By connecting a range of services, the Internet of Things (IoT) is transforming the way we live our daily lives. From smart homes to smart buildings, the technology is everywhere. But one place IoT is proving particularly useful is in the industrial sector.
Industrial business models are always searching for improved efficiency and better productivity, often on a very large scale. That’s where IoT data can be so useful in improving industrial operations on a daily basis. Unlike a smart building where services are quite similar, such as lighting, ventilation, temperature control and energy resources, industry brings machinery and other complex equipment into the equation.
Here’s a few ways the IoT is being used in industry.
Remote control of services
Think of a huge factory environment, with several pieces of machinery working at the same time. Some will operate independently while others may work in tandem with other services. Ultimately though, any misstep in operations means lost energy and a decrease in productivity. IoT works to improve a factory’s overall efficiency.
IoT allows supervisors and operators to control many of their resources remotely, and often from one interface. This level of supervisory control allows energy and resources to be delivered where they’re needed most. Also, problems can be identified quickly and from a distance, which means less down time if something goes wrong.
One of the biggest drawcards to using IoT technology in an industrial setting is being able to see problems before they occur. When systems and machinery experience a degradation of performance, it usually can’t be noticed until something goes wrong. Ultimately, this results in costly repairs.
With the IoT, performance issues can be identified quickly and easily. The data provided to controllers allows preventative maintenance to take place before further issues occur. This isn’t great just for daily operations, but it also protects the long-term viability and productivity of assets.
Data leads to better decision making
IoT systems are all about data. All of those little sensors that make up the IoT in an industrial setting are constantly feeding data back to a single point. For companies with the right industrial IoT solutions, they can access reports to identify areas of improvement, opportunities for collaboration and of course, preventative maintenance as we touched on.
All of this data can even lead to the creation of connected eco-systems, either within a company or in partnership with others. This is becoming increasingly common in the fields of production and logistics.
Identify opportunities for automation
In addition to identifying a range of connected business opportunities, managers can use information from their smart systems to make data-driven decisions regarding automation. In an industrial setting, robotic automation has always played a major part, however the technology of today is allowing better versions of it.
Whether it be the distribution of energy or even right down to robotic-controlled processes, the IoT can identify areas where a business can benefit from automation. In many ways, this is perhaps the most significant use of IoT technology in the years ahead.