The Internet of Things: Are you ready to take advantage?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is touted as a global megatrend and marks a key future development path for many industries. This is particularly true for the manufacturing industry, where there is a heavy focus to continuously improve productivity in order to remain competitive.

When recently addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, German Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted the challenge and opportunity that IOT presents:

We must – and I say this as the German chancellor in the face of a strong Germany economy – deal quickly with the fusion of the online world and the world of industrial production because, those who are the leaders in the digital domain will take the lead in industrial production.

So what is the Internet of Things?

IoT is where machines are provided with unique identifiers and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction. The Internet of Things is seen to have large ramifications, requiring a change of thinking for business where there is the opportunity to have other intelligent things suggest or create actions.

IoT can have the intelligent factory suggest actions:

  • Imagine the production software understanding the cost of production by factory, by production line, by shift – online so production recommends the most effective factory for that particular product.
  • Imagine knowing how much power each production line requires, and the electrical power tariffs available. Your needs may be better suited to a different supplier enabling a switch to benefit from the other supplier’s quarterly rates.

Is the Internet of things here now?

In a survey conducted by Industry of Things World on 700+ companies (more information available here), 40% say as far as implementing IoT, they are still in the planning stage. There is a need for standardisation of information with different technologies, manufacturers, communication networks and protocols, and the filtering of mass data to get decision making information. A conference planned in Berlin in September to discuss the IoT is expected to focus on industry standards, and will include many big names such as HP, IBM, Bosch, Siemens, Vodafone, and Procter & Gamble.

Are you ready for the “Internet of Things” for your factory?

As a manufacturer there are two main issues to consider:

  1. Are the communication links / networks in place to allow you to collect and send digital data, set points and configurations across your facility?
  2. Do you have the ability to filter data and make decisions, allowing for automated data interaction in a secure environment?

If you are considering or have already commenced your journey towards IoT, we’d love to hear from you. We invite you to join the conversation, leave a comment, and share your experience!

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