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While IoT manufacturing technologies aren’t new, there is considerable growth in this field that has led to improved manufacturing operations and a reduction in costs for the industry. But what is IoT and why is it useful for the manufacturing industry?
What Is the Internet of Things (IoT)?
Today, Internet of Things (or IoT) is the name given to devices that connect to the internet or a network without a web GUI. These devices are equipped with sensors, software, and technology that can connect to a network and exchange big data with other devices over the internet. The most known examples of IoT are smart devices and personal digital assistants such as Siri, Alexa, or Cortana.
IoT has become an incredibly useful tool to streamline people’s personal lives, but it also can help an organization improve daily operations. These devices can track activities, monitor progress, improve efficiency, and give companies more information to make better business decisions. Companies can also use IoT solutions to understand customer habits better and customize marketing strategies to maximize ROI.
Major Benefits of Using IoT for Manufacturing
With the rise of IoT in consumer life with smart alarms, smart door locks, bicycles, medical sensors, and refrigerators, manufacturers are completing their own digital transformation and incorporating today’s IoT technology into their industry as well.
IoT for manufacturing plays a massive role in optimizing operations, asset tracking, collecting data, and predictive maintenance. The adoption of IoT in manufacturing has several significant benefits for:
- Cost savings
- Improving efficiency
- Mass customization
- Enhancing safety measures
Benefits of IoT Manufacturing Solutions Explained
1. Cost Reduction
IoT technologies can provide many cost-saving benefits to the manufacturing industry. Technologies can optimize inventory and asset management, lower search times, reduce machine downtime, improve daily operations and even contribute to energy efficiency. Alone, any number of these benefits can reduce operation costs, but combined, companies notice a significant reduction in monthly and yearly expenditures.
2. Improved Efficiency
You can improve your production efficiency by connecting machines to create a network that operates with little human interference. IoT can then enable manufacturers to automate the majority of the processes.
Automation leads to quicker problem identification to improve performance and cuts operation time, in some cases, from days to a handful of hours. The faster a manufacturer can produce goods, the quicker your time to market, which reduces product cycle time and can lead to increased revenue.
3. Mass Customization
IoT solutions for manufacturing include the ability to customize, which can give any business a boost, but in the manufacturing industry, it’s a substantial competitive advantage.
IoT devices are used to automate the production process and allow companies to create a vast number of SKUs without sacrificing efficiency and time. By utilizing smart manufacturing IoT, you can program a machine to create 20 units of SKU A followed immediately by 30 units of SKU B without needing human intervention. This allows an easier way to customize inventory and create a broader customer base.
4. Safety Improvements
Workplace safety is of utmost importance in the manufacturing industry. Wearable devices can be used to monitor the health and risk activities of workers on manufacturing floors, leading to increased safety measures. For industries that use or produce hazardous materials,manufacturing IoT solutions could also include monitoring devices on containers to ensure no leaks during transport.
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A Brief History of IoT in Manufacturing
Although smart devices are relatively new, the IoT for manufacturing has been used for decades. While there was no internet, back in 1968, General Motors started using a programmable logic controller (PLC) in their automatic transmissions manufacturing division. From there, machine-to-machine devices combined telephony and computing to make manufacturing even more efficient.
In 1999 the term “Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton to include all devices that could connect to the internet without a graphic interface.
Today, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a major component in every primary industry across the globe, including manufacturing. It’s estimated that the global IoT in manufacturing will grow from 50 billion US dollars in 2021 to 87.9 billion by 2026 at a compounded annual growth rate of 11.9%.
Potential Security Risks of IoT Smart Manufacturing
As with anything that can connect to the internet or cloud network, there are risks involved with IoT. To mitigate security risks on IoT-based technology, you’ll always want to be aware of your vulnerabilities and have plans in place to address them. :
Insecure data storage or data transfer
Typically data is most vulnerable mid-transfer due to lack of encryption and access controls before the data enters the IoT environment. It’s essential for companies to ensure they are using adequate security measures both when storing data and for transfers.
Poor IoT monitoring and management
Although many cybersecurity companies talk about 24/7 monitoring, IoT devices usually fall through the cracks. To keep your network secure, device management must be included in every cybersecurity strategy to properly manage IoT devices so potential avenues of attack are properly managed and monitored.
It only takes one weak passcode for a hacker to gain entry into your systems. Keep your entire network secure with advanced passcode policies that include IoT devices. Good passcode protocols should include many characters, special symbols, and changing the passcode on a routine basis.
Insecure Application Programming Interface (APIs)
IoT devices use apps, services, and protocols to communicate with one another and the internet which can leave them vulnerable to attack. Ensure proper device authentication to ensure only authorized people and applications gain access to your IoT devices.
Lack of routine patch updates
Companies find vulnerabilities all the time, which is why they release system updates and new patch installations. Without staying on top of newly released patch updates, you could be leaving your company vulnerable to attack.
Get the Most Out of IoT Manufacturing Devices and Stay Secure With OSG
As IoT gains traction in the manufacturing industry, the last thing you want is to be left behind. IoT lets you integrate your physical manufacturing equipment with the digital world for remote capabilities, cloud storage, and advanced production quality that seemed impossible only a few decades ago.
Optimize your workforce for a better return on investment with smart manufacturing IoT. As a leading IT company, OSG knows how to properly implement IoT-enabled devices into your current systems to improve efficiency and reduce costs while maintaining proper cybersecurity protocols.
We’ll help you choose the right tools for your business and ensure proper implementation and monitoring so your entire infrastructure, including IoT, remains secure.
Find out how much better your operations can become when you utilize industrial IoT in your manufacturing processes with help from OSG.