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IIoT in manufacturing: 5 key trends to watch for in 2024

IIoT in manufacturing: 5 key trends to watch for in 2024
Needless to say, Industrial IoT (IIoT) or Industry 4.0 is gaining momentum among manufacturers across the globe. This article gives a review of IIoT in 2023 and looks at what can be expected this year.
Needless to say, Industrial IoT (IIoT) or Industry 4.0 is gaining momentum among manufacturers across the globe. IIoT refers to the use of IoT technologies to make production safer, more efficient and cost-effective. This article gives a review of IIoT in 2023 and looks at what can be expected this year.
Looking back, the IIoT market grew in 2023 due to various drivers. “We can look at 2023 as another year of IoT market growth, albeit in a smaller percentage than in 2022 and with many ups and downs. However, the industrial application of IoT technologies is clearly increasing,” said Christian Salvatori, CTO of Brochesia. “This growth is driven by perceived benefits such as efficiency, effectiveness, consequent increase in productivity and cost reduction, and also increased safety of industrial processes.”
He added: “Other drivers of this growth are the shift, for companies with connected devices, of key applications to the cloud and the arrival of increasingly advanced and powerful hardware. Finally, the coming into force in 2023 of new regulations has made companies more directly concerned with environmental sustainability, encouraging the application of IoT solutions to improve their environmental impact.”

What’s in store for 2024

As for 2024, IIoT is expected to see continued growth and deployment as more manufacturers rely on industrial automation to achieve greater productivity and efficiency. That said, below we look at some of the top IIoT trends we can expect for this year.

Artificial intelligence

AI will continue to dominate in the IIoT scene in 2024 due to its various benefits. For example, AI coupled with machine vision can help detect defects more accurately and effectively than the naked human eye. Meanwhile, inventory management, demand forecasting and factory floor optimization can all be enhanced with AI.
“Regarding AI, perhaps the most talked about technology topic of the past year, the link to IoT was clear, and we expect the trend to continue in 2024. We ourselves, in Brochesia, are working on some projects that integrate augmented reality with AI, to promote even more innovation and digitization of the industrial world,” Salvatori said.

5G and ‘updates’ on 6G

With 5G becoming more mature, its applications in IIoT are also more noticeable. Offering theoretical download and upload speeds of 20 Gbps and 10 Gbps, respectively, 5G can play a critical role in factory settings where machines send data to each other and to the back end, allowing smooth operations for everything from robotic arms to automatic guided vehicles. And, while maybe not this year, 6G will make its debut in IIoT in the not-so-distant future, benefiting manufacturers even more.
“One of the most important aspects for IIoT in 2024 is going to be connectivity. Therefore, we will keep an eye on 5G development this year and also on possible updates on 6G,” Salvatori said.

Fog/edge computing

Moving computing to the edge has become critical in IIoT, and this will be even more so this year. Indeed, while cloud offers greater processing power, bandwidth constraints and latency are some of its limitations. Manufacturers, then, turn to edge computing and fog computing; the latter refers to the intermediary layer between cloud and edge and decides which data goes to cloud and which ones remain on the edge.
“Fog computing … relocates intelligence to the edge of the network, where the machinery exists. This enables real-time control as well as enhanced security and greater manageability. It’s easy to see how fog computing in IIoT should become standard practice throughout the industry,” said a blogpost by ATS.

Digital twins

Digital twins have become an important concept. While most applications are seen in the construction industry, manufacturers can benefit from digital twins as well.
“Remote access is a common thread through 2024 IIoT trends, for convenience and productivity as much as for health and safety. One of the biggest advances in remote manufacturing operations is digital twin technology, which is a digital representation of a physical component or machine in a factory,” the ATS blogpost said. “Through sensors and connectivity, the digital twin is constantly updated to reflect the actual condition, status and performance of the physical piece. IIoT manufacturing technology such as AI enables simulations that can aid in planning and forecasting — all without the need to be on the factory floor, or even on-site.”


Finally, with sensors and devices playing more important roles in a factory setting, making sure they can communicate smoothly becomes key. This is where IIoT products and solutions can rely on standards like Matter, which is already gaining traction at the home but may also be beneficial in manufacturing.
“Perhaps the quality of Matter that could benefit the industrial environment is that it is designed to improve interoperability between different smart devices, regardless of manufacturer,” Salvatori said. “It is possible that a line of production has machines, or IIoT gateways, made by different manufacturers, and in this case Matter could be a way to make integration between different components smoother.”

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