Amongst all of the trends forecasted towards the end of 2016, a lot of predictions regarding how the IoT landscape is evolving have focused on what the outcome will be for industry and manufacturing, and in particular what the rise of the Smart Factory will look like. So, what’s happening on the factory floor?
Factories are beginning to introduce connectivity into both new and existing processes. The devices and equipment on the factory floor are becoming ‘smarter’, with embedded sensors that allow remote monitoring to both predict and report system health, meaning costly downtime can be avoided. Such sensors are also providing valuable real-time analytics that can be used to improve efficiencies, and identify opportunities for new revenue streams.
Furthermore, supply chain logistics can benefit immensely from IoT with solutions that monitor and track assets, whilst solutions that focus on energy management could also be a key area that could help reduce operating costs.
Much of the ability to monitor and control operations means process can be faster, more consistent, and incredibly efficient. Not only does this give businesses who adopt IoT solutions a competitive edge with a faster time to market, but reduces overall operational costs, whilst creating a safer environment for workers.
In fact, safety is one of the main drivers for what people are now referring to as the connected worker. Wearable technology such as smart glasses could help workers perform tasks quicker and make less mistakes, whilst movement, activity and speech sensors could keep them safer by identifying dangerous situations.
While many manufacturers are already investing heavily in IoT, risk can be a big factor for many factory owners. Traditionally, few owners in this sector tend to invest in new technology until it’s worth has been proved, and as IoT still remains a relatively young and progressive industry, many owners are biding their time. In addition, much of the equipment in factories is designed and built to have a long life cycle. So, while new equipment can be deployed with IoT solutions built in, older machinery needs to have the capability tacked on, or the investment will be left until it’s time to upgrade.
However, IoT investment in manufacturing specifically, has shown to increase revenues significantly, with a TATA Consultancy survey reporting those who adopted IoT solutions seeing a 28% increase in revenue between 2013 and 2014. Meanwhile, BI intelligence estimates annual manufacturing IoT investment to reach around $70 billion in 2020, with the installed base of IoT devices to more than triple from 2015’s 237 million to 923 million.
This will clearly be an exciting year in the ever expanding IoT landscape and we look forward to seeing a bigger push in governmental investment to make industry and manufacturing smarter worldwide.
At Pangea we can help you take advantage of the ever-growing IoT landscape. Our ecosystem of connectivity, devices, solutions and analytics can help you take those first steps in IoT, or help you expand your portfolio with end-to-end support. For more information you can get in touch with us here.