According to a recent Zion Market Research report, the global Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is expected to reach $232 billion by 2023, with the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region witnessing the maximum levels of growth. As this growing trend continues to make its way into more industrial operations, what does the future hold for IIoT? Here, John Young, APAC sales director for industrial equipment supplier, EU Automation, explains.
The rising implementation of IIoT in the manufacturing market has the potential to give companies a way to enhance visibility in industrial operations, creating accurate and knowledgeable insight across every step of the production cycle and process in real-time.
Companies are already benefiting from the implementation of IIoT networks through predictive maintenance and improved safety, ultimately leading to an increase in connectivity, scalability, cost savings and efficiency.
While both IIoT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are major players in shaping the technological and industrial future, there is no denying that merging both together would be an exceptionally powerful combination. This hasn’t gone unnoticed in the APAC region, where information companies like Fujitsu are already starting to dedicate resources to pursuing IIoT and AI symbiosis.
AI will start to bring together the production cycle in a way that is not currently possible. AI and IIoT collaborations can collect, quickly analyse and accurately make sense of big data, putting that information to use in solving real-world problems. Ultimately, this combination will help design more efficient IoT networks by ensuring adequate capacity and avoiding overbuilding on the system, developing an understanding of where additional data does not necessarily lead to better outcomes.
As both technologies are still in the relative infancy of their development cycles, the reality is a little more complex, as companies must consider how legacy systems are handled. Known to have a long-life span, the cost of upgrading or replacing legacy assets to facilitate communication could easily outweigh any foreseeable production benefits.
However, an increasing number of companies are opting to retrofit older equipment with sensors; allowing them to stay in tune with business needs at a lower investment. This can lead to risks of obsolete equipment needing updating or more routine maintenance, which can be supported by collaborating with an industrial and obsolete parts supplier like EU Automation.
With the continued advancement of Machine-to-Machine learning and technology, the Smart Factory is set to be an intelligent, integrated network of wireless machines, analysing and collaborating to enhance the production cycle. The majority of these machines are currently working in the production line, but the number of devices working in the background connecting every process and machine in the manufacturing chain is increasing rapidly.
In order to provide all the benefits of complete industrial automation with a smart factory, an effective and efficient Machine-to-Machine device management platform will be key to ensuring consistent connectivity to the complicated ecosystem, ultimately driving real-time, efficiency-driven automation.
This leap into a fully integrated smart factory will not only lower costs throughout the production cycle, it will also analyse and modify processes to optimise efficiencies sourced from new information from processes and other inputs to create a consistent, economical workplace with little waste.
IIoT is set to transform the manufacturing landscape, rapidly advancing and changing the face of the production cycle. With the Asia-Pacific region anticipated to witness the highest annual growth rate over a five-year period, progressively adopting advanced technologies matched with either AI or Machine-to-Machine technology will create an industrial powerhouse of efficiency and automation, able to keep pace with a constantly evolving industry.