Blog co-authored by:
- Zach Tinkler, Business Development Manager, Panel Builders
- Thomas Eck, Team Lead, Marketing Communications
Two macro trends are impacting every aspect of our lives: the need for information anytime, anywhere and the need for products to be connected to make this happen. While you can debate which one came first, you cannot debate that the Internet of Things revolution is here to stay.
We have seen the value of “connected products” become more instrumental in all facets of our lives and we continue to explore more exciting and inventive ways to use this in everyday life, like connecting clothing items to measure heart rate and temperature or controlling our entire home systems through an app on our phones.
We have seen a similar evolution with industrial connected product, the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT. It will be up to Developers and Installers to design and build this connected reality.
Developers and Installers have started embracing the IIoT trend as the demand from the market for IIoT continues to grow stronger every day. A critical aspect of applying IIoT is recognizing what connectivity means to the end users. By designing machines from the start with communications-ready devices, Developers and Installers are ensuring a more integrated approach for their customer’s existing system, connecting and communicating easily to provide real-time insight into that customer’s process, regardless of an individual machine’s original manufacturer.
Connected products offer more data on the status of a machine or process. However, that’s only the first step. That information then needs to be pushed to a cloud platform to be analyzed to become truly valuable. But, what ‘analyzed’ means varies by stakeholder:
- Floor manager – This could mean the number of cycles per machine on their floor
- Plant manager – This could mean the overall operational efficiency of their plant
- C-Suite manager – This could mean the overall profitability of their entire operation
Cloud computing allows each of these stakeholders to have access to comprehensive data in near-real-time to make decisions no matter where they are. By selecting a dashboard that serves the information they need, they can leverage that data to make decisions. Then, they can see the impact of those decisions through that same near-real-time data cycle.
This IIoT-based management information cycle is faster than business has ever had access to previously, allowing each stakeholder to truly take an active role in all levels of their process management.
A Call to Action
The implication of the IIoT for Developers and Installers is the need to understand what connected solutions manufactures are offering and which solutions can easily/effectively be incorporated into future designs to meet the end user customer’s demands for IIoT implementation and advancement.
Therein lies a challenge – how do you select the right manufacturer for such hardware? Ideally, you would align with a partner that offers new connected products that can easily be incorporated into a customer’s existing platform. But then, what about software? The right software partner would offer solutions that would easily manage both those new components and the customer’s existing ones. So, what about both?