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The Industrial-Sized Potential of The Internet of Things

The digital world we live in spares no attention to buzzwords or the latest technologies that transform the way we exist, work or play. The Internet of Things, too, has played a significant role in redefining our everyday lives.

 

While we’ve all heard of the IoT, do we know what it is? The Internet of Things is about connecting things, as simple as toothbrushes and clothes to larger machines and buildings, with the help of embedded sensors.

 

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), on an Industrial scale can help gain insight into machine performance, customer behavior, and helps streamline tasks thus raising efficiency, productivity, and convenience. It also exponentially enhances the quality of life and transforms our experience of the products and services around us.

 

Driving the development and proliferation of connecting devices, the cost of sensors are continually dropping, thus displaying a huge potential for the IIot to transform India and other emerging economies. According to NASSCOM, the Indian government aims at increasing connected devices to 2.7 billion units or nearly 13 folds to create a market of $15 Billion by 2020.

 

IIoT has been transforming how businesses operate in an industrial world already primed for digital transformation. The influence it has may depend on the sector, however, the adoption patters remain common at a few instances. Companies today aim to leverage real time data in order to deliver immediate and accurate solutions and are realizing the potential of the data collected to optimize processes to help pre-empt demand.

 

Four Key Industries revolutionized by IIoT are:

 

  1. Power

 

Scottish and Souther Energy (SSE) has leveraged a network of sensors to monitor over 1000 assets, turning data into digital analytics used by the company to predict events and empower its engineers. This data includes predictive analytics that permits the workers to pre-empt disruptions and combat unplanned outages thus helping them save $4 million per year besides reducing by $6 million annually the insurance costs incurred.

 

Connected power plants are not only greener and can help integrate renewables over a longer period but they also extend the life of the equipment. These are smarter plants that adapt to fluctuations in the power supply and respond better to them Higher agility due to improved connectivity allows the power plants to ramp up fossil fuel generation based on requirement or inadequacy of natural resources and controls the mix of output more efficiently.

 

  1. Transportation

 

Transportation is the backbone of smooth operation of a society or an economy. It affects almost all areas like commerce, social welfare, health, and productivity.

 

With rapid urbanization, the increased demand of rail travel and freight has put existing infrastructure of railroads under severe strain. A possible solution is to create transportation systems which are able to sense and respond to real-time conditions in a dynamic manner. U.S. based Norfolk Souther Railway is using a portfolio of connected solutions, namely GE RailConnect 360, which offers customers’ data-driven insights to optimize networks, operations, and assets. It has helped to improve staff efficiency and network velocity by 10%.

 

Transport networks can become not just more efficient but also safer with real-time data from engines and sensors intended to monitor environmental factors like weather, traffic, humidity, and temperature.

 

 

  1. Aviation

 

IIoT offers a multitude of opportunities to transform the air travel experience by offering personalization to passengers and helping improve operational efficiency.

 

There are projects to improve baggage handling, passenger experience, equipment monitoring, and generating fuel efficiencies that are undertaken by airlines, experimenting with IIoT.

 

One such airline, Air Asia has used this digital analytics to optimize operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. Moreover, the airline has its focus set on making significant savings of up to $50 million over a five-year term by leveraging the strength of Industrial Internet by using it for fuel management, flight data analytics, and precision navigation services.

 

  1. Healthcare

 

 

The combination of smart sensors, cloud computing, location-based tracking, and wireless technology in a hospital management system helps optimize the flow of equipment and medical supplies, and patients as well as employees. Prevention is mostly better than cure and having sensors enable devices as medical equipment will help professionals monitor patients more efficiently and with minimum wastage of time. The data gained will also help them prioritize based on the patient’s condition and recovery.

 

A patient tracking solution at Aventura Hospital in the U.S. helps reduce waiting time for patients by delivering real time data. It also minimizes the time spent on searching for any equipment or devices. In medical sector, a couple of minutes can be life saving and to cut down waiting time by 68% in the emergency department is praiseworthy.

 

Moreover, with hospital equipment, building and operations becoming smarter, we will also see a robot system, pioneered by GE that sorts and sterilizes surgical tools and minimizes mistakes besides reducing the need of manpower.

 

Though at an early stage, IIoT has made a real impact in digitization of business models. The IoT is sure to play a pivotal role in the vision of Digital India and India is stepping right in transforming into a digital economy.

 

With security and privacy rights, and policies to promote interoperability in place we will be able to reap great benefits in the future. We must thus encourage business and government leaders to depend more on data-driven decision-making.

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