IoT (Internet of Things), IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things), and Industry 4.0 – all of these are essential terms in the current industrial ecosystem. So, it’s important to eradicate the misunderstandings surrounding each of these terms and outline the advantages organisations can avail by critically understanding them. IIoT – or Industry 4.0 – refers to linking and connecting machines on centralised data management platforms, which in turn boosts the productivity and efficiency of these devices. IIoT and Industry 4.0 have enabled the possibility of developing ‘smart factories.’ Understanding these terms in a few sentences is close to impossible, which makes it important to understand the various subcategories of these technologies.
- The Cloud
Cloud computing refers to making computer system data – especially storage and other forms of data – readily available on demand without direct active management by the user. Shifting from conventional methods of storage to cloud servers facilitates the availability of data wherever and whenever needed. Additionally, the cloud allows organisations to divert their attention to their main expertise, rather than wasting time and resources on IT development and maintenance.
- Augmented Reality
Augmented reality (AR) refers to a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that inculcates the capabilities of computer-generated features to enhance a user’s real-world experience. AR technology can be used in devices such as phones and tablets, as well as wearable technology like smartwatches and smart glasses.
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence, commonly referred to as AI, is the technology of machine and computer learning. Devices in today’s age can analyse their environment to take suitable actions based on that environment to maximise output and efficiency. The application of AI has been the most prevalent in the food industry. Machines have been developed that are capable of identifying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ products for packaging.
The escalating demand for cloud and internet-based functions increases the necessity for the safety of IT systems from any theft of or damage to their hardware and software. Cyber security includes monitoring physical access to system hardware, as well as protecting the system from the danger of hacks and viruses.
Benefits of Industrial IOT/ Industry 4.0
Advanced levels of data storing and analysis have made it easy to predict potential system failures and damages. This allows workers to schedule equipment maintenance and repair at a convenient time, rather than waiting for a crisis to hit and then take measures. This will just end up leading to higher unproductivity and inefficiency.
- Demand Prediction
Big data analytics can allow businesses to study and analyse market trends associated with their products, while AI can then help with inventory review and tracking of market pricing. This results in accurate demand forecasting, which eventually results in greater margins and an improved return on investments.
- Employee Training
The utilisation of technology and automation in training has boosted productivity levels and performance. Phenomena like VR and AR allow employees to easily understand the processes and requirements of new businesses. Online training reduces the expenditure of the company and increases employee motivation and engagement.
It is necessary for all companies – large and small – to prepare for and embrace Industry 4.0. Technology is bound to enhance all functions in businesses and the investment will pay for itself within just a year or two.