Using Data to Transform Business
For years, companies were focused on simply acquiring data, but now the focus is increasingly on better understanding data and using it to improve performance and outcomes. Accordingly, the manufacturing sector is slowly moving from using the Internet of Things (IoT) to the Internet of Everything (IoE), explained Doug Bellin, Global Senior Manager Industries, Cisco Systems.
Bellin noted that IoE is broader than IoT, including a focus on much more than just things. IoE is about people, processes and things. Instead of just acquiring data, manufacturers are now adding intelligence to data to inform decision making.
The more sophisticated use of data in manufacturing does introduce some safety concerns, especially in the area of data security, Bellin highlighted. He explained that the manufacturing industry has traditionally maintained “security by obscurity,” meaning that machines were secure only because they were not connected to each other or the Internet. This old way of operating is not sustainable in the modern marketplace.
For small- to medium-sized manufacturers who are just beginning to utilize the IoE, Bellin suggested starting with increased communication between IT and operations. He said companies need interdepartmental partnerships to increase trust and understanding.
Bellin also highlighted the opportunities that the IoE presents for predictive maintenance, which allows businesses to predict when equipment is going to fail, so they can better prepare and avoid downtime. He also noted that new connected factories will allow companies to better serve consumers who are increasingly demanding customization.
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