Factory Female Industrial Engineer working with automation robot arms machine in intelligent factory industrial on real time monitoring system software.Digital future manufacture.
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As technological innovations continue to expand and redefine how we work, organizations are looking to seize the moment to apply these innovations to accelerate business operations. One of the ways technology has redefined business operations in recent years is through the industrial Internet of Things or industry 4.0.

IIoT refers to the application of IoT in industries to speed up the manufacturing process, gain deep insight into production activities, create a smarter working environment and gain a competitive advantage.

SEE: Hiring Kit: IoT developer (TechRepublic Premium)

Although IIoT is still evolving, the market already looks bright. A recent Future Market Insights report predicts that the global industrial IoT market is expected to grow from $323 billion in 2021 to $1.3 trillion by 2032 at a CAGR of 12.2%.

What are the benefits of industrial IoT?

Before now, the popular notion was that IIoT offers services mainly to the manufacturing industries. However, its current application and expansion show that its benefits span other sectors.

IIoT helps industries to optimize and automate many operational processes, such as big data analytics, robotics, AI/ML and 5G. Traditional physical machines can be transformed and connected to intelligent software through sensors for better performance monitoring.

It can also help reduce errors in companies. For example, manufacturers can digitize their operations, reduce manual processes, and in doing so, cut down the errors associated with manual control of manufacturing operations.

IIoT solutions can also help organizations reduce the cost of operations. Through the application of data-driven insights to the operations, monitoring and marketing processes, organizations can boost their revenue by having a clear direction of what should be retained or ejected from the operation processes.

Top 5 industrial IoT use cases

Predictive maintenance

Predictive maintenance is the ability of a machine to self-detect when maintenance is necessary. Before now, organizations relied on periodic in-person services to maintain their equipment, but the emergence of IIoT has opened up new possibilities.

With IIoT solutions, organizations can incorporate wireless IoT sensor data to detect and alert workers of pending maintenance issues. This solution ensures that machines are well taken care of as at when due and boosts machine uptime.

Remote monitoring and control

Remote quality monitoring and control help companies to keep their machines in optimal conditions in hard-to-reach locations. Besides providing regular updates on the mechanical status or quality of out-of-reach machines, IIoT also takes things further by offering the ability to remotely activate equipment, change their setting, and stop their processes as quality control measures.

For instance, IoT sensors can detect leakage in water pumps and pollutants in water by alerting and activating shutdown processes regardless of the location in real-time. In addition, pharmaceutical companies can deploy IIoT to monitor and control their chemical processing plants remotely.

Energy optimization

IIoT can be applied in optimizing energy consumption in heavy industrial machines and other devices that require a lot of energy to run. With this, it becomes easier for companies to adjust their energy needs automatically during peak production and lower the energy needed when production is less, thereby minimizing energy waste.

In other words, the energy optimization capacity of IIoT ensures that expenses made on energy consumption in the industrial sector are commensurate with the production level recorded.

Asset tracking

Asset tracking allows companies to track and monitor their critical assets with AI-enabled sensors. Modern supply chain-related businesses rely heavily on asset-tracking solutions to maintain inventory levels, optimize logistics and ensure their critical assets’ safety.

Fleet management in vehicles and ships are notable areas where IIoT is in use. In maritime shipping, for instance, companies can use sensors to track individual cargo containers at sea. Some of these containers maintain a certain degree of temperature, and smart temperature sensor technologies help to ensure that the temperature of each cargo does not go off the approved level.

Smart metering

Before now, power companies, water supply and gas stations relied on traditional meters to measure the total consumption of these natural resources. However, IoT-powered smart meters help these sectors measure energy, water and gas consumption while simultaneously recording when and how these resources were consumed.

With smart meter technology, power companies can detect consumer usage and adjust prices accordingly without studying consumption rates manually. Smart metering also provides visibility for power consumption down to the meter, enabling power stations to manage demand loads and optimize energy distributions better.

Further reading

If you’re working toward implementing IIoT within your enterprise, selecting the right software is critical. There are hundreds of IIoT platforms, and each one is slightly different from the next, so how do you choose? This article, including links to TechRepublic Premium resources, can help.