The Internet of Things is finding its role in many different niches, but industrial settings are where a vast portion of its potential lies. At the heart of this Industrial Internet of Things lies a web of people and machines connected through data and analytics.
This potent interplay is driving a new era of real-time operational awareness and response that can transform a business. It should come as no suprise that savvy organizations are already taking advantage of this innovation.
Rapid Industrial Internet of Things Growth
The global IIoT market is expected to reach a value of $124 billion by 2021, according to IndustryARC research. Despite this bold prediction, a study by McRock Capital posits that just 1% of the world's "things" are currently connected. This begs the question: How exactly will the predicted industrial internet of things growth take place?
IIoT is founded on the idea that equipment can self-report real-time operability data in order to give facility managers a more transparent view of operations. Deployed in even the most complex industrial environments, this higher level of insight provides organizations with the ability to benefit in a few different ways. These include:
- Descriptive Intelligence: Assessing what went wrong after the fact.
- Predictive Intelligence: Anticipating what will happen.
- Prescriptive Action: Utilizing actionable data without human intervention.
Together, these these methods are redefining maintenance and operability, according to ARC Advisory Group. These are insights that couldn't even exist without the help of energy monitoring sensors.
Historically, this represents a shift, as wireless sensor technology has long been leveraged to assist production control and safety, but only now expanding into the realm of operations and maintenance.
Wireless Sensor Technology Driving IIoT
Break-fix is one of the oldest methods of maintenance, partially due to the fact there was no other viable alternative. With device-level insight, energy sensors can feed facility managers information on energy consumption as a means to assess performance and operational efficiency.
In the middle of this transition lies wireless sensor technology. But, as New Electronics reported, not all sensors are created equal. Industrial organizations looking to embrace IIoT should be focused on obtaining, among other figures, real-time energy management data. Monitoring the usage and consumption of electricity often leads to greater insights.
Maintenance, for one, has completely changed. By being able to view performance at a granular level, facility managers can deploy a predictive or prescriptive upkeep strategy, rather than waiting for the machines to come out of service. This allows a plant to maintain constant production levels and avoid costly equipment failures that ultimately lead to a dip in product output.
This type of real-time data can't be confused with Big Data. While the latter is often homogenous, the former varies in size, presentation and usability. This is why facility managers must focus on fluctuations, or abnormal energy consumption, rather than simple values, such as how much energy is being used. This opens the doors for facility managers to identify when machines are running over the original equipment manufacturers specified settings.
The business value of IIoT is so promising due to the fact it gives a voice to functions that were previously incommunicable. Facility maintenance can shed the antiquated break-fix method in favor of one that avoids disruptions to productivity, but only through wireless sensor technology.