The impact and opportunities of Internet of Things

Definition: Internet of Things

Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of interconnected devices that can collect and exchange data via the internet. IoT devices with sensors can connect to the internet and allow users to access their data independent of their location. An IoT device is already useful on its own, however, having multiple devices used together the system becomes even more powerful and valuable to users.

Industrial IoT (IIoT) is a subcategory of IoT playing an essential role in Industry 4.0, an industrial revolution which focuses on smart technology, automation, AI, data and interconnectivity. IIoT helps to integrate connected devices into industrial processes in order to increase efficiency and productivity. IIoT technology provides organizations with visibility and troubleshooting abilities, resulting in time savings, process optimisation, and safety enhancements.

IIoT application industries

The technology focuses on digital control/allocation systems and industrial Big Data for better decision-making and process optimisation. Resulting the two main industries where IIoT provides significant benefits to be the manufacturing and the energy industry.

In the manufacturing sector, IIoT enables businesses to gain valuable insight into factory operations by collecting data from machines via sensors. This data can be used to adjust control systems so that operational efficiency can be increased.

In the energy industry, IIoT solutions provide benefits such as improved monitoring of field assets across large geographic areas, real-time analysis of information about power grid performance, pipeline flow as well as emissions monitoring.

IoT benefits

  • Improved efficiency.
    IIoT provides organizations with the ability to successfully monitor their assets, processes and resources to become more efficient. By collecting data on power and other resources that are used in industrial processes, businesses gain insight into resource utilisation. This knowledge provides the opportunity to reduce consumption and improve productivity, leading to cost savings and performance improvements.
  • Reduced downtime.
    Predictive maintenance enabled by IIoT can help reducing downtime and expenses associated with facilities and equipment. By providing employees with early warnings, companies can limit their losses in revenue, as well as ensuring reliable access to energy, water, and other essential resources for cities. Additionally, a predictive maintenance program realized through IoT can lower maintenance costs resulting from more severe breakdowns or damages. This can also significantly increase the lifetime of machines. In the case of utility companies, reliable access to energy, water and other vital resources for cities can be ensured.
  • Remote control.
    When connected to the Internet, equipment can be controlled from any location with authorized access and the correct software. Control of machinery can range from manual operation to scheduled or automatic adjustment according to changing environmental factors. The remote control of equipment enhances the user’s ability to operate agile in rapidly changing conditions.
  • Increased security.
    The control of online infrastructure can entail potential risks; nevertheless, comprehensive security features and encryption can efficiently prevent unwanted access and data loss. A cautious choice of connected devices and software can help organizations to ensure data protection and manage resources more effectively. With appropriate authentication as well as customized administrative options, companies can reduce risk while maintaining efficient management of their information and hardware.
  • Smarter decision making.
    Smart sensors offer many advantages in data collection. With these sensors, organizations can collect more data in greater detail. Subsequently, big data analytics can be used to derive insights from the collected data and make better decisions based on those findings. Additionally, predictive analytics capabilities allow businesses to anticipate future outcomes and take the necessary actions accordingly. Smart sensors are essential to increase the value of organizations’ datasets and make informed decisions.
  • Increased ROI.
    IoT and IIoT can be a key driver to help businesses increase ROI and reduce costs. Businesses can benefit from energy efficiency improvements and predictive maintenance to stay competitive while at the same time minimising risks. These technologies can also provide new growth opportunities by creating new revenue streams and enabling better decision-making.

IoT and climate protection

IoT can do more than just make our lives easier – it has the potential to help saving our planet. Thanks to global innovators, IoT is being used as a tool to combat climate change by aligning connected devices with international standards. For instance, smart thermostats let households optimize their energy usage and allow users to turn off devices remotely, reducing domestic energy consumption. Smart traffic management systems can efficiently reduce road congestion, ultimately lowering urban carbon emissions. These are just a few of many examples of how IoT directly or indirectly contributes to optimised use of natural resources.

IIoT solutions of KPA Automation softPLC

To take full advantage of IIoT capabilities, a powerful system is required to manage connected devices. To achieve this, KPA Automation softPLC offers easy integration with existing systems via simple wizards and tools.

For example, the OPC UA Publish-Subscribe mechanism mechanism of KPA Automation softPLC enables efficient communication and provides an easy way to integrate with the extensive world of IIoT applications. Using this technology, publishers can simply send a unicast/multicast package, while subscribers listen at their local address (unicast) or at a predefined multicast address.

In addition, a broker can be used for communication between devices and the cloud. Hundreds or thousands of devices can push their data up while subscribers receive messages from the broker. KPA Automation softPLC enables devices to communicate with each other and the cloud using MQTT – a low-bandwidth messaging protocol that is great for machine-to-machine (M2M) telemetry. Publish/subscribe technology is used, so senders and receivers remain decoupled from each other. An MQTT broker receives messages, filters them, and distributes them correctly to users who have subscribed to particular topics. The data itself can be packed in JSON for web-based solutions. Additionally, OPC UA Servers representing services or devices can stream data directly to cloud-hosted apps including backend servers, big data analytics for optimization, and predictive maintenance. Industries ranging from automotive to manufacturing take advantage of MQTT every day, using its possibilities for their own benefits.

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