Rtone was present on the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona. Talking about the future of IoT.
IIOT: when industry adopts the Internet of Things
Behind the most widely publicised uses, the Internet of Things reveals its full potential in the industrial world, ...
Behind the most widely publicised uses, the Internet of Things reveals its full potential in the industrial world, where connectivity, sensors and widespread data use are contributing to the rise of automation and the advent of Industry 4.0. An overview of the issues, practical opportunities and operational benefits associated with IIOT, or Industrial Internet of Things.
Definition of IIOT: Industrial Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things or IoT, is based on a simple principle: an object is given the ability to measure and transmit data related either to its use or to its environment. This information is then collected and processed before being displayed through an interface designed to meet the user’s needs.
Fostered by the emergence of miniaturised sensors and the democratisation of very low-energy wireless transmission standards, the IoT has given rise to connected objects that are now part of everyday life, starting with the well-known fitness tracker bracelets.
IIOT uses the same approach, but in an industrial, and therefore professional, environment. This time, the sensor does not measure steps, stairs climbed or a heart rate: it monitors a parameter related to equipment operation, informs a robot about its location or tells a machine the next action it must perform.
Even when it comes to monitoring equipment, the mission is crucial: IIOT helps a business to better understand the status of its production. It is therefore able to anticipate certain incidents, solve problems more quickly and optimise the general operation of the production line, which at the end of the day will improve its efficiency and its return on investment.
However, the development of an IIOT project must integrate the constraints inherent to industrial processes. The integration of sensors or components associated with communicating modules (system formerly called M2M: Machine to Machine) can be a complex project in this context, with large data volumes, the need for low latency, the need to meet the restrictions of an industry standard or compliance with regulatory requirements applied in a particular industry.
IIOT: main uses
The business efficiency of an industrial company depends on the reliability of its production equipment, which firstly leads most industries to analyse scenarios of predictive maintenance. In this context, the sensor carries out measurements at regular intervals, adding to a history that allows the parameters to be analysed over time. The supervision system issues an alert as soon as it detects a discrepancy from the standard, which may indicate a malfunction or unusual phenomenon.
When it is not used to anticipate failures, the development of this data history contributes to the in-depth knowledge of the production equipment. For example, IIOT will generate intelligent diagnostics with a clear list of instructions to maintenance managers or an automated business recovery plan when circumstances do not require human intervention.
Beyond maintenance, data analysis transmitted by IIOT makes it possible to control production more or less efficiently and automatically: just as a machine tool can lower its operating speed in the event of excessive heat, an algorithm can modify the parameters of a business application according to field data transmitted by intelligent sensors. Stock management is also well-suited to this type of scenario, with the implementation of automated resupply tools based on demand and inventory.
As a result, IIOT is paving the way for real-time optimisation of some business activities. Hard data collected by the sensors supply a digital version of the equipment in order to measure how changing a setting will influence the performance of the equipment as a whole. From fleet management to smart meters capable of automatically controlling energy consumption, the opportunities are endless!
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Industrial uses of IoT translate into firm operational benefits, based mainly on reducing operating costs and optimising the entire production process. With accurate measurement of activity over time, it is easy to identify when production is not up to expectations or to look more closely at periods of over-performance, in an attempt to understand the causes and identify the drivers.
However, the gains are not limited to productivity: by reducing the number of incidents, predictive maintenance can contribute to extending the life of equipment. It therefore improves both general safety and return on investment associated with these assets.
Once it starts its first IIOT projects, a company will begin to build a digital knowledge base that will later be used to manage all of its activities in real time. This is the promise of Industry 4.0, or the “Factory of the Future”: the production line becomes a global system capable of supervising all of its constituent elements according to data reported by sensors. It is based on the complete digitisation of the production process, a kind of digital model or “digital twin“, capable of verifying the validity of an idea before it is implemented in the actual process.
The challenge is to overcome the difficulties related to setting up a real industrial project, whatever the sector of activity concerned. The Industrial Internet of Things is not just about a few sensors randomly positioned in the production line: it requires careful consideration of the process as a whole, from data capture to processing and storage.
You want to go deeper with your IoT project? Discover how to build a successful connected solution with our free guide.