The global industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is predicted to reach USD 933.62 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research. The manufacturing sector is expected to be the primary driver behind this growth. While estimates vary, most analysts put the potential economic benefits of IIoT adoption in the trillions of dollars.
The potential applications in industry for IoT is growing as fast as the technology is improving, with devices becoming smaller, cheaper to produce, more accurate and reliable. The following represent just some of the possible IIoT applications.
Most manufacturers still operate a break-fix maintenance model. However, sensors that monitor machinery and production processes, in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence applications, allow the prediction of equipment and part failure. Maintenance can be planned more effectively and machines pre-emptively serviced before problems occur, minimising downtime and reducing the danger of costly equipment failure. The pre-emptive maintenance model also delivers increased equipment lifetime, improved plant safety and fewer accidents.
Smart sensors can monitor operational conditions including temperature, humidity, pressure and vibrations. Maintaining the shop floor at optimum operating conditions minimises wear and tear on machinery. The computing capacity of the cloud can leverage streaming data from sensors to obtain real-time insights and warnings, allowing on-the-fly adjustment and optimisation of production processes
Health and safety
IIoT sensors provide billions of data points on the status of machinery and operating environment. Health and safety KPIs can not only be monitored in real time, but the data can also be used – with the help of machine learning applications – to identify conditions before they cause problems, or even accidents.
Low cost, low power-consumption sensors allow organisations to easily monitor and locate key assets, including along the supply chain (e.g. raw materials, final products and containers) to optimise logistics, maintain inventory levels, prevent quality issues and detect theft. IoT devices attached to individual products and stock items provide real-time inventory status. Warehouse stocking processes can be automated and storage conditions can be better monitored and maintained.
The consumption of resources such as fuel and power can be more precisely monitored and billed, leading to more efficient usage. By allowing the management of manual operations remotely, it reduce operating expenses. Also, with better usage data, forecasting future consumption becomes more accurate.
The impact of IIoT
The above are just some of the use cases for IIoT. A recent study from Emory University reflects the positive view among operations and maintenance professionals of the impact that IIoT will have on industry.
Organisations planning to adopt IIoT solutions face key challenges concerning security and integration with other systems such as manufacturing execution systems (MES) and enterprise resource planning (ERP), however, these issues can be addressed with preconfigured, end-to-end solutions provided by IoT platforms such as Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite. Azure’s IoT cloud solution accelerators allow the creation of fully customisable solutions based on templates with built-in connectivity and security features.
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