It is a well-known fact that IoT (Internet of Things), such as IoT in Oil and Gas, has been a buzzword for some time now. The concept of “smart” living which involves usage of wearables which transmit data on health, performance and monetary matters captured the imagination and led to the development of smart watches, BP trackers etc. This concept has now been extended to the industrial space with Industrial IoT, or IIoT, being the result. So, why should organizations adopt IIoT and what are the considerations and IT’s role in this regard. Let us find out more in this blog.
Uniqueness and Benefits of IIoT
IIoT connects machines and devices in industries such as manufacturing, steel fabrication, transportation, oil and gas, power generation and transmission, mines, and ports. Commercial, enterprise, or consumer IoT—also simply known as IoT—is used to describe connected devices within homes and office spaces, such as cameras, badge readers, and HVAC control systems. Failure of IIoT can have catastrophic consequences, creating high risk and potentially life-threatening situations. Downtime of other IoT devices may result in inconveniences, but it does not usually cause emergency situations.
Industrial IoT enables organizations to get a wealth of actionable data from their operations. When properly aggregated and analyzed, the data helps them better control operations, with the potential to improve worker safety, increase production uptime by predictive maintenance of machinery, maintain product quality, ensure regulatory compliance, and improve operational efficiencies.
Major Considerations for IIoT Adoption
- Network Equipment – The switches, routers, and wireless equipment that connect IIoT devices must provide the needed bandwidth and be able to withstand punishing physical conditions on factory floors or outdoors. Equipment, such as mining and plant equipment, must support the communication protocols in use to provide visibility and help monitor each endpoint.
- Centralized connectivity deployment and monitoring – For organizations to efficiently monitor and scale their deployments, centralized visibility of device connectivity is of paramount importance. Organizations need to be able to deploy and configure connectivity to their edge devices and equipment quickly and accurately.
- Asset tracking and monitoring – Continuous tracking and monitoring of IIoT devices, assets, and facilities is essential to keep them up and running efficiently. Such visibility helps to quickly identify potential issues that could impact operations, worker safety, and revenue.
Role of IT in IIoT
- Reliable Network – IT must strive to ensure that a reliable network with sufficient bandwidth capacity is in place so time-sensitive data can be transmitted without delay to applications in data centers or the cloud. The network that connects IIoT devices and sensors needs to support diverse physical channels.
- Intelligent network control – The network for IIoT must be kept highly available. IIoT devices may be numerous and spread across a large geographical area, but a network controller can automate networking equipment deployment and keep configurations consistent, and firmware updated. It can also help ensure that devices are performing to expectations—and guide administrators to take corrective actions if not.
- Security for critical resources – As IT and IIoT networks converge, security practices must also converge. Protecting IIoT is best done with a comprehensive, integrated security solution (including cyber security) rather than a multitude of point products. The same proven security tools that IT has deployed over the years can benefit IIoT as well.
With the advent of digital manufacturing and industrial AI-based solutions, IIoT has the potential to deliver breakthrough business outcomes with simplicity, speed, and scale. It can empower modern industrial workers and can resolve business challenges by making use of industrial data. Additionally, IIoT can also increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and improve safety and security. IIoT is a revolution in the world of fabrication and manufacturing and it is poised to transform the world of metal operations!