The Internet of Things has launched advancements that are truly awesome—futuristic smart locomotives that transmit data while transporting cargo; digitally transformed manufacturing plants that operate at unprecedented levels of efficiency; and factories optimized by interconnectivity that results in reduced downtime and increased safety for workers.
And then, on the other end of the IoT spectrum, we’ve got smart diapers, which interrupt inattentive parents’ games of Angry Birds to remotely alert them that junior has wet himself. Smart socks tell Netflix to pause because the viewer has fallen asleep. And smart toothbrushes send brushing-frequency data to your dentist, as if you didn’t feel guilty enough lying to him every six months.
Naturally, there are more light-hearted applications of the IoT in the personal realm than in the industrial world. But as our global digital transformation progresses—as more and more manufacturers and industries turn to technology to optimize their efforts—we’re going to witness more and more incongruous examples of the Industrial Internet of Things.
We’re going to witness some silly smart industry. This is a good thing.
Fabricators of novelty products—fake vomit, Whoopee Cushions and the like—will employ smart technologies just as commonly as surgical-device makers do. Both industries want to boost efficiency and maximize profits.
Unusual examples of the IIoT signify that a widening segment of the business world is recognizing the benefits of this new technology and taking advantage of it.
Early adopters are out front, of course, leading the charge, generating substantial ROI from IIoT. If you’re among them, kudos to you, smarty.
Small businesses are following the lead of industrial mammoths, recognizing that getting smart reaps the same benefits—or even greater benefits—for the little guy that is does for global corporations.
Large or small, you needn’t look hard to find the enterprises that are ahead of this trend. They’re shouting it from the rooftops of their smart factories. The enterprises that are quickest to recognize the opportunities of the IIoT are the ones making bold predictions—and putting serious capital behind those predictions—about the imminent ubiquity of digital transformation.
Samsung recently declared its commitment to connecting everything it sells by 2020. EVERYTHING IT SELLS. Within four short years, your Samsung TV, noticing that the big game is on tonight, could tell your Samsung freezer to defrost the buffalo wings, then tell your Samsung tablet to list you as “busy” on your calendar, which will ping your Samsung phone, which will remind you to jog while wearing your Samsung fit watch in order to feel less shame about the buffalo wings.
In lay terms, the Internet of Things means enabling devices to speak to one another. In the industrial arena, this concept is amplified as super-complex, multi-million-dollar machines at the center of multi-billion-dollar businesses that can now not only speak to one another, but simultaneously optimize their efforts in response to conditions, predict their own failures, gather data about their performance, broadcast alerts and adjust their operations accordingly.
It’s heady stuff, as you know. As our digital transformation matures, most industries and most enterprises will adopt some degree of smart technology. This is a good thing.
Within the food-processing world, we’ll see smart technology applied to the production of Dum Dums. With natural resources, oil-drilling efficiency will rise. In manufacturing, fluctuations in productivity at the Duncan yo-yo plant will level out.
Sure, it might make you cringe to know that smart technology is being employed to produce “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” DVDs at a faster rate, but you can take solace in knowing that smart technology is also creating a safer, more-efficient workplace for the people who manufacture those DVDs.
If only we could make the Kardashians smarter.
Chris McNamara, Smart Industry Content Director