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How to boost chances of IIoT deployment success

How to boost chances of IIoT deployment success
Needless to say, the industrial internet of things (IIoT) has become a trend, helping manufacturers in various ways. However, from time to time deployment failures are reported by end users, who need to take certain measures to make their IIoT deployment a success.
The industrial revolution has gone through several stages, from machines replacing manual labor to production lines where goods are produced en masse. Now, according to many, manufacturing is going through a new stage enabled with connected devices and the data they generate, under the IIoT or Industry 4.0 scheme.
Benefits of IIoT are manifold. Machine vision, for example, can replace human vision and detect defects of faults at a more precise and accurate manner. There is also the benefit of predictive maintenance, whereby connected sensors attached to machines can detect impending failure and inform the operator accordingly. This, then, leads to reduced downtime.
“One of the really significant challenges faced by industrial companies is unplanned downtime,” said Alex West, senior principal analyst for industrial technology at IHS Markit | Technology. “Just to quantity that challenge, it’s estimated in the automotive industry that US$20,000 to $30,000 per minute is lost through unplanned downtime. New applications enabled through IIoT, maintenance and asset-health monitoring are really helping overcome these challenges. We’ve estimated around a 30 percent average saving or reduction in unplanned downtime can be achieved through industrial IoT solutions.”
Another benefit is faster time-to-market, which is crucial to the manufacturer’s competitive edge. “The benefits of IIoT solutions facilitated by enabled devices can be realized across the entire lifecycle of production, from product design, to monitoring inventory levels in the supply chain,” West said. “For example, Harley Davidson a few years ago was facing business challenges in terms of fulfilling customer requirements. By improving the connectivity of its plant, the company was able to reduce the time to meet new orders filled from 21 days down to six hours.”
Indeed, benefits brought by IIoT have caused an increase in demand. A recent study by IHS Markit | Technology points out that new developments in IIoT will help propel annual IIoT node shipments to 224 million units in 2023, a 100 million unit increase from 124 million in 2018.

Addressing IIoT deployment failure

Despite the rosy prospects as well as the benefits that IIoT brings, many deployments are still seeing failure, which the market research company defines as not meeting the customer’s expected payback.
“At the proof-of-concept phase, about half of IIoT projects are failing — which is acceptable for companies attempting to be agile and trial new applications. However, there is a similar failure rate when companies move to the deployment stage. This means companies are investing enormous sums in these projects but aren’t getting the payback they expected,” West said. “Many times, the high failure rate can be attributed to inflated expectations. A total of 50 percent of companies expect to see payback within one year, although many of these projects can take much longer to generate returns.”
That said, IHS Markit | Technology recommends manufacturers take the following steps to increase their chances of IIoT success:
•    Specify the project by determining in advance which exact challenges you want IIoT to address.
•    Start small, with some pilot projects of concepts to see how the technology can be utilized.
•    Go right to the top, with senior-level management support for projects.
•    Get the urge to converge, by ensuring support from all relevant functional groups.
•    Leverage your people power, by getting staff involved with deploying the technology and encouraging them to view IIoT not as a threat, but as an augmentation to their job capabilities.

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