It’s 2021. How’s your IIoT program doing?

If you’ve been waiting until the time is right to begin focusing on your Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) initiatives, you just might be waiting too long.

The fact is that the concept of interconnected applications, equipment, and technology is more than just an abstraction. The IIoT market is forecast to grow to $110.6 billion by 2025 from $77.3 billion in 2020, at a CAGR of 7.4%, according to MarketsandMarkets.com. Moreover, a survey that we at Fluke conducted prior to the COVID-19 pandemic determined that 50% of the maintenance and reliability pros who responded already had IIoT projects in the planning stages.

More evidence of growth in the IIoT market came in a December 2019 paper from the Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, titled, “Customer Expectation from Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).” It discusses how “the rush of technological change will consolidate the worldwide reach of the internet with more capacity, specifically to control the physical world, including the machines, industrial facilities, and frameworks that characterize cutting-edge technology.” The paper’s findings state that “The IIoT has the potential to provide a high level of synergies between the 4 Ms of manufacturing, namely, man, machine, material, and method.”

It’s all about connections

IIoT is the idea that connections between the digital (e.g., mobile devices and computers) and physical worlds (e.g., plant equipment and test equipment) improve information exchange by enabling them to communicate more effectively.

This capability has prompted technicians to expand the use of IIoT technologies in factories across the globe. The results are impressive: An SAP study found that organizations that implemented IIoT-enhanced systems were more likely to be industry leaders and “world-class” organizations.

More importantly, they were more likely to have larger profits than similar companies that did not implement IIoT devices.

IIoT’s benefits in the manufacturing world

At the manufacturing plant level, synergies between the “4 Ms” reflect the value companies are discovering as they implement IIoT devices that can:

  • Empower maintenance teams with semi-fixed and fixed sensors that are easy to install
  • Receive faster knowledge of, and react sooner to, potential failures with alarm notifications sent to mobile devices
  • Stay aware of conditions with the ability to view data remotely on computers and mobile devices
  • Discover patterns and insights on your machine’s health with real-time and historical trending information
  • Perform more in-depth analysis and generate reports on your equipment by exporting critical data

Getting what you need to be effective

The beauty of IIoT devices is their flexibility. Users are finding new ways to leverage technology in virtually any scenario where machines generate conditions that can be read and interpreted as data.

For example, vibration, temperature, and/or power data from an asset can be captured automatically and sent to cloud software—such as Fluke Connect—which can immediately inform teams of alert situations.

Working more efficiently with remote monitoring

Companies around the world learned a lot about remote working in 2020. For one thing, they discovered (or rediscovered) the ability to maintain business-critical machines with many maintenance and reliability professionals working away from the plant. As a result, technologies that maintenance organizations may have viewed as “maybe later this year” are now regarded as much more urgent.

As we navigate toward a post-pandemic environment, companies continue to seek solutions for monitoring asset health, managing teams, and prioritizing maintenance activities remotely.

You can apply that to the concept of remote monitoring. This approach uses IIoT technology to eliminate dependence on physical routes and operator input. It’s about preferring meaningful data to big data. Remote monitoring provides the flexibility to send data to multiple destinations and prioritizing work based on organization needs. And it has the advantage of leveraging real-time data.

Thanks to the Internet and remote monitoring software, you can view machine condition data from across the planet. For example, devices such as the Prüftechnik VibGuard IIoT, Vibronet Signalmaster, and VibScanner 2 employ IIoT capabilities for pushing collected data to digital dashboards, HMI systems, and email notifications. That means plant managers, engineers, vibration analysts, and technicians can check machine health from their PC or mobile device at home or in the office. This real-time data helps teams make decisions wherever they’re working.

2021 is a perfect time to advance your IIoT capabilities

Throughout 2020, we saw and heard many inspiring stories from our customers. These highlighted their ability to keep their plants operating and fulfill their mission because they now have a connected infrastructure—something that was a pipe dream only a few years ago. Many companies form their IIoT strategy from a pilot or proof of concept in the context of this infrastructure.

If you’re considering using a pilot to advance your IIoT capabilities, be sure to:

  • Understand why you need to make a change. What do you want to achieve? What will it mean for your company?
  • Understand who can make it real. Seek out a company that is sincere in its desire to partner.
  • Understand how you will recognize success. What kind of metrics are you looking for? How will you identify qualitative achievements?

The benefits of deep IIoT expertise

The most powerful IIoT implementations are the result of effective partnerships. At Fluke, we’ve been working in this area for more than a decade. As part of a Fortune 500 company, we have the experience and capabilities to build and maintain those kinds of partnerships.

Our goal is to help our clients achieve a successful vision and create synergies in the larger industry that demonstrate stability, security, and a mature vision.

We look forward to working with you in the dynamic world of IIoT in 2021.

Sources cited in this article include:

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