The Internet of Things continues its streak of incredible growth, and industrial sectors are perhaps making the biggest strides in adoption
This is in part due to the wide range of technologies providing meaning contributions to industrial IoT applications. Furthermore, the scope of the IoT goes far beyond manufacturing; logistics, transportation, and supply-chain management can all benefit from the IoT. So what the most important technologies fuelling the fourth industrial revolution?
In the past, construction often involved purchasing aerial shots of land for a variety of purposes, and these images often came at a high cost. In addition, photographs were often outdated or lacked sufficient resolution. Today, low-cost drones can provide even better images, lowering a number of costs associated with construction. These drones can also play a valuable role in various inspections, and they can provide real-time progress reports.
Logistics play a key role in industrial sectors, and the cost of manual tracking items and managing databases could be high. Thanks to RFID technology, it’s far easier to automate these tasks. Furthermore, RFID technology can provide real-time information to people within the company and their clients, making it easier to predict when items will arrive. The data collected through RFIDs can provide valuable data for optimizing processes.
Although digital twins are a natural way of abstracting the IoT, the concept has real power for changing how businesses operate. These digital companions are easy to track and monitor, and they provide valuable means for testing ideas and gaining a useful overview of how a company operates. In addition to offering powerful monitoring capabilities, digital twins can also provide useful diagnostic tools, leading to better predictive and maintenance options.
The idea of the IoT can be viewed as collecting data and leaving the tasks of analyzing it to other fields. Machine learning, in particular, has been shown to provide excellent insights. The amount of data the IoT collects lets companies explore correlations between data points that might not have an intuitive connection, and some of these results are counterintuitive. Often, however, traditional computer statistics aren’t sufficient to uncover these connections. Machine learning, however, can find even small signals that would otherwise be buried in the noise.
The blockchain concept gained attention due to its role in Bitcoin and other cybercurrencies. However, study from IBM and other tech giants has shown it to be a useful tool in a wide range of fields. By avoiding reliance on a third-party the way other security technologies do, it provides an internal solution especially useful in the industrial field. Furthermore, blockchain is believed to solve many security issues others technologies can’t avoid. In fields where authenticity is critical, included food and medication, blockchain technology can provide an extra degree of assurance.
Neither the IoT nor 3D printing rely on each other, but they form a powerful combination. The IoT is designed with flexibility in mind, and its responsive and flexible nature makes the pairing natural. Although 3D printing might not fully offset more traditional manufacturing methods, it can fill in the gaps when needed. Furthermore, 3D printing allows for the manufacture of internal products that can lead to even better efficiency.
The IoT and the cloud work well together. However, the sheer volume of data collected means sending everything to remote servers can become cumbersome. To correct this problem, major IT companies are offering edge computing options that perform much of the processing on local devices. Edge computing doesn’t supplant the cloud; it provides a powerful complement that lets industrial entities operate faster and more efficiently.
Transferring data is one of the foundations of the IoT. Although wired and WiFi connections are generally preferable when available, mobile connectivity is critical in a number of areas, including agricultural applications in remote areas and for transportation. Being able to connect to the internet over a broad geographical areas enable so much more flexibility when designing and implementing IoT structures, and it will serve as a cornerstone of new installations and expand the reach of existing ones.
The IoT has already established a strong presence in industry, and experts are unanimous that its role will only increase in the coming years. However, the IoT is dependent on a number of other technologies, and taking a holistic view of the field is essential for understanding its future. The potential it promises means all players in adjacent fields will provide ample investment and research to ensure industrial actors are able to maximize their IoT potential.