Words like “transform” and “revolutionize” are being tossed around a lot these days when discussing the future of manufacturing. While it is easy to dismiss such talk as just a lot of hype, the Internet of Things (IoT) appears to be a real game-changer.
IoT is essentially the process of digitizing the physical world. In other words, objects are embedded with sensors or electronics that wirelessly connect them to the internet, and enable them to collect and exchange data. Lots and lots of data!
A Mountain of Data
The sheer volume of data that is being produced is growing exponentially every year. In order to maximize the benefits of IoT, manufacturers need to determine how to use that data to enhance their manufacturing and operating processes. Data analytics will play an increasingly larger role in decision making. In fact, “57% of global manufacturing executives have, in the last two years, changed the way they approach big decision making as a result of Big Data or analytics”, according to PwC’s latest Global Data & Analytics Survey.
Climbing the Data Mountain
It may seem obvious that just collecting mountains of data is not enough; however, many manufacturers simply do not know what to do with all the data once it is collected. New data tools are emerging that enable real time analysis through user-friendly dashboards or mobile apps leading to real time problem solving, machine monitoring and more. In addition, cloud computing and storage have made it more affordable to get started, and as the technology continues to advance, hardware costs are falling as well.
Although, widespread adoption of IoT technology is still a few years away, manufacturers of all sizes are beginning to leverage this technology. While smaller manufacturers may not be able to make multi-million dollar investments for broad adoption, it is important to have a well thought out strategy of IoT implementation.
To begin, select a small project that can be easily scaled up into larger projects over time. Choose a simple problem that can be addressed with IoT, such as proactive or predictive machine maintenance. Sensors, wireless connectivity and data analytics tools have made it cheaper and easier to collect performance data and monitor equipment health. With this data, you can improve equipment effectiveness and minimize equipment failure.
The Time is Now
The era of big data is here and manufacturers who want to remain competitive must take action to keep up. IoT will help manufacturers achieve faster results, reduce operating costs, increase efficiency, and be more responsive to customer demands. IoT implementation can be done incrementally, and yields results quickly.
Ready to develop your own IoT strategy? Unsure how to get started? OH!Manufacturing can help connect you with resources you need to implement IoT into your operation and make sense of all that data. Contact us today!