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October 2016

Is Big Data Going to Unlock the Potential of IIoT?

Is Big Data Going to Unlock the Potential of IIoT? The Internet of Things (IoT) has already shown the world its potential, allowing network connectivity between devices and appliances that under normal circumstances wouldn’t be able to communicate intelligently with one another. To the layperson, the IoT can be used to simplify their daily lives, like owning a refrigerator that can send updates to a mobile device as to its depleting contents.

Is Big Data Going to Unlock the Potential of IIoT

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Societal and daily living conveniences aside, the true promise for the IoT may emerge as the industrial and manufacturing sector continue to examine the many ways the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – particularly when used with big data – can increase the efficiency of complex manufacturing processes.

While manufacturing plants the world over are by no means devoid of the IoT, the demand for developing an open-source, cross-platform UA which can offer a much deeper interoperability between devices and machinery, advanced command and control, and more sophisticated data analytic capabilities is very real.

Open source industrial software, with a focus on interoperability, is a charge led by companies like Microsoft, which will allow more industrial users to manipulate the software to meet their very specific needs

The Impact of Big Data

The value of big data is enormous; by some estimates, the industry could be worth $500 billion annually in less that five years time. Further, research shows that nearly three quarters of manufacturers are funnelling at least 20% of their technology budgets into big data analytics, which can ultimately allow them to improve and refine their processes.

From an operational perspective, big data is more valuable the more data points there are to examine. This means that big data and the IIoT work very well to not only save companies money, but to also to increase the amount it earns. For starters, proactive maintenance of machinery can result in as much as a 12% savings when compared to regularly scheduled maintenance tasks. This translates to a reduction – a whopping 70% - in downtime caused by machine malfunctions or breakdowns. Isn’t it just amazing how all of this can be accomplished by extracting and examining analytical information?

Data collected by IIoT-enabled machinery can also be analyzed to find inefficiencies and areas of opportunities within an assembly line, thereby increasing the net profitability of the facility.

These efficiencies are by no means confined to the physical process of manufacturing goods. Take HVAC systems for example. Heating and cooling consumes a large swath of society’s energy consumption as a whole, something that is equally true in the manufacturing sector. Keeping vital components from overheating therefore is of the utmost importance. A plant manager could install an AC unit with a variable speed motor (something that could improve energy efficiency by up to 30%), but so much more can be accomplished if the unit is equipped with sensors and a smart processor capable of collecting data and issuing the command to vary the speed of the motor automatically.

Though it may not appear to be the case to an outsider, or to someone that doesn’t work in the industry, but the manufacturing industry is truly on the cusp of real change – making the relevant industry programs offered by George Brown College all the more important. By enrolling in one of their numerous online technology courses, students will learn all about these emerging industry trends and the skills they need to fill the impending demand for skilled labour in this revitalized sector.

Will Big Data and the IIoT Increase or Decrease the Number of Jobs in the Industry?

The idea that the implementation of big data and the Industrial Internet of Things within the industrial and manufacturing sectors will diminish the number of opportunities for those with sought after skills is a fallacy. In fact, it’s likely the opposite will be true. In addition to an increased need for those capable of interpreting the data that is collected, there will also be a need for those with the skillset necessary to install and service this IIoT-enabled equipment.