Industrial Internet of Things and its Impact on the Enterprise
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
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
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.