Ever feel like your devices are listening in on your conversations and plugging the same darn commercials everywhere you go? Well, you can blame the Internet of Things (IoT) for that. Thankfully your devices can’t read your mind (yet!), but they are able to send data between themselves to understand more about how you live and what you do.
It can feel a bit intrusive at times, but have you thought about how handy this connectivity could be in a working environment? So your work machine could automatically talk to other machines to get jobs done faster – and more accurately. This is the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, and it’s responsible for delivering a new level of digital intelligence that supports the likes of smart factories and connected logistics.
For industrial manufacturers, the IIoT means they can automate more of their processes and embrace advanced robotics. It allows them to carry out predictive maintenance and see exactly what’s happening with all their assets across the supply chain in real time.
And we’re only just beginning to see the full potential of the IoT and IIoT. Already, there are significantly more connected devices than people on our planet: by 2025, the World Economic Forum puts the expected total at 41.6 billion devices – everything from sensors, machinery and beacons to cameras, speakers and appliances.
How does IIoT benefit manufacturing?
Manufacturers have long been told that a new way of doing business is on the horizon, and IIoT, alongside robotics and artificial intelligence, sits at the heart of that transformation. This next industrial revolution is often called Industry 4.0, where smart and autonomous systems and machines are connected together and fueled by a constant flow of data across the entire manufacturing value chain.
“[IIoT] will change the basis of competition, redraw industry boundaries and create a new wave of disruptive companies, just as the current Internet has given rise to Amazon, Google and Netflix,” the World Economic Forum explained in an IIoT report.
So where can IIoT improve in an industrial environment? Research firm ARC Advisory Group highlights the following areas:
- Asset health and uptime
- Operating performance
- Safety and risk management
- Worker experience
- Business processes
IIoT can keep production lines running as smoothly as possible as no time is wasted from outages or broken machinery. McKinsey claims that IIoT sensors can help manufacturers extend the lifetime of their machines by measuring their condition and reduce maintenance costs by 10 to 15%.
What are the challenges with IIoT?
While many business leaders recognize the benefits of IIoT, many manufacturing companies are still stuck in what McKinsey refers to as “pilot purgatory,” as they struggle to scale up their digital transformation efforts.
In the Compass article, “Smarter Factories,” we explored why manufactures have not been able to fully exploit the potential of IIoT. We discovered that older-generation wireless technology such as 2G, 3G and even 4G is unable to support the high volume of devices required for a smart factory.
Now, we have 5G, which is roughly 100 times faster than 4G and has the potential to support up to one million devices per square kilometer.
“5G has a very strong focus on connecting all kinds of IIoT devices to deliver new capabilities across many different industries,” Andreas Mueller, general chair of industry association 5G-ACIA, told Compass. “While we will get higher data rates with 5G, it will also provide very low latency, very high reliability and very high efficiency, enabling it to offer advantages over previous generations of wireless systems.”
Building an IIoT platform with Dassault Systèmes
To take full advantage of IIoT, manufacturers need to connect all their machines, sensors and technology systems to a single source of truth. For Dassault Systèmes customers, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is the source of truth for their IIoT, helping them build virtual twin experiences to monitor and simulate their real manufacturing assets, workflows and systems in the virtual world, giving them full visibility and control of their operations.Watch: A high-tech manufacturer brings the IIoT to life with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform
The automotive industry is among those benefiting from IIoT, embracing virtual twin experiences to factor in everything required to develop the next generation of autonomous vehicles.
“You have to look at the dynamics of the car, the sensors, the traffic patterns, and so on,” Olivier Sappin, CEO of CATIA at Dassault Systèmes, told Forbes. “The challenge is to massively simulate all that – only a systems approach will work. Our goal is to have a consistent model-based approach, from the specification of the vehicle mission, functional and logical architecture, to vehicle certification, with all solutions on a single platform.”
What does the future hold for IIoT?
The global IIoT market is expected to be worth more than US$106 billion by 2026, driven by technological advances in semiconductor and electronic devices, increased use of cloud computing platforms and governmental backing for IIoT R&D projects.
Today, over two-thirds of manufacturers agree that IIoT is important to their future success and are increasingly adopting smart robots and sensors to transform their operations on the shop floor. As these deployments grow in scope and scale, an IIoT approach powered by the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is well positioned to deliver on IIoT’s potential, moving it from promising concept to real game changer.