The number of internet of things (IoT) devices is expected to increase fivefold by 2025, and many of these devices will be within a manufacturing environment — fitting, as this is where the foundation of industrial IoT (IIoT) was laid decades ago. In fact, many of today’s most advanced IT asset management initiatives still use the manufacturing execution system infrastructure that has helped business owners manage shop floor controls for decades.
These existing systems have made it easier for manufacturers to implement IIoT compared with other industries — and they’re taking full advantage: U.S. manufacturing companies could account for as much as 15% of the country’s total IoT purchases through 2020.
Those that have already invested are reaping the business benefits of real-time data, including improving operations by optimizing existing tasks while uncovering new opportunities; streamlining production and maintenance through real-time data and predictive maintenance; and creating competitive advantages for product-oriented efforts by parsing market trends and behaviors.
Of course, to achieve this triple whammy of benefits, all these smart, connected devices must be supported by additional upgraded business intelligence and IT asset management capabilities. Manufacturers must look to sophisticated, centralized management strategies to manage all of these endpoints and ensure the safety of business-critical processes and data.
Managing IIoT in a Manufacturing Environment
Any “thing” with connectivity is an IT asset and must be managed as such, which ultimately changes the principles of manufacturing IT asset management. Both the quantity and the types of devices will add complexity to how an organization manages all the endpoints on its network, leading to the potential for security, spending and inventory gaps.
Additionally, this more complex digital ecosystem will require manufacturers to implement ways to maintain control and visibility over their inventory, as well as ensure all IoT devices remain up and running to prevent downtime.
When considering a platform that can manage IoT devices, as well as every other technology asset within a manufacturing environment, manufacturers should bear in mind three tips:
- Simplify technology management across the entire manufacturing ecosystem by managing all assets, such as sensors, mobile devices, smart machines and cloud services, using one single platform.
- Incorporating IoT will often mean manufacturers can do more with fewer technologies and save on costs. With a way to see all technology expenses in one place, manufacturers can find ways to streamline assets, manage contracts and vendors, and eliminate redundancies.
- The beauty of IoT is the sheer amount of data a connected environment creates. A platform that can translate all this data into actionable reporting will help manufacturers identify trends, areas of overspend, performance gaps and opportunities for optimization, which ensures valuable insights aren’t lost within those mountains of data.
Managing IoT endpoints will be a critical part of the new manufacturing ecosystem — and in turn, will help manufacturers reach new heights of efficiency, productivity, innovation and profitability.