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The Connected Factory: Moving to the Industrial Internet of Things and AI

In Thought Leadership

IoT has gained a lot of traction over the last few years with Gartner predicting anything from 20 billion up to 50 billion connected devices will be in existence by 2020. As we are increasingly connected with a magnitude of products and sensors, initiatives are already starting to focus on developing new business models and infrastructures. The future of IoT is not in just sensing but doing. This is called the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Data in the factory

Data is becoming a major asset in driving operations and some are describing it as the raw material in the factory of the future. With the advancement in digital and cloud technology and applications of artificial intelligence, investment in data is suddenly becoming far more investable and cost effective than it has been in the past.

The advent of the Connected Cloud, Big Data Platforms and Edge Computing are reducing data analysis costs from storage and processing information. All of these contribute to the factory of the future.

The Connected Factory

Lots of factories think they are already connected. The chances are that they have some robotic devices carrying out operations to ensure everything is integrated. However, IoT brings in a new level of connectivity. For a factory to be truly connected, IoT and its sensors allow countless elements to be measured and analyzed for process improvements, production efficiency and maintenance. Just imagine reducing the time workers spend in the warehouse by 50% through using AI. Suddenly everything becomes more connected.

Microsoft Azure has a six-step IoT development solution for approaching connected factory projects:

  1. Determine your digitization objectives
  2. Experiment with data sources
  3. Connect equipment without disruption
  4. Contextualize and visualize performance
  5. Make operational changes based on data
  6. Enable new scenarios and scale up


Taking these small steps can lead to big things.


Benefits of IIoT and the Connected Factory

Bain & Company predicted industrial IoT applications will generate more than $300 billion by 2020, double that of the consumer IoT segment ($150 billion).

Beyond that, by 2020 Accenture optimistically expect IIoT to add $14.2 trillion to the economy growing at a 7.3% compound annual rate.

While IoT technology can bring a range of benefits to the manufacturing industry, there are five key goals that can act as objectives for many projects.

  • Improved visibility across your manufacturing operation
  • Improved utilization
  • Reduced waste
  • Targeted cost savings
  • Improved quality

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as is the case with some IoT applications and it all depends on setting smart business objectives from the outset. Having smart objectives will help determine where the greatest value lies.

Need help setting those objectives? Reach out to our IoT experts who are strategic consultants that analyze your business performance and optimize the steps needed to leverage your success using IoT.

Erling Hesselberg - Vice President

Erling Hesselberg is responsible for all of Crayon's IoT initiatives, IBM projects and University SW sales worldwide.