The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a growth market. How much growth depends on the source. Some analysts claim IoT revenue for 2020 was $381 billion; others believe the 2020 revenue was $745 billion. With 127 new devices connecting to the internet every second, it’s hard to track the market growth, except to say it’s growing rapidly.

More important than an accurate number of devices are 2022 IIoT updates that highlight who is deploying these devices and why. The is especially true for organizations competing in the following markets:

  • Manufacturing
  • Transportation and Logistics
  • Energy and Utilities

These industries are the top three users of IIoT technologies. They deploy IIoT to reduce expenditures, optimize efficiencies, and advance their digital transformation that is Industry 4.0. 

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0. Digital transformation. Sustainable innovation. No matter what it’s called, the focus is on combining traditional practices with new technologies to facilitate growth. Specifically, organizations will use IIoT to:

  • Improve efficiency
  • Increase productivity
  • Create growth opportunities 

These are three key 2022 IIoT updates for any organization working towards digital transformation.

2022 IIoT Update on Efficiency

Automation is foundational to improved efficiency. IIoT devices are designed to collect and manage data that can be used throughout an enterprise to create a more efficient operation. For example, IIoT data can be consolidated and ingested by machine learning algorithms to perform routine tasks. The automated devices operate 24/7 without breaks and make fewer errors. Given the shortage of skilled labor, automation can help fill the gap. It allows companies to reallocate skilled labor to higher functioning tasks, leaving the mundane efforts to machines.

IIoT will play a more significant role in improving supply chain efficiencies. The supply chain challenges are expected to continue throughout 2022 and into 2023. Deploying more IIoT devices throughout the supply chain can help companies manage their resources to minimize disruption. According to Forrester, IIoT’s expansion rate will be 10% to 15% lower because the supply chain is not operating as effectively as it should. Companies need to leverage the data collected at the edge of the enterprise to decrease the impact on operations because of supply chain disruption.

IIoT devices are used for predictive maintenance and job safety. Their low latency and continual collection of performance data can help organizations repair or replace equipment before it fails. The IIoT sensors can also report on environmental factors that may impact the performance of equipment and the workforce. Regulating temperature or air quality, for example, can create the optimum environmental conditions for humans and machines. 

Productivity’s 2022 IIoT Update

Of 2022 IIoT updates, increased productivity will be the most challenging because of labor shortages and supply chain delays. Using IIoT data to expand machine learning technologies can reduce productivity losses as a result of labor shortages. The technology can handle more complex tasks as artificial intelligence is added to automation. The data IIoT devices collect can aid the development of AI-based automation, making it easier for companies to do more with a smaller workforce.

Supply chain issues not only impact efficient operations. They also affect productivity. If the parts are not available to produce an item, everything comes to a standstill. With IIoT devices returning data from the edge, companies can identify problems in the transportation and logistics of materials. If temperature-sensitive parts are delayed in a hot environment, businesses can be notified through IIoT devices attached to the shipment that a critical environment condition is possible. Armed with the information, companies can make adjustments before the inventory is damaged, causing further disruption in the supply chain.

Business Opportunities With IIoT

IIoT collects data across an enterprise, eliminating silos where data remained untouched. By consolidating the information into a single source of truth, organizations can see what is happening across their ecosystems. That translates into opportunities to improve operations and increase productivity. That same data can enable informed decisions about growth potential.

For example, an expensive piece of equipment has behaved erratically, and the floor supervisor wants to replace the machine. With IIoT, companies can pull the data to determine what is generating the behavior. In this instance, the problem was overheating that occurred after hours. The temperature control system was programmed to maintain a higher room temperature after the plant closed for the day.

Unfortunately, the higher room temperature pushed the equipment dangerously close to a critical event. Because it never reached criticality, no one was notified of the problem. By using IIoT data, the equipment was not replaced, leaving revenue available to take advantage of new business opportunities. This example provides corporations with the data to evaluate opportunity costs when assessing potential growth options. 

2022 IIoT Networking Updates

IIoT devices rely on networks. Without reliable networks, the technology cannot generate and transmit data. Any network downtime impacts the bottom line. That’s why having optimum network hardware such as industrial switches is essential to a successful IIoT deployment.

For companies to access data at the edge of their enterprise, they need reliable communications. A faulty switch or network connector can cause havoc in an environment that depends on real-time access to data. Establishing a sound strategy to protect an intelligent edge and ensure data is available when needed means building a resilient network.

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