Saverio Romeo, IOT Analytics
The internet of things, digital transformation, industry 4.0, the fourth Industrial Revolution – all are popular buzzwords used to describe a vision of industrial manufacturing in the 21st century.
IoT once promised to be a game-changer, delivering optimised efficiency and transforming business models. But is it living up to the hype? And who is actually making it happen and delivering value in the market?
First and foremost, the adoption of the industrial internet for manufacturing is about driving value by increasing profit and optimising resources across operations. Manufacturers want to maximise production line uptime, improve accuracy, quality and output and reduce waste.
They are investing in IoT technology to drive these improvements through greater efficiency. This efficiency can only be achieved by gathering data from machines and sensors and using advanced analytics, machine learning and AI to give a deeper insight into the operational environment and enable better decisions at every stage.
IoT bridges the gap between IT and OT – operational technology – because it harmonises the various systems of the organisation. On one side of the organisation is the operational technology – the production machinery; on the other side you have IT. IoT deployments can connect machines that were not connected before, gather data from them and combine this with data from IT then apply analytics for an informed decision-making approach. So IoT can unite these two functions within a manufacturing organisation to provide a holistic, integrated view.
Choosing a vendor
In the rapidly evolving IoT landscape, the challenge for any manufacturer is to choose the right IoT vendor to meet its needs.
There are three fundamental factors. First, the vendor must understand the needs of the organisation. Second, it must have the right software solution specific to the manufacturing sector and provide a robust yet flexible industrial internet platform.
Third, the ecosystem surrounding the vendor must be rich and varied and draw upon the most relevant expertise and experience for your organisation. The vendor needs to have technology partners and vertical partners with deep knowledge of your specific industry. This is one of the most important indicators of how effective the vendor will be in delivering a solution that solves your problem and delivers value.
Start small and scale up
The cost, complexity and security of IoT have been identified as the three biggest barriers to successful IoT implementation within manufacturing, but they can be overcome with the right approach. For example, ADLINK offers the Digital Experiment which provides the opportunity to start with a small-scale IoT project to test its value and learn from it, before committing to a large-scale deployment. In this way it provides a lower-cost entry point to evaluate IoT investment. It also offers an incremental innovation process, which allows manufacturers to scale and solve problems at each stage. It takes manufacturers on a journey towards digital transformation, beginning with a small, lower risk deployment but with the flexibility to scale and reach the next level by delivering AI at the edge.
For manufacturers choosing an IoT vendor, there are many factors to consider. The optimum vendor will offer a value-driven approach which meets your organisational needs, possess deep sector experience and a rich partner ecosystem together with a flexible and scalable IoT platform which can deliver value now and into the future.