IIoT with advanced analytics provides your company with the resources necessary to put your business data to work.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is all around us.
While that might sound like hyperbole, there’s no denying that IoT has rapidly become one of the most prevalent technologies of the 21st century. After all, there are currently more devices actively connected to the Internet of Things than people presently living in the world. And we can reasonably expect that number will increase exponentially over the next decade as IoT devices become standard and more affordable.
As it currently stands, the most comprehensive adoption of IoT has been among consumers. The most popular IoT devices are smartwatches, smart home devices, gaming consoles, and digital cameras. While adoption among businesses has yet to become widespread, an increasing number of companies are using the IoT to automate their processes and drive productivity.
Introduction to the Internet of Things
So, what is the Internet of Things (IoT)? Before we dive into all the great things that can be achieved by implementing IoT at an industrial level, let’s look at how IoT works in a more general sense. In its most basic understanding, the Internet of Things connects disparate “smart devices” via the internet. These systems can be controlled remotely. They can also be programmed to learn from human behavior or other data feedback through artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
When implemented into an industrial environment such as a factory, The AI and ML programs analyze data coming from sensors within machines to understand how they work when operating at optimal condition.
IoT In Motion
As mentioned earlier, smart home devices are among the most popular IoT devices and make the best example for explaining how IoT works. For example, let’s say you wake up at 7 a.m. every morning. With IoT, you can automate your home to open the blinds, start brewing coffee, and even tell you current traffic conditions for your commute. That way, everything is ready when your alarm goes off, and you have all the information you need to arrive at work on time.
With AI and ML, your smart home IoT system can go a step further. If your system knows your daily routine, it can adjust based on current conditions. For example, if traffic on your usual route is unusually heavy, the AI controlling your smart home can adjust its routines to allow for the extra time you’ll need. That way, you can still make it to work on time despite the delay.
Many of these smart home devices also contain sensors that can detect whether a room is being used or not. From intelligent lights turning on and off based on an individual’s movement throughout the house to security cameras alerting you to activity outside your front door, these technologies have a wide range of practical applications that can improve how you interact with your home.
Of course, these are simplifications of how IoT works within a smart home system. There are multiple processes at play to make this work. But these same concepts can easily be applied to an industrial setting to ensure that the various aspects of your business are running at optimal efficiency.
The Industrial Internet of Things
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and IoT operate similarly. Both use peripheral devices and sensors to send and receive data that can be used to aid in decision-making or adjust regular routines. The main difference between the two is the application of systems and data. The primary usage of IoT is consumer devices and appliances, as we explained earlier. IIoT, on the other hand, uses sensors and intelligent machines to transmit essential data and information within an industrial environment.
Many of the sectors that IIoT is being used in, such as healthcare, aviation, manufacturing, and agriculture, are critical fields where errors in a process can have catastrophic consequences. As a result, sensors play a much more significant role in IIoT and are much more sensitive than their consumer-oriented counterparts.
So instead of programs monitoring the conditions of the roadway and adjusting your processes to accommodate, an example of IIoT in action would be monitoring the stress on an underwater oil pipeline to ensure an oil spill doesn’t occur.
The Role of AI and Machine Learning
Gathering data from various IoT devices and sensors is virtually useless if you cannot put it to use. Therefore, AI and ML play vital roles in the IIoT landscape due to their ability to utilize gathered data and provide actionable insights that drive business decisions.
More specifically, the rise of digital twin technologies has empowered businesses to use the data they gather in real-time to make predictions about the future lifecycle of their machines and products.
But what is a digital twin? A digital twin is an exact digital re-creation of a physical asset.
Creating a digital twin allows AI and ML programs to analyze the live data captured from the IIoT sensors and compare it to historical data sets. In turn, the programs can detect anomalies in the physical asset and make suggestions to operators on the best course of action to avoid any potential consequences.
The predictive capabilities of these technologies allow IIoT adopters to identify areas where they can increase the efficiency and life expectancy of their physical assets.
Maintaining Functionality with VEM Motors
VEM is the perfect example of what can be done with Industrial IoT technologies. VEM manufactures electric engines, and ensuring the longevity of these engines is vital for moving towards a more sustainable future.
VEM helps meet that end, creating digital twins of their engines to continuously recognize when products need upgrades and recognizing new business opportunities. VEM maintains the digital twins throughout their life cycles. In addition, every engine is outfitted with a module that measures the operating state of the engine. VEM then allows customers to access these measurements as an additional service.
This data not only allows operators to identify issues with their specific engine quickly but it gives VEM the information necessary to isolate machine-specific issues from issues affecting the entire fleet of engines. If this data was unavailable and problems could not be identified and addressed promptly, both the end-user and the business would lose money if mechanical issues spiraled out of control.
Industrial IoT: Beyond Machines
The agricultural sector plays several vital roles in societies around the world. Not only is it crucial to our survival, but it also plays an essential role in our economy and leisure activities. So whether we’re talking about consumable plant production, livestock farming, or plant cultivation for alcohol, our world would look drastically different if the Ag industry faltered.
A worrisome study from Cornell University suggests that climate change has reduced farms’ yields by 21% every year since the 1960s. Even though the agricultural industry has made great strides towards improving outcomes, such studies show that farmers are still far from operating optimally. While IoT cannot be said to stop the effects of climate change, it can help reduce its impact on our industries. This has led farmers to gradually adopt industrial IoT technologies to make up for this lag in productivity.
This has been especially true in the wine industry. For example, the Bouchaine Vineyard in Napa Valley, California, installed IoT sensors across its vineyards. According to an article by Forbes, these monitors allow the vignerons to monitor the amount of sunlight and water the grapes receive and the temperature and humidity of the vineyard. This allows the winemakers to monitor and manage the vineyard’s microclimate by taking the guesswork out of viticulture.
And through the power of AI and ML, the IIoT system could learn what blocks of the vineyard are ready for harvest and which ones need additional resources and time. Workers would then be alerted and could act accordingly. All of the processed data allows the winemakers to optimize their efficiency level and create the perfect grapes for the perfect bottle of wine.
Industrial IoT: A Better Way Forward
Whether you’re a vigneron trying to cultivate the perfect grapes for your vineyard or a car manufacturer trying to provide your customers with long-lasting products, IoT is the technology you need to move your business forward.
IoT powered by advanced analytics provides companies like yours with the resources necessary to put their data to work. Early adopters realize the benefits of proactively analyzing their data with AI and ML solutions. By implementing IIoT technologies, your company can address and mitigate issues before they arrive and adjust procedures to maintain optimal efficiency. Major public cloud platforms such AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Oracle all have IoT solutions that can be run natively on their platforms to make things even better.
Are you ready to push your business forward with Industrial IoT and advanced analytics? Contact us to learn how to help you set up and optimize IIoT and business analytics solutions for your business.