An old adage says that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”. Similarly so are the limited advancements in the software technology over the last couple of decades. Not much has really changes when we talk of the challenges faced by manufacturing based industries, and the ability of the legacy technology to address them. Most organizations happen to still struggle with similar issues as they did a couple of decades ago, for a multitude of reasons.
Rather than an evolutionary technology advancement, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a revolutionary advancement that has the potential to break this trend by providing a step change.
Here is the How and Why of the IIoT – the real opportunity it offers for manufacturers, and its specific technology capabilities need to advance its adoption and take it into use.
The Four Legs of IIoT platform
To enable the full capabilities of Smart connected Assets, Smart connected Enterprise, and Smart Connected operations, there are four major technology capability areas that are needed.
Connectivity is foundational to the platform which is foundational to IIoT, All the necessary hardware and software needed for networking withing the enterprise and the plant are included in this large bucket of capability. The technologies and standards that integrate clouds, devices, applications, and machines are also included, and they thus enable the collection and migration of data besides the triggering of events.
It refers to not one but all the cloud used within the enterprise to put storage and computing capabilities in the various places they are needed- at the edge, within the plant, outside the firewall, and at the enterprise level.
– Big Data Analytics
The need is to capture and analyze humungous amounts of both unstructured and structured data, for the IIoT to be truly unleashed, as the analytics tools of last years are not upto the task. The Big Data Analytics tools today monitor, cleanse, and analyse this data and are a key piece in the puzzle.
– Application Development
The utility of the IIoT Platform actually comes into play in application development. Mashup software applications need to be quickly developed to combine the various areas of the IIoT platform. When connecting the legacy applications on top of the platform, this is critical as well.
IoT for Extended Manufacturing Enterprise Value Chains
These key areas have a lot at play, with certain important points to remember:
-Rather than being added on the IIoT platform, security should be built in
-Across IT and OT, the IIoT platform is a combination of hardware and software
-There will be multiple combination of approaches to communication protocols, cloud, and types of analytics as no one size fits all.
IIoT is still in its nascent stages. An ecosystem of vendors need to deliver a full platform and there isn’t still a solution provider that can entirely complete this checklist. The effort, time, and investment involved from the vendor community put into the IIoT platform however, singular capabilities may be a reality soon enough.
Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks – Creating New Value Out of Heterogeneous Systems
Manufacturing is growing globally with a number of plants popping up near centers of consumption and distribution. The IIoT will have a major role to play , however most manufacturers have legacy technology systems that aren’t leaving the scene anytime soon.
The need is to thing of transforming existing plants and their heterogeneous system makeup to enable delivery of new revenue streams and sources of value.