic idea of IoT technology is to make our everyday appliances into smart appliances, by embedding internet connectivity via wireless channels, most commonly Wi-Fi. IIoT takes that same idea by using a larger array of IoT gadgets integrated into production machinery to monitor the manufacturing process from a distance, issue commands or provide assistance remotely, and to gather real-time data and populate them into a feed using smart sensors.
Consumer IoT and industrial IoT really is not that different, however, having your whole manufacturing plant connected can be risky, therefore you need to protect yourself e.g. Having more secure connectivity and encryption for intrusion-prevention and data safety.
How is Industry adapting to IoT so far?
The following are some of the aspects of the industrial adaptation to IoT, thus far.
- Efficient Operation and Cost Optimization
All production facilities focus on two major aspects – to make the manufacturing process more functional without incurring additional cost, and enhancing the existing methods of production for cost optimization. Industries are marching towards IIoT for this very reason –
Shifting towards IIoT from typical old-school industrial methods result in better revenue generation and an increase in the lifespan of tangible and intangible assets. Intangible assets mean a lot in smart factories because software plays a vital role in any IoT adaptation, and as a result, all companies must introduce new business models to cope with new financial models.
- Supply Chain is being Redesigned
With the introduction of IoT in industries, the supply chain is no longer following the older trends. The early adopters of IIoT might go through more difficult challenges, but these are the companies that would shape the future with their input and experience. The supply chain isn’t only internal to an industry, rather there is remarkable effect on global location, public’s acceptance and reaction to changes to the supply chain, politics, economy of the market where the products are to be sold etc. However, ever since IIoT was introduced, the world seemed to have a positive mindset to accept the change.
- Development of Wireless Network
New Wi-Fi standards have been improving significantly over the past few years. Industrial IoT requires extended Wi-Fi range, therefore 802.11ah is being developed. As of now, around 1km of range through with communication at 150 kbps throughout has been promised, all while consuming the least amount of power possible. There is a multitude of Wifi options to fit any sized factory, with many combinations of range, speed, and power usage.
- Awareness of Network Security
When it comes to IoT, sacrificing network security is NOT an option. Industries are now realizing the depth of this statement after a nuclear facility in Iran suffered significant damage when a malicious computer worm gained control of the PLCs handling nuclear material. Network security has always been an important concern for the medical industry or manufacturing industries that stored personal information on their servers. But now that every piece of machinery is connected to the internet, network security is crucial. Therefore, industries are investing fortunes to build a strong security barrier around the IoT infrastructure they have built so far. Any halt in production could cost a company millions of dollars, a cost that no company wants to incur because of a preventable security flaw.
How does the future look like?
2017 was a year of promising changes in the IIoT scenario. Major companies, in various industries, have shown major initiative in the adaptation to IoT, while the smaller ones were a little hesitant to make a decision to try it. Either way, IIoT was noticed and this trend is still going to increase in 2018. Industrial Automation North America trade show is scheduled to take place between September 10 and September 15, 2018, and this show might answer any doubts or questions about IIoT while showcasing all of what this technology can achieve.