The Industrial Internet of Things is a crucial component in the ongoing transition to Industry 4.0, also referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. Let’s examine how this revolutionary characterization of IIoT technology works, its various applications, and the specific advantages it brings to different sectors.
How it Works
Industrial IoT takes advantage of smart machines to capture and analyze data in real-time which can be utilized to increase efficiency, decrease expenses, and help managers make insight-based decisions.
What are smart machines? They’re devices equipped with various capabilities such as machine-to-machine tech, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. These factors allow smart machines to record, analyze, and learn from data while problem-solving. IIoT works by creating a network of these smart devices and linking them to databases where they store, analyze, and communicate their collected data.
Raw data is analyzed to optimize processes and help managers make better decisions. This optimization typically involves the automation of certain processes which streamline operations, enhance product quality, lower operational costs, and enable predictive maintenance. Let’s look at how these benefits are identifiable in the various applications of IIoT.
In production facilities, smart machines can be used to persistently monitor operations in real-time while analyzing incoming data alongside historical data to predict complications. For example, sensors programmed to monitor temperature can predict and alert managers if the overheating of machinery is imminent. Predictions like this reduce the likelihood of lost revenue during downtime while boosting efficiency. Relying instead on scheduled maintenance may mean that the facility is caught by surprise when a machine breaks down, thus forcing aspects of production to cease until the problem can be resolved.
IIoT also has valuable applications outside of production facilities on the supply chain, ensuring that resources and products are relayed in a consistent and cost-effective manner under optimal environmental conditions. Here, the automated processes facilitated by IIoT are utilized to stock up on resources based on data-driven insights. This ensures that stocked materials are always available while minimizing waste.
Not only can IIoT help manage resources and productions, it can also improve the management of the physical environment in which production may be occurring. Sensor-based systems make building management a streamlined and environmentally friendly process. Factors such as lighting, temperature, water usage, occupancy, ventilation, security, and more can all be monitored and controlled automatically via a sophisticated building management system.
How These Applications Benefit Different Sectors
Now that we understand some of the IIoT’s typical applications, let’s examine how these applications are benefitting specific sectors.
The Aviation Industry
Integrating sensors into tools and machines combined with wearable technologies outfitted onto workers (like smart glasses) are streamlining the incredibly complicated assembly process of commercial jetliners while mitigating error and increasing safety.
E-Commerce Fulfillment Services
With the growing reliance on e-commerce, automation and human collaboration with smart machines is required to reach the levels of efficiency urged by growing demand and increased delivery speeds. Using robots capable of machine learning to locate and transfer items frees up human workers for more important and complex tasks.
Your fleet may look like a team of autonomous robots mentioned just above, or a number of semi-trucks with human operators. Either way, IIoT can deliver real-time data concerning your fleets to a remote dashboard. For logistics companies, tracking fuel usage, monitoring vehicle health, and tracking driver behaviour is essential to success.
IIoT-connected self-driving vehicles are becoming an innovative workforce on the forefront of mining operations for multiple conglomerates. At the same time, autonomous drill technology allows a single manager to operate multiple drills from a single dashboard. Subsequently, the safety of human workers is prioritized while autonomous drills and vehicles undertake the more hazardous aspects of mining operations.
Oil and Gas
Extracting and producing oil and gas products is a labour-intensive process that can pose many dangers to human operators. IIoT alleviates some of these dangers by remotely tracking equipment and other assets to ensure that maintenance is performed before hazardous malfunctions occur. Programmed sensors can simultaneously identify leaks and reduce the waste of precious resources.
Think Your Sector Can Benefit?
These are only a few industries currently pursuing and benefitting from innovations in IIoT technology. If you think IIoT is right for you, contact us at Evolution Data. We’re experts at implementing IoT in all kinds of sectors and can help you strategize a custom solution for your business.