The Industrial Internet of Things

Creating intelligent solutions to solve real-world problems

3 min read
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What is Industry 4.0 and Industrial IoT?

Industry 4.0, Industrial IoT, and Industrial Internet are used interchangeably when talking about the new era of manufacturing. A digital ecosystem of connected machines, equipment and devices that communicate with one another, this cyber physical system with machine-to-machine (M2M) communication monitors and evaluates the physical processes in a manufacturing facility to ultimately make decentralized decisions.

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An evolution from Automation & Robotics, Industry 4.0 is the combination of computers and machine learning algorithms that gives equipment the ability to adjust and control processes based on data it collects. This is all done with very little human intervention.

The Clear Benefits of IoT

Solve Real Problems

From energy usage and preventative maintenance to supply chain management and personnel scheduling, the Internet of Things helps you monitor, analyze, and act on real-time data. Stop overspending on energy or worrying about having the right amount of personnel during peak production.

Reduce Costs

IoT is expected to help companies reduce overall costs by 3.6% annually (PWC). Equipment and devices making scheduled and decentralized decisions using historical operational data help reduce energy and inventory waste and equipment downtime.

Improve Efficiency

Companies implementing an IoT solution expect to increase efficiency by 4.1% (PWC). Using data analytics and machine learning, factories and manufacturing facilities are able to optimize production leading to increased output and efficiency.

Avoid Downtime

Downtime costs industrial manufacturers an estimated $50 billion annually (Deloitte). Preventative maintenance based on collected data will help reduce average downtime by 10-20% (Deloitte). 

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Implement the Internet of Things

Get Connected

Hardwiring IoT devices or equipment to the internet has its advantages: reliable connectivity, longer range, and sometimes faster speeds. You have an overwhelming number of connectivity options when hardwiring isn't possible, portable devices or wireless connections are preferred. In wireless technology, the data communication is performed and delivered over the air via electromagnetic waves, e.g. radio frequencies, infrared, and satellite, rather than over cables and wires. When choosing the right type of connectivity solution you should consider range, power consumption, and applications.

Collect Data

Edge devices allow us to capture data in order to make smarter decisions. These are the front-most devices of any IoT system. They primarily work as either a sensing device to collect physical environment information, or as an actuator to control the outside world with an output. In some cases, edge devices perform a dual role, acting as both a sensing and actuating device to collect and control the physical environment.

Sensors: Temperature, Humidity, Pressure, Gas, Light, Sound, RFID, NFC, Ultrasonics, Flow Meter, Fluid, Cameras, etc.

Actuators: Switch, Relays, PLCs, Motors, etc.

Organize, Transfer, & Store Your Data

All of the data that is captured from equipment and devices must be stored somewhere. The data is securely transferred to a gateway using PLCs, which organize the data, and network switches, which connect equipment throughout the facility. One of a few available protocols are used for this transfer process: I/O Link, ModBus, Ethernet, SmartBUS, CAN (EU).

Gateways

An IoT gateway device bridges the communication gap between edge systems like IoT devices, sensors, equipment, systems, and the cloud. Gateways perform functions such as protocol translation, data processing/storage/filtering, and device security, as well as the ability to autonomously controlling field devices based on data input by sensors.

The Cloud

The Cloud is a metaphor for the Internet. It is a combination of middleware and software services offered to carry out complex computations, processing, and analytics, as well as to provide storage, database networking, and more over the Internet.

Sensors and devices collect data and perform actions, but the processing typically happens in the Cloud. Cloud for IoT is a set of fully-managed and integrated services that allow you to easily and securely connect, manage, and ingest IoT data from globally dispersed devices through a large scale process, analyze/visualize that data in real time, implement operational changes, and take actions as needed.

Types of cloud services:

  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)

  • Software as a Service (SaaS)

Some of the popular IoT Cloud Platform solutions include Artik Cloud, Autodesk Fusion Connect, AWS IOT, GE Predix, Google Cloud IoT, Microsoft Azure IoT Suite, IBM Watson IoT, ThingWorx, Intel IoT Platform, Salesforce IoT Cloud, Telit DeviceWise, Zebra Zatar Cloud, macchina.io, ThingSpeak, and Particle Cloud.

Trigger a Reaction

With all of your data collected, transferred, and stored in the cloud, you can now use software to manipulate, analyze, and act on it. Triggers can be as simple as sending alerts when thresholds are met or as complex as modifying main or sub-system instructions, tasks, or processes based on several points of data. The actions can be manual or automated processes that help improve efficiency and productivity or aid in avoiding downtime or equipment breakdowns.

The advantage of IoT is the real-time data analysis and reactions that can be triggered with little to no human input. Automated systems using machine learning algorithms allow equipment to make decentralized decisions that help you save money, time, and resources.

With the Cloud you can even remotely access and control your equipment and devices as issues occur. This is especially helpful in situations where equipment is in different locations or when the equipment cannot be safely accessed by personnel.

The Conversation (1)
Cheng Junqi15 Jul, 2022
INDV

What amazing the IOT definately changed the world connecting the thing with the world.

Metamaterials Could Solve One of 6G’s Big Problems

There’s plenty of bandwidth available if we use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces

12 min read
An illustration depicting cellphone users at street level in a city, with wireless signals reaching them via reflecting surfaces.

Ground level in a typical urban canyon, shielded by tall buildings, will be inaccessible to some 6G frequencies. Deft placement of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces [yellow] will enable the signals to pervade these areas.

Chris Philpot

For all the tumultuous revolution in wireless technology over the past several decades, there have been a couple of constants. One is the overcrowding of radio bands, and the other is the move to escape that congestion by exploiting higher and higher frequencies. And today, as engineers roll out 5G and plan for 6G wireless, they find themselves at a crossroads: After years of designing superefficient transmitters and receivers, and of compensating for the signal losses at the end points of a radio channel, they’re beginning to realize that they are approaching the practical limits of transmitter and receiver efficiency. From now on, to get high performance as we go to higher frequencies, we will need to engineer the wireless channel itself. But how can we possibly engineer and control a wireless environment, which is determined by a host of factors, many of them random and therefore unpredictable?

Perhaps the most promising solution, right now, is to use reconfigurable intelligent surfaces. These are planar structures typically ranging in size from about 100 square centimeters to about 5 square meters or more, depending on the frequency and other factors. These surfaces use advanced substances called metamaterials to reflect and refract electromagnetic waves. Thin two-dimensional metamaterials, known as metasurfaces, can be designed to sense the local electromagnetic environment and tune the wave’s key properties, such as its amplitude, phase, and polarization, as the wave is reflected or refracted by the surface. So as the waves fall on such a surface, it can alter the incident waves’ direction so as to strengthen the channel. In fact, these metasurfaces can be programmed to make these changes dynamically, reconfiguring the signal in real time in response to changes in the wireless channel. Think of reconfigurable intelligent surfaces as the next evolution of the repeater concept.

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