This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Record.
When it comes to the industrial internet of things (IIoT), Brendan Mislin, managing director in the IoT practice at Accenture Mobility, part of Accenture Digital, believes the adage ‘knowledge is power’ to be remarkably relevant.
“Data is incredibly important in manufacturing,” he says. “A lot of the time it’s already there on machines or in silos, but when it’s not, inexpensive sensors can help get more data. By extracting existing data or accessing new data, all this information can be placed on a central platform to create a more intelligent business.”
Sensor-based technology, using communications such as radio-frequency identification or Bluetooth, can be easily added to a manufacturing process, helping to collect data which can then be processed either in the cloud or at the edge before being clearly presented as insight to decision makers.
“Information can be provided to operations teams in near real time, so they can see what’s going on across an entire supply chain,” Mislin explains. “Pulling data from all this disparate equipment and putting it into one platform provides a consolidated view of what’s going on across a facility.”
Another key area Mislin highlights is around alerts and notifications.
“Data could be coming in and you could find out something is broken – that’s a reactive model,” he says. “Or you might have a subtle sign in the data – something starting to slow down, or starting to heat up for example. With analytics, you can figure out that that’s a sign of something more serious to come. That’s a proactive alert.”
While alerts and notifications help keep users in the know, IIoT technologies also help workers identify where they should be focusing their work.
“Without real-time visibility, you can’t know where your attention should be,” says Mislin. “Full visibility in real time has value in and of itself.”
Accenture’s wider IIoT philosophy centres on enabling customers to do more with the data they have, delivering new perspectives and starting new dialogues. Mislin says from a business case point of view, analytics is the most important element when it comes to bringing about additional revenue and operating as an intelligent business.
“Being able to increase the uptime of equipment is incredibly valuable, as is being able to reduce unscheduled downtime, unplanned maintenance, or coordinating equipment maintenance through predictive analytics,” he says. “All these benefits add up financially.”
Mislin adds that clients are at different stages of maturity when it comes to IIoT adoption, but that all can ultimately reach their desired goal with the right support.
“The trickiest piece is analytics, and that’s often what clients really need help to master,” he says. “But if the right tools are in place, manufacturers can really flourish with IIoT.”
Share this story