28 n SMART FACTORIES November/December 2022 www.drivesncontrols.com Eight trends driving the Industrial IoT T he Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is transforming traditional, linear manufacturing practices into dynamic, interconnected systems, helping factories to unleash their potential to run more efficiently, productively and proactively. By interconnecting legacy machines, sensors and edge devices, and deploying those technologies directly on the manufacturing floor, the IIoT is able to stream lucrative data, driving operational intelligence, situational awareness and predictive analytics. As a result, managers can make informed decisions on issues such as the predictive maintenance of equipment, or identifying supply chain problems before they occur. Although it is often thought that the IIoT is derived from consumer technologies such as home automation systems andWi-Fi, industry embraced this disruptive technology first. Today, the IIoT is growing faster than the consumer segment, with the global market for IIoT products and services estimated to have been worth $263bn in 2021. The market is predicted to continue this upward trajectory in the coming years, reaching $1.1 trillion by 2028. We have identified eight key trends that are making their way through networked factories that embrace the principles of IIoT. Evolution is the natural course for technology, and the IIoT is no exception. Trends emerging today will become established business practices tomorrow. Before we start, however, I want to stress that the right path in every manufacturer’s IIoT journey is to start with the business problem and understand what data you need to allow you to make strategic decisions. Once you know what problem you are solving, and how you will measure the benefits, the next step is to make a comprehensive plan with clearly defined goals and objectives that will allow you to track progress and resolutions to reach your business objectives. From there, the next step is to invest in people, applications, sensors and connectivity. Top trends Many developments are shaping the IIoT in 2022, ranging from innovations in connectivity, software and hardware, to enhancing human sensory capabilities – all of which have the potential to influence production systems and processes with improved data-driven intelligence. While this list is not exhaustive, it does reveal some of the key enablers that are advancing the IIoT. Artificial Intelligence AI is the simulation of intelligent processes by computers to analyse data for correlations and patterns, and to use these patterns to make accurate predictions about the future. Companies are increasingly turning to AI to analyse IIoT data to track equipment usage, improve workflows, streamline logistics, increase safety, and achieve higher efficiencies across every aspect of their operations. In particular, preventive maintenance systems are combining IIoT data with AI to predict and prevent equipment problems before they occur, saving millions in unplanned downtime. The global market for AI applications for IIoT is expected to expand at an annual rate of around 27% in the period to 2026. Human Augmentation and Extended Reality These revolutionary technologies enhance the environment by superimposing computer-generated images onto a user’s view of the real world. By blending the two worlds, they provide more information about The digitalisation of manufacturing is changing the way we run our production plants. Henry Martel, a field application engineer with the industrial networking and communications specialist Antaira Technologies, examines eight of the key technologies that are driving these changes.