The Evolution of IoT and Industry 4.0 (IIoT) will have an everlasting effect on global manufacturing

The term IoT was first coined by British entrepreneur Kevin Ashton in 1999, while working at Auto i.d. Labs. Fast forward nearly 20 years and experts estimate that IoT will consist of nearly 50 billion objects by 2020. staggering.

So why the explosion?

This can be put down to the evolution of convergence of multiple technologies, ranging from wireless communication to the internet and from embedded systems to micro electromechanical systems (MEMS). This has meant that the traditional fields of embedded systems, wireless sensor networks, control systems, automation (including home and building automation, and other all contribute to enabling the internet of things.

Industry 4.0 and the automation of production lines relies heavily on IoT.

Network control and management of manufacturing equipment, asset and situation management, or manufacturing process control bring the IoT within the realm on industrial applications and smart manufacturing as well.[70] The IoT intelligent systems enable rapid manufacturing of new products, dynamic response to product demands, and real-time optimization of manufacturing production and supply chain networks, by networking machinery, sensors and control systems together.[49]

Digital control systems to automate process controls, operator tools and service information systems to optimize plant safety and security are within the purview of the IoT.  But it also extends itself to asset management via predictive maintenance, statistical evaluation, and measurements to maximize reliability. Smart industrial management systems can also be integrated with the Smart Grid, thereby enabling real-time energy optimization. Measurements, automated controls, plant optimization, health and safety management, and other functions are provided by a large number of networked sensors.[49]

The term IIOT (industrial internet of things) is often encountered in the manufacturing industries, referring to the industrial subset of the IoT. IoT in manufacturing would probably generate so much business value that it will eventually lead to the fourth industrial revolution, so the so-called Industry 4.0. It is estimated that in the future, successful companies will be able to increase their revenue through internet of things by creating new business models and improve productivity, exploit analytics for innovation, and transform workforce.The potential of growth by implementing IIoT will generate $12 trillion of global GDP by 2030.

The key success of IIoT will be the ability to understand machines and devices and the capability to react in real time offering a solution to predictive maintenance, production failures, anomaly detection and machine learning. In Asia more and more factories are automating their production lines, which has accelerated over the last few years with rising labour costs. However, manufacturing bosses are starting to see the real benefit and ROI for connecting and having a clear product that allows them to act rather than react.

Machine Learning, anomaly detection and predictive maintenance is not as easy as it sounds. Yes we will have plug and play technology to offer manufacturers real time data capture from machines and devices in a manufacturing environment, however to offer the 3 key features, the product will need to capture and observe data for months before being able to accurately understand the machines protocols and offer a solution in real time. Then there is the machine learning aspect, where each machine is different and can perform an action 1000 times a day, and for a Data Capture product to offer an understanding, it should be left to run. Taking these considerations into account, the initial investment into IIoT can seem daunting for any owner, however once the factory becomes IIoT 4.0 live, the ability to reduce over maintenance costs, labour costs, streamline production, reduce defects and better understand the machines that work in your environment, will be priceless.

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