We are on the brink of a simmering industrial revolution where IOT sometimes feels like an alchemical sorcerer’s stone that could turn anything to gold. Industrial Internet of Things or IIOT actually does have solutions to a lot of problems faced by the industry and beyond, but faces its own unique challenges too. IIOT is a composite of multiple factors that bring together several connected devices including legacy systems and make them work in tandem along with smart devices that are assisted by artificial intelligence (AI). Today’s technology has the potential to build a fully functional IIOT solution on an existing framework of enterprise mobility by adding more devices to an existing network of connected people and devices.
Spiderman eventually learns, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. IIOT faces unprecedented hurdles because it can provide an enterprise with Big Data analytics and Artificial Intelligence at its fingertips. Data security is primary concern for most enterprises and their clients. The cloud provides an easily scalable model for most industries but the challenge lies in making the data secure in transit and during storage. Creating multiple levels of encryption can result in the slowing systems down particularly while handling large amounts of data. But how is all this being managed? The fast developing industrial IOT segment is facing these challenges by leveraging a mix of artificial and human intelligence.
2018 will witness a lot of changes with faster acceptance of Industrial IOT into various industries. The food supply chain for example. Creating an IIOT solution requires intelligent devices every step of the way spanning production, processing, packing, transportation, storage, shelf display to consumption. As a result, every step of the food storage process is equipped with sensors that constantly relay data to a central system that regulates the temperature. Furthermore using AI, alerts can be created for the requisite temperature range and accordingly, the system can increase or decrease the cooling to maintain optimum temperature for food at all times. An IOT enabled system will minimize error and also reduce the manpower required for the industry. This in turn results in huge savings while delivering safer and better tasting food.
Industrial IOT is the environmental warrior that many industries are adopting increasingly. In another example, an effective Industrial IOT solution can creates better utilization of resources at oil wells and enables predictive maintenance at oil and gas pipelines in vast geographies. Intelligent sensors at gas pipelines allow for centralized monitoring and maintenance of oil and gas pipelines across vast stretches of land, sea, aquifers by reducing spillages. The United States today has an estimated 305,000 miles of natural gas transmission pipelines, much of which passes through sparsely populated regions. An IIOT solution helps in real time monitoring of these pipelines. With this deployment all assets of oil wells and compressor stations send real time data to a centralized system where each parameter is observed and monitored. Different alarms are triggered for any deviation from the set standards. In this case AI helps in monitoring the systems and in analyzing behavioral trends during different atmospheric conditions, so that preventive maintenance can be done. Hence, it is no surprise that IIOT is redefining possibilities for Oil and gas companies the world over.
We live in a world that is measuring time in nanoseconds and bytes. The lines between official and personal, real and imaginary, enterprise and people, real and virtual have come closer, intersected and created a matrix where the rules are changing at lightning speed. Against this backdrop, the greatest advantage of IIOT is that it is born out of the changing times. An IIOT solution draws its power from big data, artificial intelligence and the exceptional quality of human beings to make sense of it all.
The writer is the Co-founder and CEO of Integration Wizards, an Enterprise Mobility and IoT solutions provider.