9 Actionable steps for successful IIoT implementation

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The Internet of Things (IoT), and especially the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), have recently been buzz topics in the industrial sector of the global economy, meaning that many companies have been rushing to implement IoT in order to drive innovation and stay ahead in an increasingly competitive market. At its most basic level, IIoT describes a network by which all parts of an industrial system are able to connect and share data by way of cloud technology.

IIoT must, nevertheless, be considered a network tool that is only as good as its application: unless you use the data wisely to increase the efficiencies and capabilities of your industrial plant, you’ll only be wasting resources. If implemented well, however, IIoT can lead to greater efficiency and cost savings, which naturally aids the growth of companies whose consumers demand reliable, quality output at a better rate than they can get from your competitors.

The problem comes in when IIoT is hastily implemented without much forethought as to how it will impact and shape business practices, quality, and efficiency. Below follow a few guidelines regarding what practices will work best and a few considerations to make before taking the plunge into IIoT.

  1. Clarify your IIoT goals & develop an IIoT strategy

In order to derive the most value from the application of IIoT and ensure its success, you will need to establish from the outset what your goals are for IIoT. While it is true that a variety of business functions can benefit from the implementation of IIoT, a strategic and methodical approach must be conceived that ensures that each step of the process improves the overall system without causing unnecessary delays or creating bottlenecks (albeit temporary ones).

  1. Manage your expectations

One of the key rules that any business must follow is to implement new processes slowly but deliberately. Do not expect to overhaul your entire production chain in one fell swoop. Start by implementing IIoT in specific, pre-determined areas and focus on establishing a reliable IIoT implementation in that area before taking on larger projects. Those new to IIoT will need to take some time to adjust and manage its usage effectively. Don’t rush the process, you’ll be better off for it later.

  1. Prioritise teamwork & support

Your IIoT team matters. Remember: IIoT requires reliable infrastructure, tech-savvy individuals, and strategic implementation to work effectively. With the right human resources at your disposal, backed by a knowledgeable IIoT consulting team, your implementation processes will be easier and challenges will be quicker to resolve. Without the right individuals running the implementation, you risk facing costly downtime and a wastage of resources.

  1. Budget well

Successful IIoT implementation relies on many variables. Taking the time to assess whether or not you have the resources available to be successful can make a world of difference. Under-budgeting is an unforgiving mistake that may leave you unable to complete your implementation project due to financial limitations. Factors to take into consideration include hardware costs, subscriptions, licences, and other hidden costs.

  1. Set realistic, manageable IIoT implementation timelines

As with any new technology implementation, there will be hiccups and difficulties in the process. No IIoT solution moves from concept to completion in one elegant movement. In the process you will need to experiment somewhat to realise what works, what can be improved, and even what should be abandoned. Realistic timelines will provide your team with the time they need to use the tools and methods required to do just that. Set goals and deadlines that drive productivity without missing crucial details. Also allow time for the challenge of systems integration failure and have a game-plan in place that allows you to solve any possible integration issues as quickly as possible.

  1. Test, improve & adapt (for scalability)

IIoT relies on accurate data collection practices, using the right algorithms to extract the data that is relevant, and constructing models that optimally utilise the data. Test which strategies work the best to achieve these tasks, fine-tune your processes for the practices that work and implement the right algorithms to solicit the information that helps you achieve your goals. Ensure that the tests you undertake factor in scalability: this will help you avoid the pitfall of implementing a solution that works in one setting, but not another.

  1. Protect your data

Secure your data. Many people wrongly believe that data security is only about keeping your data safe from external compromise. While this is pertinent, you also need to be concerned about the accurate storage and relaying of data from once source to another. Corrupt data can cause errors in your analytics and prove extremely costly if you take action based on poor quality data.

  1. Match your IIoT platform to your goals

Not all IIoT platforms are created equally. Choosing the right platform to match your goals is critical to ensure the success of its implementation. Your goals must come first: if your chosen IIoT vendor or platform cannot match your objectives/ambitions, you might find it difficult to implement the new technologies in a way that achieves the goals you have in mind.

Cyntech uses MindSphere, a cloud-based IIoT system that has been developed by Siemens. MindSphere is a safe open-source platform (PaaS) that converts data into valuable information. The open-source capabilities mean that it can easily be adopted for any practical use imaginable. The digital network of devices it enables allows us to collect the maximum amount of raw data possible. The collected data can then be encrypted and analysed, and finally turned into information that can be implemented in analytical models that are aimed at predictive maintenance and optimised operations. This information can then easily be presented to technicians and management alike to improve business operations and output.

  1. Think sustainably and plan accordingly

With more and more legislation coming into play in the industrial sector of the economy each year, you need to have a plan in place to keep up with legislative demands. Traditional methods of data collection are causing a lot of wastage as preventative and predictive analysis of plant systems are not optimised for minimal wastage. Cyntech is focused on providing an environmentally sustainable, ethical solution to your IIoT requirements. Our registration with the Green Building Council (GBCSA) also ensures that we design in a holistic and environmentally sustainable manner.

This is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted. (E&OE)

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