Two years ago, mention of IIoT provoked blank stares or rolled eyes from the people who manage and run America’s food and beverage production facilities. Today, they are warming up to the concept. In a recent Food Processing-ABB joint survey, "What’s Driving Automation Investments in the Food and Beverage Industry" only 43 percent of food professionals indicated their plants weren’t engaged in any IIoT-related activities.
Some of the early stage work is driven by economics. Software that resides in a third-party server and essentially is rented is cheaper than licensing and maintaining the same software. Rented programs and the data they generate require third-party hosting, commonly referred to as cloud computing, and 22.4 percent of survey respondents say their organizations are engaged in cloud-based computing.
Data availability through mobile devices is described as IIoT’s second wave (connected PCs are the first), and progress is being made on that front. Whether it’s a portal to a machine’s controls that allows remote access or a web browser that connects a mobile phone to machine data through the aforementioned cloud, 20-25 percent of respondents report their companies are leveraging those capabilities.