The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for some time now.  Simply described, IoT is a system of interrelated devices with the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction.  Because of recent advances in architecture, hardware and software technology IoT is no longer just a buzzword.  It is changing how we work, play, as well as many of the tasks in between, including how we interact.  IoT has no boundaries, impacting all facets of daily life; touching people, machines, animals, homes and more.  Just think of how many things can be linked or controlled through your phone.  Let alone what you’ve seen done via a voice interactive home hub speaker and virtual assistant like Amazon Alexa.

IoT Today

By some estimates there are over 30 billion connected devices at this time – putting that into perspective, that’s at least 3 connected devices for every person…on earth.  No matter what we are doing we will likely be affected directly or indirectly by the Internet of Things.  Which ads are presented to us while using the internet or watching a video.  The way grocery stores are stocking their shelves, or the way manufacturers are packaging their goods to put on those shelves.  Even the price of the goods we are purchasing, are all examples of IoT being involved in our lives.

Value of IoT

IoT provides enormous value allowing us to be more efficient, more productive, while also helping us to make smarter decisions.  A simple example is driving your car using a navigation application when encountering an accident.  Ideally after “recalculating,” you are rerouted to your destination with minimal impact, as opposed to losing minutes or hours of your day.  There are countless examples of how IoT will positively affect us in our personal lives.  Allowing us to have more awareness, recognize patterns or options, and react or adjust as we deem appropriate.

IoT in Manufacturing

Similarly, there are numerous ways IoT will help manufacturers become more efficient, productive and make better decisions.  No longer a buzzword, the Internet of Things is an instrument we all must recognize.  Using it goes beyond just being able to contend with the competition, it is becoming the ‘ante’ to even be in the game.  Those who embrace IoT and utilize the power it provides will position themselves above their competition.  Being able to make smart decisions based on real-time activities throughout your business is key.  Every area of your business, from Shop Floor to Top Floor, can benefit from IoT initiatives.

IoT Strategy

Just like when designing a building, your IoT rollout requires a quality blueprint for a solid structure.  A lot of work must be accomplished before someone can flip the switch and expect the light to turn on.  It is the same for IoT, there needs to be a design mapping out the goal and the strategy for your IoT endeavors.

Considerations & Contemplations:

  • What information do we need?
  • What value will the information give us?
  • How do we capture the information and what infrastructure is needed?
  • How will the information be stored?
  • How to present and analyze the information to invoke the action desired?

The IoT Journey

Harnessing IoT doesn’t come without effort or cost, but the return on your investment is often much greater than the input.  Another way to think of it, what will happen if we do not utilize IoT?

The prospect of delving into IoT & interactive devices can be daunting for any corporation.  But it needn’t be overwhelming.  Keep in mind 3 things: 1) Integration is not an “all or none” situation.  2) Open Platform Communication (OPC) standards have made the potential for much of your equipment to communicate easier, even if it isn’t currently doing so.  3) Lastly, remember you are not the only one to go through this…and best of all, there are companies out there including ISE & Paper-Less that can help guide you down the right path.

 

What is 1 piece of data or insight that you would like to have now? Answer that question…and the journey has begun.

 

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