Why the IoT Is the Next Big Thing In Manufacturing

Create: 01/27/2016 - 12:00

Taking the technology that comprises the Internet of Things (IoT) and combining it with the advantages mobility offers will fundamentally change the way enterprises operate, particularly in manufacturing. Even now, industrial uses (IIoT) in manufacturing far outweigh other major global industries. As CEOs recognize the opportunities IIoT offers, the time is now for solution providers to start — or increase — delivery of scalable solutions.

To get the biggest bang for the IoT buck, successful companies have reinvented their business models rather than just mobilizing them. They reimagined their businesses digitally and produced substantial value for customers – not just value for themselves. They deliver that value through new business models, products, services and data.

IoT Technologies in Manufacturing
Heavy investments have already been made to mobilize manufacturing, including connecting employees, products, services and machines/vehicles. For instance, Ernst & Young finds that among top manufacturers, IoT is a differentiator. Providing that level of connectivity helps maximize productivity and improve quality, in addition to being an asset for many aspects of manufacturing. Slightly more than 46 percent of survey participants invested in mobile apps.

[Related: Unlock the Value of Data Today Without Replacing Equipment Using IoT Gateways]

Mobile apps enjoy such popularity because they provide organizations fast results with a small investment. But when the job calls for incorporating customized software for endpoints including sensors and connected meters, and for connecting existing equipment and machines, everything becomes more complicated. However, mobile applications are usually used with standard hardware such as NFC chips and beacons that provide the business with data. That simplifies things and enables mobile apps to be a window and a data input mechanism for the manufacturing process. Mobility is made more efficient via IoT, allowing manufacturers to improve applications to better fit business processes.

IoT Use Case
What does this IoT investment mean in practice for a business? Case in point: a major bakery brand with product in 20,000 stores worked with a developer to create an Android tablet application. The bakery wanted to replace an ancient paper-based, time-consuming process it had for its retail field team with a system that would streamline data collection. Creating a tablet-based solution helped mobilize the capturing of in-store product data and gave the team real-time store details. In addition, it improved marketing by providing easy access to promotional and marketing materials as well as an interactive product catalog. Time was saved, the front-line was made more efficient and corporate back-end systems were automatically updated.

[Related: How And Why the IoT is Transforming Manufacturing]

The massive connection of machines that defines the IIoT can be made much more useful, therefore, by highlighting the mobile technology capabilities that lie within it. Many of the IoT connections are mobile, the challenge — and the glory — will be in making data easy to input and to digest. And mobility will provide at least part of that solution.

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