Top 5 trends to watch in the Industrial Internet of Things

A city with a connecting line, the concept of the Internet of Things.
Photo: stnazkul / Adobe Stock

After the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies have taken measures to keep operations going. Solutions that support efficiency across every level of business process are now invaluable.

See: Hiring Kit: IoT developer (TechRepublic Premium)

For this to be possible, we can thank recent developments in IoT technologies that support more agile, faster, and more capable solutions for businesses. From the adoption of artificial intelligence to the rise in energy efficiency, read on to find out how recent trends in the Industrial Internet of Things are driving business optimization.

Top 5 IoT industry trends

digital twins

Digital Twin technology is a virtual model that digitally represents a physical device. This technology allows organizations to leverage collected data by replicating real-world products and scenarios in digital form.

By applying the data obtained from the sensors to a specific object, the technology can simulate the operation of the object and track its condition. This means that organizations can easily maintain and monitor the performance of the systems and assets that enable their workforce to thrive, increasing overall efficiency.

In addition, digital twin technology can support companies in developing their products. With the data collected, they can more efficiently predict the performance outcomes of their products and develop data-driven insights into potential areas that require improvement. This can save companies the effort and resources to test these scenarios on an existing asset.

Many industries harness the use of digital twins to ensure the success of their business operations. An example of this can be seen in manufacturing, where dual digital models enable organizations to maintain equipment by analyzing and tracking data on its performance. The behavior of products and components is also being tested using digital models in sectors such as the automotive and healthcare industries.

Networking developments

Connectivity is vital to IoT technologies, and recent advances in networking are leading to faster communication between devices. These trends are intended to support the secure and efficient handling of data, even across disparate networks.

Low-power broadband network connectivity provides connectivity between IoT devices separated by great distances. It is an economical and energy-efficient option for organizations that use multiple assets that communicate on a machine-to-machine basis.

Satellites can enable IoT communications between geographically separated networks for connections over greater distances. Satellite devices can be particularly useful in rescue and emergency reporting scenarios, as situations can occur where maintaining communications is difficult.

While industries may benefit the most from different connectivity options depending on their needs, speed and reliability are always the best. Using Wi-Fi operating in the 6GHz band can enable faster connectivity for IoT technologies, and IoT networks benefit from Wi-Fi 6 due to its speed, reliability, and greater bandwidth.

Automated quality assurance and predictive maintenance

Quality assurance within an organization’s operations is important in all industries. Fortunately, IoT technology can enable organizations to monitor and predict the performance of their devices. By performing predictive analysis through the help of sensors and advanced connectivity, organizations can anticipate potential issues with their devices and address them before these issues negatively affect their business operations.

Data insights gathered through IoT technologies also help organizations understand their devices and identify the root cause of problems. Plus, with insights from data and performance metrics, companies can take a proactive approach to maintaining their devices.

Equipment failure can lead to downtime and loss of productivity. However, it can also negatively affect the efficiency and quality of an organization’s production, especially for companies in the manufacturing sector. With IoT, organizations can control and track their systems remotely with automated monitoring for quality assurance.

IoT AI also supports businesses through innovative technologies with automated visual inspection capabilities. These features use IoT sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence to detect and extract anomalies from assembly lines. In this way, companies can ensure the highest quality in their operations and outputs.

Optimizing energy, sustainability and consumption

Improving energy use and consumption in industry through the Internet of Things can provide more benefits than just saving money. The search for sustainable approaches to operations can lead to a safer and more efficient society and reduce our environmental footprint.

The recent inclination towards environmentalism has led to the creation of optimized solutions that use IoT technologies to transform the industrial landscape. These are also supported by implementing transformational environmental efforts that have called for a change in the way organizations use resources and energy.

IoT-enabled technology can enable organizations to control their energy consumption by using smart energy consumption systems in their devices. Even HVAC systems can be monitored and managed to help businesses save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

A popular theme surrounding a green Internet of Things is using technologies to improve multiple components within a society, ideally leading to a smart city. This concept focuses on reducing carbon dioxide emissions generated within cities by implementing energy-efficient and carbon-neutral systems. The successful adoption of energy management and intelligent systems powered by the Internet of Things can transform the practices of a wide range of areas, such as public transportation, public safety, traffic and even street lights.

Manufacturing Technology and Agribusiness

Manufacturing and agriculture are two industries that frequently use IoT technologies in their operations. Through IoT technologies, companies within these sectors can improve many areas of their work.

Digital transformation and adoption of IoT resources can make it easier for industrial and agricultural companies to develop refined resources and processes to deliver their products and services. This is made possible by the newfound ability to form data-driven decisions that will enhance their productivity and help them mitigate risks.

These IoT technologies can incorporate previously discussed trends and concepts but are poised for industry-specific uses. For example, systems designed for manufacturing sectors use IoT devices to monitor their production floors. IoT sensors and connected devices can also help agricultural organizations ensure efficiency in their operations by monitoring weather trends and other conditions that affect their production.

Manufacturing, agriculture, and various other sectors involve operations that can put workers in potentially dangerous situations. Wearable IoT devices are now being used to ensure employee safety. These smart devices enable organizations to monitor workers’ health and safety by tracking temperatures, their close contacts and even their locations on the facility floor.

Further reading

If you are working to implement the Internet of Things within your organization, choosing the right software is crucial. There are hundreds of IoT platforms and each is slightly different from the next, so how do you choose? This article, including links to TechRepublic Premium resources, can help you.

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