IIoT or Industrial Internet of Things is the use of IoT technologies in the industrial world. The Industrial Internet of Things is an integral part of Industry 4.0, in fact the industry sector is evolving and changing in depth thanks to the association of digital technologies with the means of production.
The implementation of an IIoT project can be complex because it sometimes involves a new organization of processes without stopping or slowing down production too much. In order to avoid cost explosion, it is important to have a thorough reflection on the subject and here are some steps to structure it:
1. Define a clear objective for your IIoT project
Before implementing any project, it is necessary to determine the objective. It should be concrete, such as:
- Reduction in the number of machine breakdowns,
- Reduction of the waste of raw materials,
- Increase in production capacity,
- Better traceability of goods…
Once an objective has been chosen, measurement tools must be available to evaluate the before and after implementation of the project and thus demonstrate the benefit.
2. Choose a single IIoT project and size it
Once you have the objective in mind, you need to define an area of application, for example: a production line, a particular machine… Ideally, you should start with a project that covers a small area. Starting small allows you to focus on the essentials and avoid accumulating implementation difficulties. The IIoT project will be easier to scale, so the results obtained will be more quickly visible and the risks of hidden costs lower. The smaller the project, the less likely it is that complex technical problems and long implementation times will arise.
3. Get team buy-in
An IIoT project has – or will have in the long term – impacts on the organization of the company, it is therefore imperative to obtain the support of the teams. Without this support, the project may fail due to a lack of follow-up and motivation. Accompanying the change is essential by explaining the different stages and the results expected from the implementation of an IoT system. Indeed, IIoT implies the collaboration of the Operations Manager and the IT department but also of various collaborators. To capitalize on existing resources, it will be grafted onto the existing system. The IT department will have a role to play in technical recommendations and security management.
4. Know your IT infrastructure
Each company has one or more parallel computer networks. But are they adapted to the needs of the Industrial Internet of Things? It is necessary to ensure that they will be able to track data, and have the capacity to absorb and store the mass of data collected. The transmission and storage of these must therefore be anticipated. Moreover, connecting a production site can create security gaps and risks if not properly implemented. It is mandatory to study the potential security risks and their impacts in order to avoid any attack.
5. Analyze the data collected
The goal of IIot is to automatically collect as much data as possible in order tooptimize business processes. However, not all data is useful to analyze, the focus should be on data related to the objective determined at the beginning of the project. Without a clear and understandable output for business users, the mass of data retrieved is of no value and does not allow for informed decision-making. It is necessary to provide users with a customized dash board and tracking interface to simplify data access, processing and analysis.
In conclusion, in the Internet of Things, anticipation is the key. If the company does not have all the skills in-house, calling on a service provider specializing in IoT may be the solution. This speeds up the IIoT project deployment and reduces the risk of errors that can lead to an explosion in implementation costs.