The Internet of Things is set to revolutionise the world as we know it. But how is it different to the Industrial Internet of Things? And, what impact will it have on service-led businesses?
- The Internet of Things (IoT). The basic premise behind the IoT is an easy one. It describes a world where devices – connected over the internet – talk to us, applications, and each other. And, these connected devices will eventually be used in most, if not all businesses; leading to cost savings, new revenue streams, and enhanced productivity.
- The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Some people have described the IIoT as a sub-section of the IoT; one that is located on the factory floor. Just like the IoT, the IIoT harnesses technologies, processes, physical objects, and services to create an interconnected system that monitors and shares information. But, while the IoT includes things like wearables, home appliances and consumer products, the IIoT focuses explicitly on industrial applications.
With the latest developments in machine learning (artificial intelligence), big data, and virtual reality, there is little doubt that the IIoT is now here.
What functionality can we expect the IIoT to deliver?
IIoT capabilities allow companies to analyse data from connected machines and devices. And automatically turn this information into actions that drive cost savings and service level improvements.
Here is just some of the IIoT enabled functionality expected to shake up the industry:
Preventative maintenance solutions
Imagine a machine that predicts when it needs maintenance, automatically orders the parts required to fix itself, AND knows when the best time to be taken offline for such maintenance is.
It’s not as far-fetched as you might think. In fact, IIoT solutions already exist that can calculate when tools or equipment require repairs; so businesses can make fixes or replacements before a breakdown. Compellingly, this also means companies can accurately predict how long they can last before doing anything; keeping everything running for longer and saving on replacement costs.
This bringing together of operational and informational technology can generate savings of up to 12% over scheduled repairs, leading to a 30% reduction in maintenance costs and a 70% cut in downtime from equipment breakdowns.
Quality improvement tools
Tools have been developed that can automatically identify failures and the potential for failure; helping manufacturers to create better products and make speedier fixes. These IIoT enabled insights allow businesses to predict the cost risk and performance of assets. And, by acting on this information, companies can react faster to faults, bring better products to the market, and improve customer service.
Web-based Service Managers
With a fully integrated, modular cloud-enabled Service Manager you can control stock, manage materials, schedule engineers, control customer data, and manage hire contracts, all from one integrated system. What’s more, there’s no upfront capital investment, it is easy to set-up and get started, and you pay a low monthly cost per user. Find out more.
Smart machines can track and analyse patterns of customer behaviour, and even use AI to learn from these repetitions. This will enable service-led businesses to automatically and intelligently engage with customers at each stage of their buying journey.
What are the main barriers to the IIoT?
While the IIoT promises to deliver enormous benefits, it’s not without challenges. Primarily:
A lack of Interoperability
With multiple devices all linked to the same network, employees are more connected than ever; regardless of whether they are in the office, the warehouse, out on a job, or even at home. This means they can do more from remote locations.
Despite this, one of the main barriers to the advancement of the IIoT is a lack of interoperability between devices and systems.
Legacy systems, different protocols and architectures cause headaches for most IT departments, so, rather than cobbling different applications together, consider using an integrated cloud-based service manager solution to make large-scale improvements to your organisation.
Security concerns such as the threat of cyber-attacks have also thwarted the adoption of the IIoT, with many businesses preferring to keep their business-critical information in a relatively closed environment. However, while security is a concern for the IIoT (and must continue to be part of the conversation), with robust encryption now available, could-based SaaS is very often safer than storing your valuable data on site.
With IIoT enabled tech, your programmers, technicians, engineers, and customer support staff are free to prioritise work that drives improvement and opens up new opportunities. And, as we see accelerated IIoT adoption, increases in productivity will only become more pronounced. So, any service company that fails to adapt to our new manufacturing reality is unlikely to succeed in the long term.
To find out more about how we can help your business prepare for the IIoT, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.