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The Untapped Potential of the IoT and Smart Utilization of Heavy Industrial Assets

IIoT projects work best with an outcome-centric approach coupled with design thinking, which applies new-age technologies in the context of a domain to create tangible impact for sustainable competitive advantage.
By Sukant Acharya
Mar 21, 2018

Managing the risks and opportunities related to asset operations for industrial companies is not new. Companies have processes to try to optimize inventory and logistics, and to put measures in place to minimize outages, but the effectiveness has been limited. Why have these efforts been ineffective? There are a few reasons: traditional data sources often have quality issues, while reactive analytics has been mostly limited to reporting historical information or generating alerts only when one data point goes over a set threshold, just to name a few examples.

As stagnating industrial productivity persists, companies have been compelled to re-examine the overall effectiveness of asset operations. The emergence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is bringing a new perspective and rewriting the book on asset performance and efficiency. Companies that leverage this technology will outpace performance inflation and stay ahead of the competition.

Using the Untapped Potential of the IoT and Smart Use of Heavy Industrial Assets to Improve Operations
Often, the assets that can contribute more than half of an industrial company's total asset base hold the key to both opportunities and operational risks. For example, if a critical 2,000-barrel-a-day pump at an oil company goes down with oil priced at $100 a barrel, a company can lose $200,000 daily because of a single piece of faulty equipment. Industrial companies need to ask themselves how the new IIoT model can help to prevent these systemic vulnerabilities.

Combining New Digital Technologies and Intelligent Processes
Traditional models have been rigid, inflexible and non-optimal in dealing with the asset lifecycle. The IIoT brings a whole new perspective and expands the possibilities for asset performance, by leveraging an additional smart player in the mix—smart assets that combine with new digital technology and intelligent processes.

Possibilities range from increasing effectiveness with sensors that better connect the performance of various assets, to doing things differently by using that connected data to streamline and improve processes. Companies can also launch a new set of business models, such as developing additional revenue from new aftermarket services. The IIoT helps industrial companies to completely reimagine outcomes and opens doors to huge untapped potential in asset operations.

Using Existing Data More Effectively
Industrial companies sit on a mountain of data but struggle to draw insights from this information because data collection often occurs in silos leveraging disparate systems. Aggregation, synthesis and analysis happen with extensive manual intervention, which compromises the agility, quality and timeliness of the insights.

IoT-based systems force the disparate sources to converge, and amplify the quality by seamlessly aggregating real-time data from the assets and removing the need for manual interventions. As a simple benefit, IoT-enabled operations help users to monitor assets better with greater granularity, which alerts companies to trigger events with better accuracy. This also tracks fleets with improved precession, helps better monitor asset performance and drives insight for better control.

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