Industrial IoT is predicted to impact on a vast range of industries and it seems some manufacturing firms are already utilising these technologies.
A Bosch factory in South Carolina in the US has begun using Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) sensors in combination with smart watches to give their employees greater visibility over the assembly line.
An automated system is currently used to alert staff if there is a fault with production, but it is easy for managers to miss the alarm if they are concentrating on their work. As a result, senior control system engineer, Josh Lee, devised a new method using IoT sensors to alert plant operators of any issues.
Lee programmed an interface between the sensors, a Pebble smartwatch and an iPhone in order to deliver the information in a more noticeable way. Now when a fault occurs, the sensors send a signal to the iPhone, which then relays the message to 12 Pebble smart watches worn around the factory. Although the sample size is small, Lee believes that the use the smartwatches has improved productivity and reduced the duration of each line stoppage by as much as 80 percent.
The industrial sector is considered to be one of the business areas most likely to embrace the Industrial IoT because many factories already employ sensors of some kind to monitor their equipment.
Martyn Williams, managing director of industrial automation software expert, COPA-DATA UK told Internet of Business that the IoT is expected to have much wider implications for industry in the future.
“The Industrial IoT has been described as a crucial step in the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0,” he said. “Using IoT technology, organisations are developing smarter infrastructures and building connected networks across entire manufacturing processes.”
Recent studies indicate that the Bosch factory is not alone when it comes to using the Internet of Things and wearable devices. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that the number of wearables will increase to 600.6 million by 2020 and that machine to machine (M2M) connections will account for 7 percent of all mobile data traffic.