Part 4 of 4 in the Digital Transformation Series
Smart Factories combine the endless possibilities of modern technologies (through things such as Industrial IoT, AI, machine learning, Big data, etc.) to harness efficiency and streamline production processes. They have the ability to connect all employees, shareholders, and even customers to the necessary information, and this connectedness leads to adaptability and innovation, as well as resilience and foresight in areas such as predictive maintenance, fleet management, infrastructure monitoring, etc.
Because IoT solutions’ capabilities are broad, very few companies need to build their smart factory or IIoT solutions from scratch.
Consider your enterprise and what it’s missing. What IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) approach would match your company’s needs? Does it need to be customized? How do you know what is right for you?
Types of IIoT implementation approaches
There are three most common approaches for implementing IIoT solutions.
A fully customized solution-
This would be crafted to meet your enterprise’s specific needs. You can control options on everything from data collection to the end-user experience. While building a custom IIoT solution means that your business gets precisely what it needs, the downside is that it will take longer to implement, as well as have a higher cost and additional risks.
Utilizing cloud-based IoT service providers-
Cloud service providers (CSPs) like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Azure aid in the storage and analysis of expansive amounts of data. Depending on the size of your enterprise, several cloud services and platforms could help to establish your IoT ecosystem.
Leveraging an IIoT platform-
Industrial hardware manufacturers use their wealth of experience and data to provide specialized industrial IoT solutions. As IIoT evolves, they work to revise their platform capabilities to address the pain points in shop-floor and warehouse operations, supply chain, etc. Their understanding and evolution provide you a better ROI and KPI measurements.
What strategy works best for you?
It can be daunting to select an IIoT implementation strategy that serves all your business needs. Therefore, the first step is to consider what you really want to achieve. Is it faster response times or more visibility in tracking and fleet management. The possibilities with IIoT are expansive, but they aren’t for every business. When evaluating prospective solutions, adaptability and extensibility for your existing and potential business use-cases are important things to keep in mind.
Here are some parameters to consider:
- Device integration and management
If you are still operating with legacy systems, will the IIoT solution be capable of integration or are the systems too old to connect? On the other hand, new systems often come with proprietary security mechanisms and SDKs. Will they hinder integration with IIoT tools?
IIoT requires devices such as sensors, alarms, and the like that can be located inside heavy machinery, on moving vehicles, or in remote locations. Because of the inability to be accessible physically, the software must have remote management capabilities. With these capabilities, you can upgrade and troubleshoot those devices regardless of where they are.
In terms of the big picture, there are three areas to be sure to incorporate: machine learning, real-time data visualization and reporting, and predictive maintenance.
The key capability of IIoT is gathering data useful in improving industrial processes. This amount of data is overwhelming, though, and sorting through it to make sense of it is beyond human capability. Machine learning discovers patterns over time and delivers insights.
Data visualization enables businesses to view data and insights quickly, allowing for efficient decisions. When considering IIoT platforms for your business, see which have thorough reporting tools such as built-in, customizable reports.
Predictive maintenance uses sensors to predict when equipment is in need of maintenance, which can save businesses time and money.
- Edge computing
Edge computing refers to computing that’s completed as close to a data source as possible, thereby enabling real-time visibility, regardless of how many IoT devices are used.
For example, a sensor connected to an assembly line machine can be monitored for performance, and if an issue is found, the sensor can alert maintenance or stop the machine in real-time. The data can be reviewed to find solutions to avoid future problems.
- Total cost of ownership
Keep in mind time to deployment, time to market, and price. The overall cost needs to have training and upgrades considered, as well as costs included for maintenance and support. A sticker price won’t cover the big picture.
Encrypted data storage is needed, as well as having the ability to encrypt data while transferring over communication channels. In addition, you should have the ability to manage and control the level of access granted to internal and external users. When considering IoT solutions, security is not an area to skimp on. You should choose IIoT software with robust end-to-end security to protect every device and user, customers included.
Other key considerations
Just like any software implementation, the platform’s ease of use is important. It needs to have a short learning curve. Another consideration is scalability. As your enterprise adds users and devices, the IIoT platform should be able to scale.
What To Do Next
Each IIoT solution has its strengths and weaknesses. It helps to choose a vender as well as IoT solution approach that would best fit your business needs, so that when you have questions or concerns, you know that your vendor will support you.
To meet the needs of Industry 4.0, Prophecy IoT puts an extensive toolkit and out-of-the-box templates for quick time to value. With the speed of the acquisition devices and mobility of the application, you can travel throughout the shop floor to see data in real time. Furthermore, the connected devices enable monitoring and analysis of operations and trending. All at your fingertips and displayed on devices in your pocket. This immediate feedback then allows you to enhance operations at that moment. In addition, the ecosystem strives to improve performance and stop things like unplanned downtime on your factory floor!
The proven value proposition of Industrial IoT delivers a return on investment (ROI) in weeks and not years. Here are some of the delivered improvements by Prophecy on the shop floor.
50 percent reduction in scrap delivers $500k to $1M annual savings for the discrete manufacturer.
Downtime is the single biggest challenge for factories. The 20 percent reduction in downtime will deliver a pay-back in 40 days.
The 20 percent increase in productivity will enable the factory to increase top line growth by 5 percent.
If you are ready to find out what Prophecy IoT can do for you, reach out to the representatives at Godlan today. Our team is ready to learn about your enterprise and help you to realize exactly what digital transformation can do for you. Put yourself ahead of the competition with smart factory technologies and Prophecy IoT. Find out how by visiting www.Godlan.com or by calling 586.464.4400.