Ease of access, improved productivity and automated decision-making are amongst the primary benefits of the IIoT. Those who hesitate are bound to suffer serious setbacks in output, customer service and overall competitiveness in the comings months and years.

You Need to Implement the IIoT Before It's Too Late

Megan Ray Nichols | Schooled By Science

There's no denying the potential of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Given the rising popularity of next-gen technology such as notebook computers, smartphones and other smart devices, it was only a matter of time before a foundation was built to connect all of these devices – and that time is now.


A Whole New Technological Landscape

Recent studies indicate that 38% of U.S. manufacturers currently use data-collecting sensors within their products. This data is used for everything from tracking a customer's purchase history to sending them automated emails with digital coupons or discounts – and it all relies on the IIoT. It's a brand new technological landscape that has much to offer in the manufacturing industry.

  • Most of your employees already use cloud technology and some form of the Internet of Things (IoT) within their personal lives. This makes them more receptive to next-gen IT in the workplace while already giving some of the skills needed to succeed in the modernized workforce.

  • The marriage between big data and the IIoT has the potential to increase your factory's output and, as a result, your overall profitability. You can even combine these vast troves of information with automated machinery and industrial robotics for even greater productivity.

  • Automated decision-making is also useful in manufacturing. Companies are already using the IIoT to perform predictive analytics and scheduled maintenance on the production equipment, and some are applying the technology to their human resources department for employee screening and overall workforce optimization.

Ease of access, improved productivity and automated decision-making are amongst the primary benefits of the IIoT. Those who hesitate are bound to suffer serious setbacks in output, customer service and overall competitiveness in the comings months and years.


Serious Consequences for Those Who Hesitate

There is a myriad of reasons why manufacturers should implement the IIoT as soon as possible. It might even be necessary to stay afloat in the evolving technological landscape. Not only do you risk losing out to your competitors, but other problems may arise as well for those that wait to start using IIoT.

  • The security of your IT network and infrastructure might depend on it. As hackers become more sophisticated, the advanced security of the IIoT is quickly becoming a necessity to safeguard your digital assets.

  • You might miss out on the increased profitability and new revenue models offered by the IIoT. This includes opportunities for new product development and stronger connections with customers or partners.

  • It will be even harder to make the transition in the future. Failure to take the first steps and establish – at the very least – an entry-level IIoT framework now will make it that much harder to upgrade your network in the future.

Now that you understand some of the benefits of the IIoT and some of the consequences for those who fail to upgrade their systems, it's time to look at how easy it is to get started with the IIoT.


How to Implement the IIoT Into Your Business

Because the IIoT is still in its infancy, it’s difficult to figure out exactly where to begin. Collaborating with an internal or external IT team is crucial to ensure a smooth IIoT implementation, as they can assist with any technical issues in the process. But there are several steps you can take to ease the process for everyone involved.

1. Test the waters before making the plunge. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the scope of the IIoT, but you don’t have to absorb it all at once. The IIoT offers tremendous scalability, so it’s relatively easy to expand your IIoT utilization as your familiarity with the technology increases and your business needs grow.

2. Define clear goals from the start. Are you attempting to boost productivity or quality? Do you want to use the IIoT to forge stronger connections with your customers or partners? The IIoT offers a lot of different features, so it’s important to know precisely what you want to achieve.

3. Be prepared to strengthen your network security. The increased functionality of the IIoT is a boon for many, but it comes with some brand new risks and potential avenues for hackers to exploit. With so much sensitive data involved in the IIoT, and with the high price tag of some of the hardware, it’s important to make security a topmost priority in any IIoT implementation.

4. Use your current infrastructure wherever possible. Many are under the false impression that an IIoT implementation requires a complete overhaul of their existing IT infrastructure, but this isn't true at all. Many companies even prefer some legacy equipment, including backup tape drives, over the next-gen alternatives. Not only does this cut down on the cost of your initial IIoT implementation, but it prevents service disruptions and ensures a level of system familiarity amongst your current IT staff.

Proper planning and a knowledgeable IT team are the keys to a successful IIoT implementation. Tackling this while the IIoT is still in its earliest stages of development lets you gain an edge over your competition both now and in the future.


Don’t Be Afraid to Lead the Way

Although many manufacturers are quick to embrace the IIoT, some would rather stick with tradition. If necessary, don’t hesitate to start a new trend in your community and serve as a role model for IIoT implementation. Not only will it solidify your brand as a leader in manufacturing innovation, but it will give you the edge needed to succeed in the 21st century.



The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of ManufacturingTomorrow
Megan Ray Nichols - Contributing Author

Megan Ray Nichols - Contributing Author

Megan Ray Nichols is a blogger and freelance science writer. She posts weekly on her blog, Schooled By Science, about the latest news in science and technology. When she isn't writing, Megan enjoys reading and hiking.

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