How the Internet of Things (IoT) Can Transform Your Business

Remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, and digital twins are making manufacturing and distribution businesses more efficient and adaptable than ever before. Discover how the Industrial Internet of Things are driving us toward a more productive future.

innovation internet of things

Introducing IoT for Industry

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is a major trend driving the next stage of the manufacturing industry, known as Industry 4.0. IoT is all about the enhancement of business processes and solutions with sensors, devices, gateways and platforms. By gathering all their data in one place, manufacturers can make intelligent decisions and design more efficient processes. This allows them to meet the rising demand for high-quality, customized goods at a lower cost, with faster turn-around times.

IoT isn’t simply about gathering data. Data also needs to be analyzed and enriched to deliver insights businesses can act upon. This is where artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, and analytics come in. Intelligently designed software uses these tools to uncover hidden trends, optimize business processes, and support workers.

Why Manufacturing Businesses Need IoT

IoT devices can collect performance data automatically, which can be used for predictive maintenance to avoid down-time or increase machine availability. With clients expecting greater levels of customization, and faster production, than before, many manufacturers are seeking ways to increase their productivity.

This means that to stay competitive, manufacturers need to relieve their employees of repetitive, process-driven tasks, such as walking around a plant to manually inspect machines. While there should always be a role for manual human oversight, it’s more productive to upskill workers to more creative, engineering-focused roles, such as product development.

IoT doesn’t simply automate existing processes, it also allows companies to develop new products and business models based on the data they create. Read on for some great examples of these.

IoT services help you with more efficient supply chain operation.

How IoT Can Digitize Your Supply Chain

IoT devices can automatically track the location of each product, so you know where they are in real-time, and avoid the risk of human error in records. By tracking the path of your trucks, railcars, or vessels, IoT can also identify when a transport asset is being under or overutilized, and even calculate the most efficient transport route.

With IoT, information can also be more easily shared between shippers, consignees, carriers, and freight forwarders. This allows for more transparency and accountability, flexibility, and automation, leading to greater cost efficiencies.

Track and Trace with our Logistics Bridge

Existing track-and-trace technologies have changed how warehouses track good, but they’re a nightmare to integrate. We took the technology out of the warehouse and then made it easy to use. Our customers are thrilled with the reduced operational costs and the increase in transparency. The sensors are especially important when shipping fragile biological goods sensitive to temperature changes or mishandling.

Our Logistics Bridges are an example of how we can innovate for logistics solutions right now.

Learn more about our Logistics Bridge Case
Streamline and automate manufacturing processes with IoT services.

IoT and Smart Factories

As well as optimizing the supply chain, IoT devices are transforming the factory. Smart sensors, actuators, and chips are allowing modern manufacturers to record, capture and analyze critical information about their production assets and resources. With a detailed overview of the state of all their machinery, materials, and output readiness, smart factories can meet demands for shorter delivery times and more environmentally sustainable operations. IoT is also enabling manufacturers to produce a greater range of customized and built-to-order products, with lot sizes as small as one unit, whilst still protecting their profit margin.

IoT helps you with more efficient asset management.

IoT and Asset Management

In many factories, the health of machinery is known only to the workers who operate it, if at all. Without a centralized system, it’s easy for maintenance to be missed and breakdowns to occur. Alternatively, equipment can easily be over-maintained, increasing factory costs.

With smart sensors and the right software, manufacturers can monitor the health of their equipment remotely. This is done by creating a digital twin, a virtual representation of a machine. Digital twins make it easier to visualize problems, as well as run simulations of what will happen in certain scenarios.

With the help of machine learning, software can even detect when a breakdown is likely to happen. This means that fewer on-site visits are required, and production schedules can be more accurate. Maintenance becomes proactive, and orders are no longer missed due to unplanned downtime.

Combining Machine Sensors with Preditctive Technology to Safe Energy

XERVON’s site has multiple cooling towers. We equipped each with temperature and vibration sensors. Using SAP Leonardo and cloud resources, we analyze that sensor data along with data about a plant’s cooling needs and weather forecasts. The result is a system that can regulate a cooling tower’s pump and fan speeds, optimizing energy use. When usage is so low that XERVON can shut down a tower completely, the vibration sensors, which indicate potential mechanical trouble, allow for informed preventative maintenance. This is smart cooling.

