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How To Successfully Implement Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Solutions

Most businesses fail to realize the benefits and cost savings that come with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) due to a poor implementation strategy. At Corvalent, we’ve created an implementation overview guide that helps you take a systematic approach to the right strategy, technology, and organizational readiness.

Here are the steps to best implement IIoT solutions:

  1. Define Objectives and Use Cases
  • Identify Business Goals: Determine what you aim to achieve with IIoT, such as improving efficiency, reducing costs, enhancing safety, or enabling predictive maintenance.
  • Select 2-3 NARROW Use Cases: Focus on specific narrow use cases on high-value areas of the business for applications like asset tracking, condition monitoring, energy management, or smart manufacturing.
  1. Conduct a Feasibility Study
  • Assess Current Infrastructure: Evaluate existing key systems, critical machinery, and network capabilities to understand what needs upgrading or integration.
  • ROI Analysis: Estimate the potential long-term return on investment and benefits versus the costs of implementation. The cost of implementation can spiral out of control if you go too wide in your focus. Start with looking at ways you can leverage existing sensors, PLCs, and other hardware to pull a solution together.
  1. Choose Value Added Technology and Partners
  • Find a Partner: Surround yourself with the right experts who can partner with your team to close any knowledge gaps. Don’t go at it alone.
  • Select an IIoT Software Platform: Build your platform or buy one? Evaluate platforms that offer scalability, security, and interoperability.
  • Hardware and Sensors: Choose compatible sensors, actuators, and edge devices that can reliably collect and transmit data. Choose agnostic solutions to avoid vendor lock-in.
  • Connectivity Solutions: Ensure robust and secure communication channels, such as 4G, 5G, LPWAN, or traditional Wi-Fi, depending on the use case and location.
  1. Develop or Buy a Scalable Solution
  • Edge Computing: Implement edge computing to process data close to where it is generated, reducing latency and bandwidth usage.
  • On-Premise, Cloud or Both?: Determine where you’ll host your solution and consider data storage, analytics, and machine learning applications.
  • Don’t get stuck in a silo: Ensure your IIoT system can integrate with existing enterprise systems like ERP, MES, and SCADA.
  1. Ensure Data Security and Privacy
  • Security Protocols: Implement solutions with robust cybersecurity measures, including encryption, authentication, and access control is a must for any organization.
  • Compliance: Seek solutions that adhere to industry standards and regulations related to data security and privacy.
  1. Implement and Test
  • Pilot Projects: Start with a pilot project in a medium to high value area of your business to validate the technology and processes on a small scale.
  • Iterative Testing: Continuously test and refine the system, collecting feedback and making necessary adjustments. Have an engineering organization working along side of your can help with identifying and resolving issues quickly.
  1. Train and Engage Employees
  • Training Programs: Change is tough, but necessary. Frame the benefits to each department and those within that department. Don’t leave employees without direction. Provide comprehensive training for employees on how to use and manage IIoT systems.
  • Change Management: Creating a culture of innovation and adaptability can help address any resistance to change. Leaders need to lead.
  1. Remotely Monitor and Optimize
  • Continuous Remote Monitoring: Use real-time dashboards and analytics to monitor system performance and health.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Implement predictive analytics to anticipate and address issues before they cause downtime.
  • Performance Metrics: Regularly review performance metrics and KPIs to ensure the system meets business objectives.
  1. Scale!
  • Expand Application Use Cases: Once the pilot is successful, gradually scale up the IIoT implementation across other areas of the business or other assets. Maybe you started at one plant, can you replicate that success at another plant?
  • Refine and Integrate: Continuously refine the technology and integrate new use cases as they emerge.
  1. Evaluate, Adjust and Repeat
  • Regular Reviews: Periodically evaluate the system’s performance, business impact, scalability, and security.
  • Adjust and Innovate: Stay updated with the latest IIoT trends and innovations, continuously improving your solution and knowledge base.
  • Repeat: Repeat this process in other high-value areas of the business to gain a technology advantage over your competition.

If you follow these steps, your organization will be able to effectively implement IIoT solutions, leading to improved operational efficiency, cost savings, and enhanced decision-making capabilities.

Thoughts by: Ian Macrone, IIoT Hardware and Software Sales