The Industrial Internet of Things is full of transformational potential

Plant Engineering a “goto” source for practitioners to maintain currency on trends, best practices, new technologies, and operations perspectives grounded in reality devotes a healthy portion of content to the topic of Industrial Internet of Things – IIOT. And in the manufacturing world, IIoT portends tremendous transformation.

The value of the IIoT

The McKinsey report The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype is very optimistic regarding the economic impact of IoT on various “settings” such as factories, stating “The potential value that could be unlocked with IoT applications in factory settings could be as much as $3.7 trillion in 2025, or about one-third of all potential economic value that we estimate.” Hence the continued interest in the topic from all participants in manufacturing, including industry suppliers – long established and those whose products and services are critical enablers of successful IIoT adoption.

Noting that the IIoT has attracted a wide range of companies with familiar names, but without the traditional manufacturing pedigree, Plant Engineering spoke with Jiani Zhang, program director of offering management for IBM Watson Internet of Things, to get an IBM perspective. IBM Watson for IoT had garnered world-wide recognition for capabilities in IoT platform (IBM has been named a leader in The Forrester Wave™: IoT Software Platforms, Q4 2016), monitoring asset health, managing facilities more efficiently, and developing products that deliver the potential of IoT.

Analytics: a new wave of manufacturing productivity

Zhang observes that IIoT is not a new concept for manufacturing as most production facilities have had process control systems, SCADA data and historians for decades. However, with the advent of IIoT the next wave of manufacturing productivity is at the doorstep (or on the loading dock). The application of analytics to volumes of data produced by instrumented, connected assets can deliver quantifiable savings and benefits across supply chain and manufacturing processes.

However, one of the immediate challenges frequently voiced by manufacturers undertaking an IIoT initiative is acknowledgement that much of the data generated by their assets is never captured, particularly “unstructured” data. And this is where IBM’s Watson IoT cognitive capabilities can transform that data, once captured, into meaningful insight. For example, analyzing operational data, maintenance logs, technician notes, and even forums to identify and consolidate maintenance and repair information to then recommend the best maintenance procedure(s) (and even schedule) in light of an asset’s current or predicted condition. The overall goal: reduced unplanned downtime and greater asset availability and reliability.

Learn more about IBM solutions for the IIoT revolution

Take a few minutes to gain a more detailed perspective on data management and the IIoT revolution and explore some of the IBM solutions that are helping manufacturers move forward with their IIoT strategy, leading to better management of factory equipment and assets, improved manufacturing processes, and more effective management of production resources.