The top 5 takeaways from the Industrial IoT World conference

By | 3 minute read | November 9, 2018

Photo by Ryan Johns on Unsplash

From October 29-30, companies from across industries gathered in Atlanta, GA for the Industrial IoT World conference to accelerate their projects “from inspiration to implementation.” As a leader in the IIoT space, IBM was invited to share its expertise. I joined IBM five months ago, and was excited to see our capabilities in person. Here are my top 5 learnings from IIoT World:

1. Be the disruptor

Industrial IoT World kicked off with IBM’s NA Industrial GM, Albert Opher inspiring Future Forward leaders to go on the offensive when faced with industry disruption.  “The Future Forward Enterprise is not an evolution- it’s a revolution,” he said.  Companies need to harness data, technology and people to build new competencies.  Companies like Maersk, Whirlpool, and Sandvik are using new technologies like blockchain and AI to create new business models and streams of revenue.

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2. The Watson IoT Platform is transforming industries

Later that afternoon, David Meek, IBM’s Global Leader for Industry 4.0 & Smart Manufacturing, led a session on optimizing IoT delivery through the right platform.  When selecting a platform, consider how easy it can scale across your organization.  It  should also be secure- so you can prevent unauthorized connections.  Finally, look for a partner with deep industry expertise.  IBM Watson IoT works with clients across industries- more than 6,000 client engagements in 175 countries.  The IBM Watson IoT Platform is using applied AI and analytics to transform industries, one example being Sandvik, a leading global provider of Rock Technology Services.

Sandvik is redefining mine operations with OptiMine powered by Watson IoT. With OptiMine analytics, we have an extreme focus now on data and data driven productivity and it really is a mindset change in the organization.”- Sandvik

Watch the video below to learn more about Sandvik’s story.

3. Prioritize IIoT projects by business value

The following morning, David Meek led a breakfast discussion on improving performance by transforming operations.  According to David, companies often ask us how to get started with Industry 4.0 projects.  Focusing on the data, the platform, or IoT tinkering, typically ends in a false start.  He recommends you start with the business value.  David worked with a cement company whostarted by identifying the optimal energy efficiency operation condition in the ball of one of their largest plants.  This brought them savings of 10%, which can be used to fuel their next IIoT project. Successful companies are also skipping the Proof of Concept stage in favor of a pilot to deliver value to the business faster.

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David Meek's breakfast presentation

David Meek’s breakfast presentation.

4. Augment your data by looking at the bigger picture

Later that morning, Heather Preu, IBM Watson IoT’s VP of Global Sales GTM & Enablement, joined a panel of experts to discuss how new technologies will revolutionize the future of Industrial IoT and Smart Cities. “There’s so much data and how do you do something with it? Augment it.” Heather says.  You can achieve this by managing your assets in the context of an entire system of assets. For example, a pump’s individual performance might appear to be suffering based on output and drawing load. However, a view upstream might find that a chemical imbalance in the water being pumped is causing the rise in temperature.  Being able to collect the real-time data and analyze it for the purpose of putting individual asset performance in the context of overall operations is critical. That is not where our solutions stop. With AI, we can predict based on weather, consumption and system historical performance.

Heather Preu's panel

Heather Preu’s panel at the Industrial Internet of Things conference

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5. AI-powered operations are here

IBM demonstrated how AI-infused IoT solutions can reduce unplanned downtime, find defects faster and  increase throughput.  On display was our robot arm demo featuring asset performance management (APM) capabilities – Maximo Health Insights, IBM Acoustic Insights, IBM Visual Insights and IBM Equipment Maintenance Assistant.  A global shoe manufacturer used IBM IoT, AI, and analytics to double production without doubling equipment expenses.

See an AI-powered factory in action. Explore the 2 minute interactive demo.