Top 5 trends to watch in industrial IoT

City with connected line, internet of things concept.
Image: stnazkul/Adobe Stock

Following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have been taking measures to maintain continuous operations. The solutions that support efficiency across each level of work processes are now highly valued.

SEE: Hiring Kit: IoT developer (TechRepublic Premium)

For this to be possible, we can thank recent developments in IoT technologies that support more flexible, agile and capable solutions for businesses. From the adoption of artificial intelligence to the rise of energy efficiency, read on to learn how recent trends in industrial IoT are fueling business optimization.

Top 5 industrial IoT trends

Digital twins

Digital twin technology is a virtual model that digitally represents a physical device. This technology enables organizations to benefit from the data gathered through replications of real-world products and scenarios in a digital form.

By applying data obtained from sensors on a given object, the technology can imitate the object’s operation and track its status. That means organizations can easily maintain and monitor the performance of the systems and assets that enable their workforce to thrive, resulting in greater overall efficiency.

Additionally, digital twin technology can support businesses in their product development. Through data collected, they can more efficiently predict the outcome of their product’s performance and develop data-driven insights on potential areas requiring improvement. This can save businesses the effort and resources needed to test these scenarios on an existing asset.

Many industries have been harnessing the use of digital twins to ensure the success of their working operations. An example of this can be seen in manufacturing, as digital twin prototypes enable organizations to maintain the equipment by analyzing and tracking data on their performance. The behavior of products and components are also tested using digital models in sectors such as the automotive and healthcare industries.

Networking connectivity developments

Connectivity is vital for IoT technologies, and recent networking developments are resulting in faster communication between devices. These trends aim to support secure and efficient data processing, even across disparate networks.

Low-power wide-area network connectivity provides communication between IoT devices separated by far distances. It is an economical and energy-efficient option for organizations utilizing many assets that communicate on a machine-to-machine foundation.

Satellites can enable IoT technology communication between geographically separated networks for connections across even greater distances. Satellite-powered devices can be especially beneficial in rescue scenarios and emergency reporting, as these situations can occur where maintaining connections would otherwise be challenging.

While industries may benefit more from different connection options depending on their needs, speed and reliability are always preferred. Utilizing Wi-Fi that operates in the 6 GHz band can enable faster communication for IoT technologies, and IoT networks benefit from Wi-Fi 6 for its speed, reliability and greater bandwidth.

Automated quality assurance and predictive maintenance

Assuring quality within an organization’s operations is important in all industries. Fortunately, IoT technology can enable organizations to monitor and predict the performance of their equipment. By conducting predictive analysis through the help of sensors and advanced connectivity, organizations can anticipate potential issues with their machinery and address them before these problems can negatively impact their business operations.

Data insights gathered through IoT technologies also help organizations to understand their equipment and determine the root cause of issues. In addition, with insights from data and performance metrics, businesses can take a proactive approach to their equipment maintenance.

Equipment failures can cause downtime and loss of productivity. However, they can also negatively impact the efficiency and quality of an organization’s production, especially for businesses in the manufacturing sector. With IoT, organizations are able to control and track their systems remotely with automated quality assurance monitoring.

IoT AI also supports businesses through innovative technologies with automated visual inspection capabilities. These features use IoT sensors, cameras and AI to detect abnormalities and extract them from assembly lines. This way, businesses can ensure the highest quality in their operations and output.

Energy optimization, sustainability and consumption

Optimizing industrial energy-use and consumption through IoT can provide more benefits than just saving money. Sourcing sustainable approaches to operations can result in a safer and more efficient society and reduce our environmental footprint.

The recent lean towards environmentalism has led to the creation of optimized solutions that use IoT technologies to transform the industrial landscape. These are also supported by the implementation of transformative environmental efforts that have called for a shift in the way organizations utilize resources and energy.

IoT-powered technology can enable organizations to control their power consumption with smart systems for the energy consumption of their equipment. Even heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems can be monitored and managed to help businesses save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

A popular theme surrounding green IoT is using the technologies to refine multiple components within a society, ideally resulting in a smart city. This concept focuses on reducing the CO2 emissions produced within cities by implementing energy-efficient and carbon-neutral systems. The successful adoption of IoT-powered energy management and smart systems could transform the practices of a wide range of areas, such as public transportation, public safety, traffic and even street lights.

Manufacturing and agricultural business technology

Manufacturing and agriculture are industries that frequently involve IoT technologies within their operations. Through IIoT technologies, businesses within these sectors can optimize many areas of their functioning.

The digital transformation and adoption of IoT resources can make it easier for industrial and agricultural businesses to develop refined resources and processes to deliver their products and services. This is made possible through the newfound ability to form data-based decisions that will fuel their productivity and help them mitigate risks.

These IoT technologies can include the previously discussed trends and concepts but are formatted for uses specific to certain industries. For example, systems designed for manufacturing sectors use IoT devices to monitor their production floors. IoT sensors and connected devices can also help agricultural organizations ensure efficiency in their processes by monitoring weather trends and other circumstances affecting their production.

Manufacturing, agriculture and various other sectors involve processes that can put workers in potentially dangerous situations. Wearable IoT devices are now used to ensure staff members’ safety. These smart devices enable organizations to monitor workers’ health and safety by tracking their temperatures, close contacts and even their locations on the facility floor.

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.

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