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Unleashing the Power of IIoT – Business Transformation

by Rodney Boswell, Director – Delivery Solutions

As companies strive to modernize their operations and embrace Industry 4.0, integrating the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has become a crucial objective for manufacturers across the globe. IIoT can transform manufacturing by linking physical devices, sensors, and machinery to the internet, thus offering unparalleled insights, automation, and effectiveness. This article aims to demonstrate the potential of IIoT in delivering considerable business benefits by recounting the real-world transformative experience of a manufacturing firm.

Status Quo Operations

Traditionally, manufacturing companies like the one examined in this report relied on manual processes, siloed data, and reactive maintenance. Unfortunately, these practices often led to production delays and a lack of insight into their root causes. Generating shift performance analysis reports took time, and C-level executives needed more visibility into key metrics like overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). To solve these challenges, we needed a unified vision for connecting devices and collecting data on a scalable and sustainable basis.

Creating a CoE to Drive the IIoT Strategy

Establishing a center of excellence (CoE) for IIoT is highly recommended to maximize investment profitability and minimize improper deployments. An effective CoE for IIoT should include the following critical components:
  • Vision, Innovation, and Strategy: It is vital to have a clear definition of the purpose, scope, structure, and objectives of the CoE. To gain a competitive edge, aligning the long-term IIoT vision with the company’s goals and exploring new automation technologies such as generative AI is necessary.
  • Governance: Establishing clear roles and responsibilities for the CoE and creating a governance board to ensure uniformity across diverse regions is crucial.
  • Standardized Frameworks and Best Practices: It is imperative to develop and publish standardized architectures, protocols, and technologies to have a robust IIoT ecosystem. Furthermore, providing a best practice guide for IIoT project execution, security, data management, and interoperability would be invaluable.
  • Collaborative Culture: Encouraging collaboration across departments is paramount, and joining industry consortia is an effective way to stay updated on IIoT trends and best practices.
The CoE is accountable for assessing and documenting all Industry 4.0 assets to guarantee seamless communication with the IoT Gateway. A global playbook is furnished to ensure uniform and efficient implementation of Industry 4.0 across all manufacturing sites. The CoE has a crucial role in executing a manufacturing execution system (MES) strategy and integrating it with the IIoT deployment. The playbook defines all sensor-equipped equipment and provides data collection, management, analysis, visualization, and analytics information. The CoE will spearhead the IIoT strategy and collaborate with the IT department to determine the most cost-effective IoT architecture.

The Power of IIoT Insights

Implementing IIoT and the subsequent influx of real-time data has granted the company unparalleled visibility into its shift operations. Real-time plant and shift metrics are now at the fingertips of C-level executives. They can access essential data such as OEE, OPE, shift scrap counts, and machine downtime statistics. This level of visibility has sparked insightful discussions about identifying process inefficiencies, exploring innovative ideas, and optimizing production. The valuable insights gained have even led to the implementation of new operator training programs. Generative AI applications, such as ChatGPT and LLM model creation, can lead to significant efficiency gains. AI has the potential to enhance product design, predictive maintenance, and identify optimal production conditions, as well as improve supply chain management. Nonetheless, manufacturers must exercise caution and governance when implementing AI because of its ever-evolving nature.

Challenges of IIoT

The industrial Internet of Things posed several obstacles to the company, such as the vulnerability of interconnected devices, difficulties in achieving interoperability, connectivity issues in some plant locations, and complex data management. Cultural change management is essential to leverage data-driven insights for optimal production processes. In addition, it is imperative to comply with global data regulations and ensure data quality.

Benefits of IIoT

The advantages of implementing the industrial Internet of Things were numerous and significantly enhanced the company’s operations. By introducing automated processes and providing real-time data, IIoT can increase efficiency and productivity. Engineers can use performance data to determine where issues arise and make necessary improvements. Moreover, IIoT data can anticipate when machines require maintenance, minimizing downtime. By incorporating the capabilities of AI, energy management, sustainability metrics, and cost savings can be improved. The data derived from IIoT provides immediate benefits in observability and serves as a foundation for machine learning (ML) models and future generative AI exploration.


The success story of this manufacturer is a prime example of the significant value that IIoT can bring to businesses. They have transformed their data management with IIoT, unlocking real-time insights, implementing predictive maintenance strategies, and achieving top-tier status in their manufacturing sector. IIoT’s numerous benefits are its ability to provide valuable data insights and automation opportunities, leading to improved results and increased efficiency across multiple industries. As AI integration shapes the manufacturing industry, I look forward to sharing an updated release on this topic in the coming months.

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