The Industrial Internet of Things is creating a 3D map of your workspace, and it knows you have been taking too many coffee breaks. Each quarter hour? Seriously, stop. Within this connected map, apparatus, machines and business processes are connected.

Together with the potential of sensors embedded in new and legacy production equipment, connected by IP to provide actionable indicators to decision makers is the heart of the fourth industrial revolution – from the invention of the steam engine to machines today being able to replenish their own parts by signalling – engineers and designers today are challenged with a new task: the way to comprehend value and communicate the benefits of technology adoption for consumers and companies alike.

From legacy equipment to end users easily navigating seas of fluctuating data, we want them to be able to steer the boat just as you are excited about the potential energy gained by implementation. Leading the way to more and better efficiencies for a sustainable planet is the goal, and your ideas are the cherries on top.

Why we need decentralized management

The old systems of service delivery and creation are slowly being phased out, and a major disruption felt with this wave of IIoT is at the way managing manufacturing, fulfillment and maintenance are transitioning to getting background tasks of the machines themselves; tasks that managers used to spend time calculating, analyzing and scrutinizing can currently be integrated to make free time available for other tasks. 

Industry 4.0 is installing a new paradigm; one in which ‘process2device’ is an ethos applied to individuals to shift the workload into the devices themselves – with sensors, actuators and applications such as apps available to auto-supervise internal plus external procedures ultimately delivering data in useful formats to both read and tweak.

Assist the machines do the work so that you can direct us towards mutual success scenarios where we all win.

Coders write scripts to trigger corrective actions, so that machines avoid damage, replenish their parts and someday even design their own content upgrades are equally integral in getting there. 

Each piece is important, and performs well in optimal conditions. For the time being, don’t worry, you still have a function in this wave, and there is a very long way to go before Skynet arrives… we will be back.

As for today, lean inventory and the managers of logistic plans, the distribution of manufacturing is expanding naturally outwards from the single machine into the various plants, zones, regions and now even to whole continents throughout fulfilment technologies.

For the forward-thinking designer, manager and engineer on the brink of collapse and innovation, the question is: how to create architectures and interfaces that are stable enough and user-friendly to keep everything moving towards healthy transitions?

Heightened Visibility

When algorithms run the majority of background work procedures, time becomes available to focus on actionable measures and big picture brainstorming. Focus on relationships, new ideas and having fun while participating in the health of the local ecosystem; your own job group, your family, neighborhood, friends, animals even, everyone – sell the benefits of that found time’ to instead build better networks and enhance operating costs with eco-advantages. 

However, let us first rewind: speaking from the present, how can we get there?

The promises of AI are on the horizon, and apart from mere upgrades, there exists a demand for engineers and designers to provide dashboard information for company drivers’ and also to make it sexy enough to really use it. 

You are the chauffeur contemplating the algorithms and applications to link millions of data points to chewable information that you can eat with a spoon, so making sure that everything is synchronized and performs stably across the entire value chain.

Can you do it? Of course you can, if not , then who else will? You are fairly unique and special for the time being.

Hunting greater efficiencies

With higher degrees of automation, data is being leveraged across the whole board to enhance efficiencies for matters like renting a car to making warehouse-sized machines easier to maintain for everyone. Companies today are able to heighten the visibility of components and procedures thanks to tools that help us improve quality and optimize time for making the best decisions effectively, and instantly.

On the other side of design, the greatest challenge today is helping individuals see the potential for IIoT and value creation in the previous ways of doing things. When we apply what’s actually new’ about new technologies, value creation (cost reduction) can be achieved in a way which can be understood to be beneficial.

Strategically, sometimes this means installing a few sensors as a test demonstration of monetary worth. Don’t just tell me about the benefits, show them! Take a month trial and show me the savings. 

Put the tools in my hands and enable me with comprehension. Help me find out the goodness, and make implementation turn-key and easy enough so people can interact with data in fluid ways; adjusting to conditions, responding to issues, and letting the sails of the machines to help make strategic decisions in direct, intuitive style. If the winds shift, how soon will you be ready to respond?

More importantly, how are you going to assist your customers and make their lives easier? The future of IIoT is now in your hands. How are you going to design the innovations to transform the world around you?