While home automation has been getting a lot of press, the Internet of Things is everywhere. Enterprises, too, need to incorporate the IoT to make their networks even more reliable, intelligent, and productive. Here are four representative areas where the IoT would benefit enterprises.
The first is in assembly lines, where IoT devices are making it easier for enterprise corporate networks to connect with manufacturing. These connections allow executives to have remote access to partners and systems on the plant floor and give the company management more precision, reliability, and resilience.
The second is in making the factory and its machines more visual. Visualization allows management to see how equipment is performing, what resources are being used, and where there are security flaws and threats. Today’s networking solutions, sensors, and connectivity technology can give a dashboard view of a plant, on just one screen, alerting executives to possible problems. This makes manufacturing even more efficient and safe and can help recoup investments more quickly and easily.
A good example for both these aspects comes from Shell’s Smart Fields, where the energy firm employs sensors to check out the pressure, oil and gas flow, and temperature at its fields. The data is giving it a tremendous amount of information it can use to further improve its processes and increase its production.
The third area where IoT can help enterprises is in making the whole company even more visible. This is important when a company has manufacturing plants and production sites that are located at different parts of the country or all over the world. Connecting different sites together will help enterprises have integrated systems across the different sites, and could help shorten lead times. An industrial Internet of Things can yield production data at the device level in real-time. This means that executives can make better and quicker decisions, and become more responsive to their markets. For instance, these sensors can gather data that someone can access, interpret, and analyze on mobile phone apps or on the desktop.
The last scenario is in notifications and event resolutions. Industrial IoT can generate real-time alerts for any instance in which equipment fails for any reason. Organizations can detect malfunctions on any part of their machinery, because the data can be targeted and localized at the sensor level.
Take, for instance, Pure Technologies’ use of the industrial IoT in monitoring water pipelines. Its Acoustic Fiber Optic Sensors sound the alarm when concrete water pipelines are deteriorating. Operators are alerted about the deterioration, how fast it is deteriorating, and the location of the pipeline where the deterioration is occurring.
The industrial Internet of Things can help executives manage plants and machinery from anywhere in the world, and help machines autonomously communicate and control one another with minimal human intervention. GE, Johnson Controls, Bosch, and other similar companies make devices and sensors that help connect people, processes, and data.
However, industrial IoT involves technologies that are quite different from the ones consumers are used to. There is new technology to learn in order to efficiently design industrial IoT systems as well as use them to their full advantage. The good news is that there are vendors and manufacturers that can take care of the standards for you.