The Internet of Things Will Really Be Everything & Everywhere

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to be big, you may already know this, but you might not realize how expansive the service would truly be. A more suitable name for the IoT would be the Internet of Everything. This is because not only are the “things” connected but metrics like time, temperature, vibrations and even machine to machine communication will use the Internet of Everything to create this new digital landscape.

Manufacturers and supply chain professionals can find so much value in the Internet of Everything in so many different ways. Manufacturers have the potential to completely overhaul their operations to ensure they are running as efficiently as possible in every way imaginable from electricity usage down to individual employee productivity as well as everything in between. Supply chains can gather data in real-time, on all aspects throughout their operations.

One of the most impressive Internet of Things features manufacturers are excited about has to do with predictive maintenance. Data will be collected on machine’s performance and the IoT opens up channels for the machines to report their condition back to the server. An alert can be set up once a machine reports they are heading for a breakdown and an engineer can fix the problem before it ever becomes an issue. This is another testament to the vast scale of the Internet of Things. Everything is connected and there are multiple channels where data can be collected and where commands can be made back to the machine. It is not just a way to connect machines to the internet because not many benefits would come along by just connecting a machine to the web. The Internet of Everything takes all of this data, stores it where employees can see the information in real-time while also helping machines communicate with one another and essential employees.

ERP, or software like it, can be used to make sense of all this data and seriously improve manufacturers decision making. With software designed to analyze all of the data collected from the Internet of Things a manufacturer has the ability to see their facility in ways never before imagined. A manufacturer might have not known a vital machine was going to break down until it actually starts spitting fumes and grinds to a halt. Not only can this end up causing more damages, not to mention the safety hazard it creates, but downtime is extremely expensive especially if the machine is a crucial part of a project. With the Internet of Things, a machine will be able to alert the manufacturer to a possible breakdown. Scheduled downtime can give the manufacturer the opportunity to have another machine pick up its slack and run their operation at near normal conditions. Robotics systems are even beginning to be able to make this transition on their own, cutting a machine out of the production process as it waits for assistance and other machines will automatically take over its responsibilities.

When it comes to the supply chain, the Internet of Things has proven itself as a valuable asset. Whether its raw materials making their way to the manufacturer or if it’s a finished product on its way to a customer the Internet of Things can track, analyze and make decisions along the way. A GPS in a truck, boat, plane can offer location tracking even without the Internet of Things but the IoT brings this technology to the next level. If a shipment is on its way to a destination but a route is blocked or will be delayed, the Internet of Things can gather this outside data from traffic reports and suggest an alternate route. Not only can transportation be accelerated, but tracking is now more accurate and more easily assessable. With the IoT manufacturers and supply chain professionals can know exactly what steps are being taken, what customers have received their orders and in what condition, and how much more freight needs to be unloaded before an order is completed. This kind of accuracy and data is invaluable and can not only save you money but make your business more desirable to customers.

The Internet of Things is truly the Internet of Everything. This vast data stream along with sensors and analytics software are completely transforming the manufacturing and supply chain landscape. As we enter into a new year more businesses are making their way to the connected enterprise. Now is the time to get your start and the sooner you become comfortable with the systems needed to fully connect your company the smoother your operations will run in the future.

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