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How the IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) is changing the way companies provide service

We are living in a connected world. From the phone in our hands, it is possible to control smart household appliances remotely, and many of us sport the latest wearable devices that monitor our every move, and delights on reporting back to us how active (or not) we have been.

This is all possible because of the Internet of Things. Take this one step further to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and below we can see how this technology is enabling companies to provide superior service to manufacturers.

So, what is the IIoT and how can it deliver superior service? define the IIoT as “machines, computers and people enabling intelligent industrial operations using advanced data analytics for transformational business outcomes”.

IIoT enables companies to see data in real-time and visualise this information better. It also permits the extrapolation into future models to accurately predict when something might go wrong with equipment and thereby allow companies to take preventative action.

An unplanned downtime usually costs a lot more in disruption, stress, and ultimately £££s than a planned shutdown for preventative maintenance. It makes sense that if the system flags an issue before it becomes a major problem, the downtime can be managed effectively saving time and money.

Remote monitoring, troubleshooting and even remote control by an online support team is now possible. Remote training opportunities with global experts on actual equipment can be delivered to reduce human error and optimise output. This remote element brings enhanced efficiencies and sustainability – saving time and money for the manufacturer and reducing carbon footprint through reduced travelling around the country to sites for call outs.

This is the connected future:

  • Harnessing IIoT information and machine learning to pre-empt issues and prevent costly downtime.
  • The ability for in-house technical teams to remotely health-check other equipment whilst field service engineer is on-site and available to carry out any required repairs or maintenance. Thus proactively eliminating potential downtime at no extra call-out cost to the manufacturer.

Consumables alerts: the customer may be unaware that equipment has unexpectedly run out of consumables. Through IIoT connection, technical support engineers alert the customer to replenish. Downtime can be kept to a minimum, saving customers time and money.

The Institute for Manufacturing outlines a scenario of the benefits IIoT can bring to the manufacturing sector:

“Take a company which makes, sells and leases its products and also provides maintenance and repair services for them. Its products contain sensors which collect vast amounts of data, allowing the company to monitor them remotely and diagnose any problems. If this data is combined with existing operational data, advanced engineering analytics and forward-looking business intelligence, the company can offer a ‘condition-based monitoring service’, able to analyse and predict equipment faults. For the customer, unexpected downtime becomes a thing of the past, repair costs are reduced and the intervals between services increased. Intelligent analytics can even show them how to use the equipment at optimum efficiency.”

But where are we now - how widespread is the adoption of IIoT?

The implementation of IIoT is continuing at a pace and below are some eye-opening statistics on the manufacturing sector from an IIoT Maturity Survey conducted by Bsquare.*

  • 77% of manufacturers surveyed currently have an IIoT solution in place
  • 44% have already used IIoT for the past 12 months
  • 33% established their IIoT solution in the past 12 months
  • 98% of adopters indicate their solutions are very or somewhat important for their company
  • 76% of manufacturers have opted for a cloud based IIoT solution whereas 24% have opted for a on-premises option

*From Bsquare 2017 IIoT Maturity Survey pp 15. (Bsquare surveyed more than 300 senior-level IIoT influencers and decision-makers across the manufacturing, transportation, and Oil & Gas industries. Percentages quoted are based solely on the manufacturing sector).

The IIoT is here to stay and its growth throughout the manufacturing sector will continue as companies appreciate the many benefits it brings. The interconnectivity between devices, humans and production lines will enable manufacturers to predict the future and unlock efficiencies that have previously only been in the realms of science fiction.

If you would like to find out more about how IIoT can help your business stay ahead of servicing requirements and prevent costly unplanned downtime, please contact a member of the Linx Team.

See how Linx leverages IIoT to deliver customer service excellence