Wireless technology is a part of daily life. Odds are, you’re reading this very blog post on a smartphone, laptop or tablet connected to Wi-Fi, right? Before that, you likely checked your email, favourite news sites or other sources of information without giving a second thought.
It’s true, the days of landlines and DSL have largely disappeared from our daily lives.
But I’d venture to guess that if you are reading this in an office setting – on a desktop computer or a docked laptop – you are still “plugged-in” to a wired internet connection.
In an age where you can turn your home thermostat up while you’re sitting miles away in your office, why are businesses so hesitant to take advantage of these advances, especially in industrial settings?
Often, it comes down to one thing: reliability.
It’s hard to imagine living our lives today without the Internet. From finding information and getting directions to online shopping and YouTube entertainment, the Internet has become essential to the daily lives of most people in the developed world.
Now let’s try and think about how our lives will change because “things” are rapidly being connected to the Internet. It is estimated that the number of connected devices today is about equal to the world’s population, or seven billion. By 2020 that number is going to increase to about 28 billion.
The impacts of the Internet of Things (IoT) are being felt not just in homes but in manufacturing facilities too. The combination of IoT along with another important smart factory trend, the increasing use of industrial wireless, is transforming the plant floor.
Wireless Ethernet technology can be an extremely powerful tool for both the IT and OT environments—it makes it possible to successfully incorporate areas into the network that would otherwise remain silent. Whether it’s linking remote locations such as depots or offshore rigs; pulling in data from vehicles or field people carrying handheld sensors; or flexibly integrating other applications where cabling is just not possible, wireless can give you instant, reliable connectivity nearly anywhere.
Improved efficiency and productivity are key requirements in the manufacturing industry for sustainable growth. Operational downtime is the enemy to be avoided at all cost. This also affects partners and suppliers across the manufacturing supply chain – and can especially be felt by the machine building sector.
Improving the cyber security of industrial networks is a challenge you may be facing.
On the one hand your manufacturing processes probably use devices such as PLCs (programmable logic controllers) and DCS (distributed control systems) that were designed with a focus on reliability and safety rather than security.
On the other hand, your industrial networks are already, or soon will be, connected to your company’s enterprise networks and migrated to Ethernet.
It’s become quite clear that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the future of industry. By now we’ve well and truly covered the point that IIoT is, in fact, not hype. For end users and OEMs, the IIoT, cloud and big data analytics are creating very real business opportunities.
IIoT not only enhances the communication between machines and people – it is facilitating the next wave of value-added customized business services. ARC Advisory Group reports that 30 percent of end users and OEMs are already actively using IIoT tools or investing in projects. With OEMs for example, according to ARC, “IIoT provides new visibility that enables value-added services, competitive advantage for product design, and revenue growth. Adoption is no longer an option.”
In today’s information age, everything in our lives, both as engineers and consumers, is about data. From big data and smart cities, phones and cars to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), we have access to an incredible amount of information ready to be tapped everywhere we turn. And we’re starting to leverage it in a way that not only makes our lives easier, but shapes markets through new capabilities and opportunities for innovation.
Today, LTE connectivity has become the modern standard for wireless connections. LTE has vastly increased the performance of 3G networks and has done so by improving the way in which wireless information is transferred.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has been a hot topic of late. One key consideration that will impact its acceptance rate and ultimate success is security. A successful attack on an IIoT system could result in the loss of sensitive data, interruption of operations, and destruction of systems. This will result in damage to brand and reputation, material economic loss and damage to critical infrastructure. Worse, there could be damage to the environment, injury or loss of human life. A secure IIoT solution is comprised of a variety of elements, including secure products, secure protocols, a secure network, ongoing security monitoring, and employees with cybersecurity expertise.
Security is both a benefit and a concern for enterprises when it comes to cloud computing. On the one hand, Datamation found in its State of the Cloud, 2019 survey that many organizations are moving to the cloud because they found that cloud-service providers (CSPs) offer better all-around security than they could achieve by themselves. Specifically, Datamation noted that CSPS “not only hire the top security experts, they have a lot more data to use for machine learning, to proactively stop security threats.”