Building cross-boundary collaborative solutions for next-gen IoT-enabled operations

  • Posted by admin on November 9, 2017

Over the past few decades, IIoT technologies have crept into virtually every aspect of industrial automation and operations. Seamless connectivity, technology-agnostic interoperability and data-uniformity have enabled operators to easily monitor, manage and leverage data from any number of proprietary assets and processes in ways that, before, were simply cost prohibitive.

During this time, we’ve also seen the influence of the IIoT extend beyond the factory floor to the cloud. The omnipresent IoT liberates inexhaustible quantities of real-time data and metrics that flow cloud-bound to feed insatiable analytics, predictive AI and enterprise data applications; a holy grail manifested in the form of absolute (almost clairvoyant) awareness, intelligence and knowledge… at least this was the plan, says Nitesh Arora, head of Marketing of Cloudleaf.

Pretty sensational stuff, so let’s come down to earth and talk facts:

All too often, these IoT solutions were designed, implemented and managed on the underlying principle of providing efficiency through automation. In the race to digitise, far less thought was given to the real value of the IoT and its ability to help enterprises future-proof their capital investments by providing the means (not the end) to solving real-world business challenges.

As a matter of course, many enterprises implemented technology simply for technology’s sake and after the novelty wore off, operators were left with yet one more system to learn, maintain and pay-off. Even under the best scenarios, operation managers found that their IoT footprint was anything but low-overhead; the majority of IoT solutions on the market require significant allocation of implementation, integration and training resources.

More importantly, these solutions added unnecessary operational complexity that forced enterprises to shift focus from their core-competencies, building collaborate partnerships, managing staff, enhancing customer user-experiences and maintaining government mandated safety standards.

Today, few industrial IoT solutions are engineered from the ground-up to solve business challenges and uncover opportunities in a sustainable value-added way, and if you ask operation managers what their top 4 pain-points are, they’ll likely say:

I don’t have a way to efficiently orchestrate our complex workflows of materials, tools and people,
I can’t track the location or condition of my assets, or prevent them from getting lost or stolen
I have no idea how to leverage our partner relationships and tie into their inventory systems
I don’t have a good way of keeping my operational costs in check

Fortunately a new-breed of IoT solutions has recently come on-line offering a collection of robust technologies that go the extra mile to provide simplicity and the sustainable industry-centric solutions operation managers are looking for. So before we get ahead of our skis, let’s take a look a 4 essential ingredients that go into successful IoT asset tracking and workflow optimisation solutions:

Robust and battle-tested tech

IoT solutions must be able to rely on technology that is robust, interoperable, cost-effective and offers high-availability functioning. By equipping assets with unobtrusive medium-range wireless transmitters (such as Bluetooth-low-energy), plant managers can quickly build smart networks of IoT-capable sensors, gateways and channel and real-time operational data into their cloud applications.

This provides managers with virtually unlimited control over large groups of […]

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