By Anirban Ganguly, Senior IoT Solutions Architect
With IoT technology, remote machine monitoring becomes both possible and easy-to-execute. Manufacturers can build sensors into machines that work at remote sites. These IoT devices give us the ability to stream all machine data—even a replica of the machine display—to web applications or mobile phones in real-time, even without internet connection. Manufacturers or construction managers can continuously track the exact positions of their machines, and they can even configure text messages or email alerts to trigger if the machine moves beyond a designated boundary.
The machine operators can use the mobile machine display to monitor a machine’s performance while executing tasks from outside the driver’s seat. In the event of a problem with the machine, the manufacturing team can view the live machine display to determine whether the issue requires a trip out to the machine, or if it can be fixed remotely. If the error is software-related, the support team can even update the code or configuration from their office and send it down to the machine, which will update once it is offline. Remote programmability empowers support teams to address problems more efficiently and minimize machine downtime, saving time and resources for both manufacturers and their customers.
IoT technology can also smoothen another crucial paint point of the industry—supply chain management. Radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology combined with sensors and other technologies, can be used to monitor activities and access key information for warehouse inventory items, such as when an inventory item leaves for a specific client site. Sensors can also actively monitor the warehouse for possible breaking or damages that could cause water to flood the warehouse and damage the goods stored within it.
Preventing beats fixing. Wouldn’t it be great if we could detect signs of imminent trouble to prevent a machine from failing, or a bridge from collapsing? IoT makes these aspirations possible. When a machine operator uses equipment improperly, the sensors can detect this behavior, alert the relevant operator or manager, and empower the team to provide the training necessary for the operator to use the equipment safely and efficiently. We can run machine learning on sensor data to identify combinations of worn out parts that lead to machine failure. IoT systems can then predict when a piece of equipment or machinery is vulnerable to failure and alert teams to perform predictive maintenance, fixing the minor problems to save the entire machine from failing. Similarly, we can use sensors within bridges and building structures to detect and repair parts that grow vulnerable over time due to structural defects, excessive loads, or weather conditions.
By attaching sensors to various industrial or commercial equipment and machinery, we can receive data on how operators use them, how efficiently they work, when they will break, and more.
The Internet of Things encompasses and immense field with applications over a scale so expansive that it can seem unfathomable. As advancing technology disrupts our world, remember to start with smaller projects with agile solutions that build on each other over time to collectively create the best environment for the Internet of Your Things. Through information transmitted to us through sensors, Big Data, and analytics, IoT will help us learn the language of our machines to enable us to understand them better and work together with them for the best results.
About the Author:
Anirban Ganguly is a Senior IoT Solutions Architect at Mazik Global. With almost 20 years of experience in the software development industry, Anirban has deep experience in working with the Microsoft Dynamics 365 technology. He is passionate about using technology and connected devices to improve human lives. He loves staying up to date on the newest digital transformation trends through Twitter and blogging.