Technology Record - Issue 31: Winter 2023

117 INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING the factory floor. “Dashboards allow users to quickly understand production numbers and machine health,” says Bierbrodt. “By the time they reach the run phase, firms can make important decisions from large quantities of data that humans alone can’t handle.” Businesses can easily extend their IoT systems by investing in various sensors that measure temperature, humidity, motion, pressure and more. “Sensors are the basic tools that are used to deploy an IoT system and start collecting data,” says Bierbrodt. “Manufacturers can use Microsoft Azure IoT Hub as a gateway for all data coming in from these sensors and direct the information to the right data sets so it can be analysed correctly.” To have a solid grasp of IoT fundamentals, organisations should prioritise sensor selection, data storage and security before expanding their system to accommodate more devices, users and data. “Scaling IoT devices and selecting the right sensors are crucial for manufacturers,” says Bierbrodt. “Different sensors can handle varying volumes and types of data, so manufacturers need to consider which ones will be best suited to their requirements.” Operating hundreds or thousands of IoT devices vastly increases the risk of manufacturing organisations falling victim to cyberattacks, so Bierbrodt advises they prioritise security at the start of any implementation. “Security is not meant to be an afterthought,” he says. “If you don’t put the appropriate amount of planning in ahead of time during a technology implementation, your whole project is doomed to fail, especially because an IoT device is the easiest hole to get into a company.” As more manufacturers begin to implement IoT strategies, RSM US encourages them to continue with a ‘crawl, walk, run’ approach. “Just about any company can start dipping their toe into IoT if they want to,” says Bierbrodt. “If they want to use IoT to scan products as they come off the line, that’s an easy implementation to organise within a month. However, if they want to start rolling out data analysis, that’s where we really need to start looking at their overall data architecture. At RSM, we can help firms to perhaps begin with a three- or four-device rollout and then we keep slowly building on to that. That’s the nice part about IoT, it’s not just a ‘let’s do it and we’re done’ project; it’s very easy to build on to achieve the required level of data analytics needed to be successful.” Photo: Pexels/Tiger Lily