I described in earlier articles how Industrial IoT involves a wide range of technologies, from semiconductors to cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
This month, I will explain how manufacturers can take advantage of this technology to make their processes more efficient and use the digital technology of IoT to transform their businesses and industries.
The key point is that potential opportunities for Industrial IoT include not only internal processes, but also customer and supplier relationships.
Building the business case
Manufacturers are defining and prioritising IoT projects in exactly the same way as they would treat any new technology. ‘It can be done’ doesn’t mean ‘it should be done’ – the proposer needs to build a business case.
IoT projects can offer whole new business models – for example, product-as-a-service (PaaS) – so the right people need to be involved to assess opportunities and develop ideas to fit their organisation’s priorities, timescales, budgets and culture.
For example, to introduce its ‘Sigma Air Utility operator model’, with pricing based on the consumed quantity of compressed air, Kaeser Compressors needed to build instrumented, connected machines. If the machines fail, the revenue stops.
So, as with all ‘as-a-service’ business models, there is commercial pressure to build reliable machines and minimise maintenance downtime. This approach needs broad involvement in decision-making.