Learn more about our XERVON Case
IoT and Augmented reality glasses are making workers more efficient.

Safer and More Efficient Workplaces

Augmented reality glasses are making workers more efficient, as well as protecting them from risks. In warehouse operations, smart glasses can display the products to be packed, eliminating the need to carry a clipboard. On assembly lines, instructions can also be delivered by audio, making it easier for workers to use tools. Additionally, speech and gestures can be used to control a heads-up display, in the same manner that we use voice control on our mobile devices or in our cars. With location tracking, it’s even possible to alert employees when they’re entering an area that puts them at risk. For example, a gas leak at a processing plant can’t always be detected by smell, but if it’s detected and sent as an alert to nearby workers, a likely accident can be avoided.

See How IoT Is Being Used By Real Businesses

Using Digital Twins to Optimize a High-Bay Warehouse

A digital twin is a virtual version of the real thing, whether it’s a piece of equipment, a machine, a vehicle, or even an entire facility. Sensors capture what is happening in reality and provide a perfect simulation, making it easier to visualize data and make decisions.

In this video, Wolfgang Möller, our Global Director of Discrete Industries & Internet of Things, explains how digital twins help to maintain and operate a high-bay warehouse.

Watch the video

Mixed Reality Headsets Can Assist Service Technicians

With devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens and software developed by NTT DATA Business Solutions, service technicians can use mixed reality to see virtual objects superimposed on the real world. These objects can even be interacted with as if they existed in reality. Wolfgang Möller, Global Director Discrete Industries & Internet of Things, explains how mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR) can make the life of your service technicians easier. This scenario has been developed together with the service organization of one of our customers.

Watch the video

Smart Cities Are Being Built with IoT

IoT helps to make cities and other public places greener and meet the UN DSG. Information about traffic and roadworks helps cities to organize current traffic flow, as well as give insights about necessary infrastructural overhaul or help planning new infrastructure. Parking sensors help residents and visitors to avoid the endless search for free parking spots, while weather sensors can warn residents and visitors of dangerous weather situations.

Smarter Waste Management with IoT

Waste management is built around regular schedules, yet we don’t produce the same amount of waste every day. NTT DATA Business Solutions and SAP have developed a solution that responds to actual demand for waste disposal, saving fuel, and reducing environmental impact.

Implementing IoT In Your Business

Recording and transmitting data from IoT devices is one step, but using this data effectively is another step entirely. IoT platforms can easily become another silo of data that sits unused, which is why it’s crucial to ensure they’re accessible to as many workers as possible, and that data is continually analyzed using automated processes and machine learning. With NTT DATA Business Solutions, your IoT data can be fully integrated with an ERP platform, such as SAP S/4HANA, or a next-generation CRM, such as SAP Customer Experience and SAP Manufacturing Solutions. This enables employees from across the organization to access and analyze the same set of data, which is hosted in the cloud, or processed locally, in the case of edge computing.

With machines controlled remotely, data security and governance are of course paramount. Communications can be end-to-end encrypted, and instructions can even be stored in a blockchain, making them impossible to tamper with.

IoT Innovation to the Point

We develop clear IoT use case scenarios in the context of pilot projects that we successfully convert into market ready IoT solutions.

Wolfgang Möller Global Director Discrete Industries & Internet of Things

Start Your IoT Project With Us

Whichever stage you are at, we can help you to complete your transformation into a smart business. IoT projects with NTT DATA Business Solutions do not require huge initial investments or unnecessary migrations. Our clients often start small, testing different scenarios and pursuing the most advantageous ones. Whether the focus is on optimizing one business unit or redesigning an entire business, our projects are always quantified and designed to deliver tangible value. We support you from the outset.

To discover where your project could go, simply contact us online. We’ll discuss where your pain points lie, what you want to achieve, and how NTT DATA Business Solutions can help you to get there. Or learn first more about our innovation consulting.

More about our innovation consulting

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