Harness the Power of the Internet of Things (IoT) in Manufacturing

By Abdullah Javid, IoT Enterprise Solution Architect at Mazik Global

The era of the Internet of Things (IoT) has dawned, propelled by the growth of cloud technology and connectivity. IoT solutions are here to stay, and they have—and will continue to—transform the way our world operates. The Internet of Things is changing the way many manufacturers interact with their products and customers—influencing manufacturing giants to shift their emphasis from how well they manufacture their products to how well their customers consume and benefit from those products.

The applications and challenges of IoT solutions vary across each industry and organization. Enterprises today struggle to understand not only how to build IoT solutions into their businesses but also how to calculate the associated costs. Many companies view these challenges as major inhibitors to even considering investment in IoT solutions. At the same time, they realize that neglecting to implement IoT solutions today will soon leave them behind the curve, holding them back from capitalizing on huge opportunities to penetrate new markets and provide deeper value to their customers. Furthermore, organizations that do choose to implement IoT solutions must then figure out which exact use-cases best fit their business needs and how they can properly monetize those applications to support continued innovation.

Today, we live in a world in which IoT has the potential to solve the major challenges of any industry. For heavy equipment manufacturers, the concept of sensing, tracking, and reporting vehicle telematics and machine health on local control panels has never been a foreign idea, but this capability was not possible for remote machines until IoT systems brought the power of remote data transfer. Now the ability to remotely monitor the activities and notifications from unplanned events or failures can improve the security of equipment and the safety of the people around it. Manufacturers using IoT solutions leverage the data they capture over time to predict machine failures and maintenance requirements. They also analyze this data to understand when and how customers consume their products, providing them the insight to understand the specific needs of their customers to create customer-centric designs and products.

As the IoT market expands, more users adopt modern technology, and technology systems advance, the applications of IoT solutions will evolve beyond these basic use-cases. In fact, more and more business models utilizing IoT software are emerging, such as pay-as-you-drive insurance offerings, smart waste bins on city streets, and remote healthcare services. IoT promises to soon deliver even more solutions to real business problems, and as a result, spur many enterprises to explore new ways of using these systems.

Organizations have progressed beyond mulling over the theoretical concepts and potential of IoT software to implementing real IoT solutions that generate quantifiable benefits for both internal and external use-cases. Businesses today drive down costs by using Internet-enabled products and generating new revenue streams through connected customer data. Gartner recently conducted a survey on manufacturers that have created IoT-connected systems to identify the top three drivers behind creating those products. The results showed “Improving total effective equipment performance” as the top choice with 37% resonance, followed by “creating new customer experience with the product” with 31%. This research illustrates the momentum among manufacturers to embed IoT software as part of their product or service offerings to maintain and increase competitive landscape and customer loyalty.

While organizations embracing IoT solutions have huge opportunity to realize digital transformation, implementation data from IoT projects reveals that IoT initiatives often fail to live up to ROI expectations. Gartner predicts that by 2019, 50% of IoT-enhanced products will not have met planned financial objectives. Thus, it becomes critical for organizations planning to implement IoT to carefully review their solutions and take measures to avoid these common IoT failure points, such as:

  • Creating solutions without quantifiable and measurable business benefits.
  • Failing to properly estimate the full operating costs and maintenance expenses of solutions.
  • Creating solutions that target multiyear financial payback time.

Given the IoT’s nascent and rapidly evolving nature, organizations must ensure that IoT solutions deliver on the financial goals and objectives that IoT technology promises its investors.

The Internet of Things encompasses an immense field with such an expansive scale of applications that it may seem unfathomable. As advancing technology disrupts our world, remember to start with smaller projects with agile solutions that build on each other over time to collectively create the best environment for the Internet of Your Things. Through information transmitted to us through sensors, Big Data, and analytics, IoT will help us learn the language of our machines to enable us to understand them better and work together with them for the best results.

About the Author

Abdullah Javid is Mazik Global’s Lead IoT Product Manager. He has led the development of the MazikThings product line for the past ten years.Abdullah is passionate about creating innovative, industry-leading IoT solutions to new technical challenges.

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