Industrial Internet of Things and its Impact on the Enterprise

By Venkatesh Jagannath, Head - India Research Centre, Schneider Electric

Introduction to Industrial IoT (IIoT)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as compared to the Internet of Things (IoT) is an evolutionary phenomenon that has existed in the world of Industrial and Plant Auto­mation for the better part of the last 4 to 5 decades. Key drivers for IIoT are Integrity of the data, Security of the data including secure access and prevention of cyber-attacks and re­sponse times for process control

When we discuss IIoT, it is important to understand the key trends in the Industrial world that are enabling IIoT. First, there is a greater demand for infrastructure investments driven by the need to modernize aging assets and the in­creasing demand for infrastructure in emerging markets. Second, there is a market requirement for industry to respond with greater speed and agility leading to access of real time data and analytics to improve busi­ness decisions coupled with simplic­ity of design and engineering. Next is the growing demand for smart connected products and an oppor­tunity to drive increased efficiency through software driven application set. In addition, since we are also living in a world which is increas­ing prone to cyber-attacks, there is a need to support increased set of international and local regulations through Process safety and cyber security compliance.

How can IIoT be enabled in an Enterprise?

The smart manufacturing enter­prise will have to excel in three ar­eas across its product lifecycle to be IIoT ready. The first is Asset Per­formance the second is Augment­ed Operators the third is Smart Enterprise Control

Asset Performance

Using cost effective wireless sen­sors, connectivity to the cloud and data analytics we can go a long way in enabling improvement of asset (or set of assets) performance. As­set performance can be improved by better Asset Lifecycle management, remote services for machines and Asset monitoring and optimization. Better asset life cycle management can reduce significant costs around asset support costs that can be 10 times the original cost of the asset. We can monitor run time usage of energy that can lead to optimi­zation of energy usage and hence optimal utilization of assets. All of these can lead to significant bene­fits of around 20 percent reduction in maintenance costs, 30-40 percent reduction in machinery downtime and 15-20 percent reduction in energy consumption

Augmented Operators

Operator productivity will be en­hanced through a combination of handheld mobile devices, Augment­ed Reality (AR), connectivity and data analytics. This will lead to bet­ter decision making at the operator level. Operators can use AR toolsets for simulating real life scenarios in an industrial plant, the same tool­sets can be used to help the operator with knowhow on how to operate and how to maintain a smart asset that provides diagnostic information about itself. Another AR tool that can overlay real time data on the physical device can help maintain­ability of assets. Operators can also use local Human Machine Interface (HMI) on their smart devices al­lowing them to be more efficient. Overall the ability of an operator to access the right information at the right time in a secure manner dras­tically improves their efficiency and knowledge. It is estimated that there is a 40-50 percent improvement in productivity of the operators due to the above

Smart Enterprise control

We can enable runtime high level enterprise controls such as Profit control, Production control through 1) ensuring better connectivity of Information Technology (IT) assets viz ERP, PLM, SCM with Operat­ing Technology (OT) assets viz sen­sors, actuators 2) enabling OT assets to be smart and 3) through software defined automation (SDA) that can help define high level priorities for the enterprise that drive control sys­tem behavior in the control rooms or shop floor. Tools that capture rules and best practices can also be used to drive down design and sys­tem engineering cycles and help in automatically validating the same as well. This overall realizes a 3-5 per­cent benefit in enterprise productiv­ity

It would be inappropriate to con­clude this article without dwelling on the importance of a cyber secure enterprise. Products are made cyber secure through a stringent adoption of the security life cycle development processes and products are tested, validated and certified by third party certification bodies

In Summary, IIoT is bringing about a world where smart connect­ed devices will be part of a larger sys­tem and co-operate with their inbuilt intelligence to enable a smart enter­prise where business value is realized through improvements to efficiency and profitability, increased cyber security and better management of safety.

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