Debunking Common IIoT Misconceptions

Misconceptions abound about IIoT, and its benefits – particularly in the manufacturing sector. But companies that shy away from this technology will end up missing out on a powerful, transformational movement that will drive unparalleled efficiencies in operations and increases in productivity. Business models will need to change. The ways companies assess value will need to change. And, importantly, how companies manage their business will need to change.

 

But getting to that point where IIoT becomes an accepted part of a company’s operations will require a hard look at what is real and what is not. Tapping into IIoT’s potential requires the ability to sift through common misconceptions about what IIoT is and what it is not. We’ve identified some of these misconceptions so that you will have a clearer view of reality.

 

Misconception #1: IIoT poses a security threat

Fact: IIoT is safe.

Whenever there is wireless connectivity, the potential exists for systems or data to be compromised. While this includes IIoT devices, it doesn’t necessarily mean that such devices alone pose a compromising weak point in a company’s security configuration.  In fact, many IIoT systems such as the primary configuration provided by TDG Technologies only provide one-way communication from the edge devices to a stand-alone gateway and PC.  In this arrangement, there is no potential for a system breach, though special precautions need to be taken if the data is late connected to a company internal SCADA system.  In addition, there are many companies and security specialists who provide IIoT security solutions as a layer that reside on top of the IIoT system itself. There are also security standards, procedures, and related frameworks developed to preserve IIoT security. IIoT manufacturers are working directly with security providers to design and create secure IoT devices to ensure secure data transmission between devices.

 

Misconception #2: IIoT is just connecting devices in another M2M play

Fact: IIoT is about the information the devices provide, and not just device connections.

While the core of IIoT is about connecting multiple devices together at the edge, the devices themselves are just the start. The true value is how the data can be seamlessly collected, often times even from remote locations, and fed back to companies in real-time in a fashion that is timely, insightful, and actionable. Such real-time data synthesis works 24/7, immediately alerting companies to issues that may arise, such as a malfunctioning pump or motor.  Armed with this information, operations staff can take immediate corrective actions, resulting in low cost to repair or possibly replace equipment as well as avoiding costs associated with line shut-downs. IIoT allows manufacturers to leverage preventative maintenance and predictive outcomes. The result is optimized operations with better uptime and fewer asset failures.

 

Misconception #3:  IIoT is only for large companies

Fact: IIoT is applicable for organizations of any size.

Many small or mid-size companies erroneously believe that they don’t have enough resources to deploy connected devices, nor do they believe that they have enough information to monitor. Or, more critically, they believe that IIoT can’t help their operations. However, any organization can benefit from IIoT – from large, multi-national enterprises to small, single-location businesses. In fact, smaller companies are typically better more nimble and better prepared to leverage the opportunities that IIoT provides.

 

Misconception #4:  IIoT is a luxury, not a necessity

Fact:  Industry is quickly adopting IIoT to improve operational efficiencies and productivity.

IIoT is no long a distant concept. Manufacturers are retrofitting operations to take advantage of this technology and to provide a competitive edge in the marketplace. Companies that view IIoT as a luxury will face an increasing competitive field – one in which they may be left far behind. Progressive manufacturers are proactively implementing systems to benefit from the knowledge that IIoT data can provide. Multi-site operations are being linked together for greater insights and efficiencies across the enterprise.

 

Misconception #5: It’s costly and time consuming to implement IIoT

Fact: IIoT is affordable and can be surprisingly easy to implement.

There is a misconception that implementing an IIoT solution requires huge capital expenditures and involves a lengthy, resource-intensive process. Almost half of all small businesses believe that IIoT is expensive. While there is a capital or operating expenditure cost for sensors and related equipment in an IIoT deployment, this cost cannot be viewed in isolation. The more accurate financial analysis involves a full view of operational costs which typically decline following the IIoT implementation. Without IIoT there is a cost in having human operators monitor equipment. With IIoT equipment is monitored by the system 24/7, allowing operators to be reassigned to other, high-priority projects. There is also the improvement in asset utilization and lower cost to repair or replace equipment that results from preventative maintenance and predictive analytics.

 

Embracing the value of IIoT

IIoT is here to stay. Such systems will only grow in the months and years ahead. This transformation is inevitable. Manufacturers who get trapped in misconception and who fail to recognize this transformation will face a very challenging environment. Understanding the technology, and the misconceptions, is the first step in the process. The benefits provided by IIoT can be tremendous. A study by Boston Consulting Group found that small businesses that use an IIoT system increase their revenue 15% faster than those who don’t. Manufacturers that realize the benefits provided by this technology will stand to gain as innovative leaders in their industries.

 

*****

 

If you want to learn more about the SmartHAWK® line of wireless industrial sensors from TDG Technologies, products and other information can be found at www.tdgtechnologies.com.  TDG Technologies can also be reached by calling (760) 466-1040.

Randy Zanassi