Industrial IoT cuts the wires for future flexibility

As industrial organisations move to unwired systems to enable them to utilise mobile machines, such as robots, but also to allow for manufacturing floors to be reconfigured and for greater flexibility in general, traditional wired environments are being replaced by wireless connectivity. However, the array of potential technologies is bewildering and often dependent on the use cases involved. Rushing to a wrong decision can have long-term negative consequences but focusing only on today’s needs means organisations don’t get the flexibility they need to succeed, writes George Malim

Traditional product manufacturing companies are moving to selling their products as-a-service but this means they must be manufactured with greater capability for personalisation. Products are typically adapted for use in specific regions but factories are also moving to create global products that can be configured via software over-the-air (OTA) to match with end user requirements.

In industrial environments, similar flexibility is needed to enable production lines to scale up, to alter and improve and to accommodate multiple versions of the same product. Traditional cabling, which can amount to many kilometres on a traditional industrial site is costly and disruptive to re-route – if possible – and time-consuming and expensive to replace.

Build versus buy

Buying hardware off-the-shelf rather than building it in-house is a means to simplify and accelerate deployments. “The expertise of a device manufacturer following proven methods of best practice significantly reduces hardware integration costs, not to mention manpower – not all organisations possess the manufacturing expertise required and would need to invest in researching, upskilling and hiring new talent to build devices in-house,” adds Kegel. “Another advantage of buying off-the-shelf is faster digitalisation and time-to-value since device design, development and certification can require over two years.”

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What’s in this issue?

  • Case Study: How to design IoT for the completely connected control room
  • Smart Home Security: Tony Savvas explores the latest advances in smart home security
  • Virtual Antenna Technology: Dr Carles Puentes explains why Ignion’s Virtual Antenna is changing the game for IoT connectivity
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