How will the manufacturing industry be affected by IIoT?

19th October 2017
Anna Flockett

Many manufacturers are accustomed to the term Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). If you haven’t already implemented it in your business, you may be wondering what all the fuss is about — is it really going to revolutionise manufacturing in the way that so many articles promise? The short answer is yes.

The power of IoT doesn’t stop at manufacturing; you may have a smart TV sitting in the corner of your living room or a host of intelligent kitchen appliances. They all fall under the IoT umbrella - they’re interconnected devices with advanced features and capabilities that make our day-to-day lives more efficient.

Together with manufacturing software provider, Datawright, we provide you with an insight into where IoT technology is heading.

How does IoT help manufacturing processes?
All manufacturers should be looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their business. The IIoT is transforming the traditional face of the factory through streamlining processes and maximising production yields. So, what are the main benefits that the IoT can bring to the manufacturing industry?

  • More intelligent machinery — by implementing the IoT in the traditional sphere of manufacturing, manufacturers can gain greater visibility of production performance, supporting the early detection of delays to minimise downtime and maximise productivity. 
  • Better data collection and analysis — through collecting productivity and waste performance data, manufacturers are able to make more informed decisions to improve their company’s overall performance.
  • Improved resource management — by understanding how a machine performs and is being used, manufacturers can safeguard workers, boost productivity and reduce associated operating costs.

Some manufacturers are suspicious of introducing IoT. But, if you’ve buried your head in the sand hoping that the IIoT wave will pass you by, you are very much mistaken.

Introduction of IoT is disruptive, and manufacturers must change their processes to accommodate it. For some, this is a scary prospect, pushing them further towards their familiar working practices. Doing so puts your company at risk of being left behind, as your competitors embrace the technology and continue to march forward.

Although it seems risky, it can be a bigger risk to simply ignore current trends and new technologies to stay safe. Blockbuster is just one example; the video rental brand neglected the growing dominance of DVDs and video streaming services, which ultimately led to its failure. Ignoring the IoT places your company at risk of following a similar route.

How does the future look?
Research suggests that by the end of the year, there will be 8.4 billion connected things, up 31% on 2016’s total. Fast-forward to 2020 and this figure will more than double — 20.4 billion. Clearly, the IoT is not a fad; it’s a trend that will completely revolutionise manufacturing.

As the number of connected devices increases, the number of manufacturers using IoT increases, too. By the start of 2018, 60% of manufacturers will use connected products to capture and analyse data, delivering a 15% increase in productivity.

Verizon conducted research surrounding IoT and manufacturers, they found that IoT-enabled manufacturers will be 10% more profitable than those who aren’t. You can’t ignore these figures in a sector so heavily focused on productivity and performance.

As with many technological advancements, security must be considered. Estimates predict that by 2020, IoT connected devices will be the target of more than a quarter of all enterprise security attacks. To combat this, manufacturers will naturally have to increase their security spend to safeguard their IoT systems. Experts predict that the global security spend will reach $547.2m by 2018.

With IoT, it appears that the potential positive impacts of the technology outweigh the negatives. With the future of the IoT looking bright, manufacturers are faced with a choice: to adopt and move forward or ignore and stand still. Which path will you choose?

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