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Industrial Internet of Things – linking operations to outcomes through superior data management

Industrial Internet of Things – linking operations to outcomes through superior data management

Sage’s Africa and Middle East Vice President for Enterprise, Matthew Kibby thinks African manufacturers are missing critical building blocks to benefit from the emerging industrial Internet of Things. Chief amongst his concerns is the pervasive lack of a modern, robust and integrated set of enterprise applications. This prevents manufacturers to collect, analyse and act on the vast amounts of information gathered from sensors and devices in the connected workplace.

Kibby believes an integrated platform of enterprise applications is the key to unlock the value of the industrial Internet of Things.

According to IBM research, the vast majority of data created by the Internet of Things is never captured or analysed mostly because legacy Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) systems have not been designed for this task. When manufacturers want to harness the benefit of the Internet of Things in their enterprises, they need a scalable solution that can handle big data efficiently, otherwise it becomes obsolete for advanced analytics.

“The industrial Internet of Things carries enormous promise for industrial companies. It can enable them to automate many of their plant or shopfloor processes and workflows, reduce operational costs, improve asset utilisation, and introduce predictive maintenance to prevent downtime. The benefit is that machines can process data faster than people can, bringing higher levels of efficiency and automation to the business,” he said.

Weaving systems together

The industrial Internet of Things weaves together factory equipment and sensors into a connected network, allowing them to communicate with each other and with business systems. In the process, it can automate many tasks that once required manual intervention. For example, a connected temperature sensor in a plant could initiate the shutdown of an overheating machine,” said Kibby.

Industrial IoT data, when utilised to its full extent, can improve operational efficiency, for example in an assembly line or bottling plant, it can be used to optimise asset utilisation, production and maintenance. It can also be of use in the distribution value chain, improving the service to both suppliers and agents. In field applications, it can monitor telemetry data from a fleet of trucks or heavy mining equipment in real time, drafting a predictive maintenance or repair schedule, in the process minimising downtime or cargo losses.

Connecting machines, people and data

“As attractive as these benefits and applications are, legacy technology and a lack of digital skills at industrial companies are holding back adoption in Africa,” Kibby said. “A next-generation Enterprise Management solution is the key to connecting people, machines and data to orchestrate processes more efficiently and enhance decision-making.”

“Local businesses face environmental challenges like water and energy constraints as well as tough economic conditions and growing competition. This demands new skills, more streamlined supply and delivery chains, and better cost and waste management. The industrial Internet of Things – along with additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, and artificial intelligence – can help African industrial companies improve competitiveness and thrive in this changing world,” he concluded.


About The Author

SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.