7 IIoT Use Cases the Industrial Sector Should Be Evaluating Now

Posted by Duke Robertson on June 30, 2023

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a predominant force across industrial sectors, driving the transition to Industry 4.0. It lies at the intersection of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data, enabling industries to harness these technologies to boost production, reduce operating costs, minimize waste, and accelerate innovation. Industrial edge computing serves as an enabler of the IIoT by addressing latency, network bandwidth, and data security requirements. It has redefined what’s possible when it comes to industrial automation and manufacturing.

Why now? The IIoT has come to the forefront due to pandemic-related business disruptions. Industrial sectors have been applying the IIoT to unprecedented challenges, including workforce shortages, supply chain issues, and the need for remote operations.

As IIoT adoption continues to increase, organizations that are slow to adopt this technology risk being left behind. Now is the time to explore use cases and evaluate which IIoT solutions offer the greatest competitive advantages.

IIoT Use Cases in Manufacturing

Manufacturers are among the biggest adopters of IIoT solutions. Sensors can be deployed throughout the shop floor, minimizing the need for employees to inspect equipment while providing greater insight into production. 

  • Continuous, real-time monitoring of equipment health and production metrics can replace manual, spreadsheet-based data collection and reporting and generate alerts if conditions fall outside predefined parameters. This is one of the most straightforward and widely used IIoT use cases.
  • Equipping personnel with connected devices can increase efficiency and accuracy and enhance the employee experience. The devices can also be used to track personnel location, while sensor-equipped safety equipment can ensure compliance with policies and regulations.
  • Integrating digital twins with IIoT devices can create a continuous feedback loop between the digital and virtual worlds. Digital twins simulate physical systems, enabling the visualization of ideas and processes. The IIoT allows manufacturers to gather information about the system’s operation and feed a richer set of data into the digital twin.

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IIoT Use Cases in Utilities

Utilities have far-flung infrastructure that can benefit from the remote monitoring and data collection capabilities of the IIoT.

  • Monitoring energy generation facilities can help optimize production, increasing revenue, reducing costs, and minimizing the risk of service disruption. Sensors can also monitor power distribution, such as utility poles, to detect damage and identify the need for preventive maintenance.
  • Connected meters enable utilities to automatically collect customer usage data for billing purposes and activate and deactivate services. Connected meters can also serve as sensors, detecting power outages, water leaks, equipment failure, and other problems.

IIoT Use Cases in Transportation and Logistics

Location tracking is a natural application of IIoT devices. Sensors can connect via Wi-Fi in warehouses or cellular for wide-area connectivity. Satellite systems are also emerging that can provide low-cost connectivity worldwide.

  • Fleet vehicle management is the top IIoT use case. IIoT sensors feed real-time data into fleet management systems, enabling operators to track and trace vehicles, optimize usage, and control fuel costs. Sensors can also be used to monitor driver performance and behavior to reduce accident risk.
  • Smart warehouse solutions can collect and send real-time information about inventory levels, minimizing errors and enabling just-in-time inventory management. These solutions can also track inventory across warehousing, distribution, and production, enabling the effective management of storage space. 

The Right Foundation for IIoT Use Cases

Organizations need an edge data center to deploy the IT equipment supporting IIoT use cases. In many industrial environments, that requires a solution that can protect against dust and moisture and provide the right environmental conditions. The Enconnex EdgeRack Industrial 8M fits the bill. Dust- and water-resistant (NEMA 12 and IP55-rated) with a side-mounted, self-contained 8kW cooling unit, the EdgeRack Industrial 8M will help keep your IIoT applications running. Browse our other micro data centers for edge computing and get in touch to learn more.

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Posted by Duke Robertson on June 30, 2023

Duke is the Vice President of Product Management and Marketing at Enconnex. He brings over 25 years of experience in a wide range of disciplines including product management, design, manufacturing, and development. Previously, Duke was at Chatsworth Products where he spent 14 years managing all products for cabinets, communication infrastructure, and containment

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