“We are tremendously excited by the data democratization now occurring,” says Fluke IIoT Specialist Leah Friberg when asked to share her perspective on the year ahead. Read on to learn her thoughts on the future of the IIoT, data accessibility and the great potential of the digital transformation.
Smart Industry: Who will most benefit from the Industrial Internet of Things in the coming year?
Leah: At the highest level, facilities who are open to changing their current practices and who experiment with and adopt IIoT aspects are very likely to benefit from them. In fact, the more thought put into which specific benefits are desired, the more likely the positive outcome. Manufacturers who install “guest” Wi-Fi networks for connected devices to leverage and who are able to allow smart phones/tablets and laptops onsite will also benefit more quickly from the IIoT. After that, it’s unclear whether any particular industry or facility size will lead the pack. While larger facilities have more existing data to leverage, they may also be hindered by legacy infrastructures. Smaller facilities, for whom automation and predictive maintenance had been cost-prohibitive, may have the most to gain from the new economics and flexible scope of implementation associated with the IIoT.
Smart Industry: What digital-transformation opportunity in the coming year most excites you?
Leah: Fluke is nearing the tipping point where the majority of test tools we sell will be cloud-connected. Until a few years ago, most of the data collected by Fluke test tools went un-utilized beyond the specific task at hand. Now, nothing stands in the way of our customers being able to save their measurement data, organize it, keep it readily available, trend it over time, integrated it into work orders and reports…the hallmarks of reliability maintenance. We are tremendously excited by the data democratization now occurring. Fluke test tools are designed to be used by both engineers and technicians, making it feasible for a larger percentage of the maintenance team to collect and benefit from maintenance data, as compared to more complex automated systems.
Smart Industry: Are enterprises aware of the data that is readily being produced by their machines?
Leah: We’ve been focusing on enterprises that are aware of the data potential of their machines but have not been able to make the business case to capture it. Vibration is a great example. Semi-regular vibration inspections can detect mechanical issues that, left unresolved, will shorten the life of expensive machinery by several years. However, interpreting vibration spectra is a complex process, often performed only on the most critical machinery. What we more frequently see is mechanical teams using entry-level vibration-screening tools to inspect “very important” machinery (one step down from critical). Automatic thresholds and alarms help make this broader set of vibration data actionable. When a machine starts to exhibit bearing, alignment or other issues, the mechanical team is forewarned and can intervene before excessively expensive damage occurs.