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The future of IoT in manufacturing

November 1st, 2017

The future of IoT in manufacturing

IoT is a common term used within the manufacturing industry. It stands for Internet of Things and can be referred to as 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.

IoT is not limited to manufacturing however; 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 terms — they’re interconnected devices with advanced features and capabilities that make our day-to-day lives more efficient.

Where is this technology heading? And is it worth getting amongst this trend as a manufacturer? Manufacturing software provider Datawright answers those questions here:

Should I be investing in IoT as a manufacturer?

The short answer to this question is yes. Any technology that promises greater efficiencies should be welcomed by manufacturers. The IIoT has 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.

As with the introduction of any new operational change, manufacturers are naturally sceptical about introducing IIoT. If you’ve buried your head in the sand hoping that the IIoT wave will pass you by, you are very much mistaken.

IIoT is disruptive and there’s no way to avoid this, but it’s a negative worth considering. 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.

Ignoring the current trends and technologies can be detrimental to a business and could eventually lead to failure. 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.

Looking to the future

Connected devices are on the rise, and by the end of 2017 it is expected that there will be 8.4 billion connected things – up 31% on 2016s total. Fast-forward to 2020 and this figure will more than double to 20.4 billion. Clearly, the IoT is not a fad; it’s a trend that will completely revolutionise manufacturing.

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

Telling a similar story is research conducted by Verizon. This suggests 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 around productivity and performance.

Similar to the introduction of other advanced processes and technologies, there are security concerns. 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 $547.2 million by 2018.

Although manufacturers remain hesitant, it’s clear that the positives outweigh the negatives when examining IIoT. 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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