In previous posts I’ve covered the benefits the IIoT offers in food and beverage for both companies and consumers. But one thing we haven’t discussed is how easy it can be to get started with the IIoT.
While the IIoT and digital transformation may sound intimidating, there are several factors that make these deployments less complicated than you might initially think, especially if you focus your efforts on extending the value of your current investments. This blog post will cover three reasons implementing the IIoT can be simple and straightforward.
One of the main benefits the IIoT offers is an alternate, non-intrusive path for data collection and analytics. This means upgrades can be completed without connecting, rewiring or changing existing equipment control systems and PLCs. IIoT devices and wireless connectivity can easily capture sensor data without dramatic wiring needs. These “shadow sensors” collect data directly from plant assets and production processes and send it to the cloud for processing and storage. “Shadow sensors” enable visualization, alerts, workflow management, advanced analytics and intelligence at both the plant and enterprise level. This makes these implementations a pure value add. There is no need to worry about the additional headaches of legacy system integrations, equipment reliability risks, warranty issues or 3rd party intellectual property complications.
The second major advantage of the IIoT is low complexity because of the very limited infrastructure and support needs. First, the IT infrastructure does not have to be sophisticated, so your existing system might just need minor enhancements. With the IIoT there is no need to invest in extensive Ethernet cabling and an air-conditioned room full of servers to implement MES or predictive maintenance functionality. IIoT and Edge devices or smart sensors can capture data from the process and assets and send it directly into the cloud. Operators and decision makers in the plant can receive actionable information through browsers on their existing workstations or mobile devices. This is especially useful for areas with semi-automated or manual operations. These advances mean it’s now possible to leverage the benefits of digital transformation where such deployments would previously have not been possible or feasible.
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In addition, the IIoT doesn’t require a complex IT support system. Unlike on-premises software, these projects don’t need a large on-site IT staff to administrate, troubleshoot, maintain and update the system. This makes IIoT and cloud application solutions feasible in areas that wouldn’t traditionally have been able to justify such investment.
Quick time to value
Finally, the IIoT can provide fast time to value. Because these projects are simple to deploy and set up, customers can quickly see return on their investment. This is especially true when companies begin exploring applications that take advantage of cloud computing capabilities and software as a service subscriptions, as they offer incredible commercial and technical flexibility.
Cloud-based software applications are easy to deploy and scale from a single line to multiple distributed plants and assets. This means companies can essentially provision exactly the system they want, when and where they need it. Where previously a manufacturing operations management solution was a local deployment, cloud platforms offer enterprise scalability in application performance, number of users and data storage capacity. Being able to target where and when to deploy a system and best practices across the business means two things. First, an even faster time to value and second, a better return on investment.
Implementing the IIoT doesn’t have to be a major lift. Using the right tools, companies can begin their digital transformation quickly and easily. To learn more about the IIoT and start getting value today, check out our cloud IIoT platform and software solutions and sign up free today at https://online.wonderware.com!