The Industrial Internet of Things not only helps machines 'talk' to one another, but fosters collaboration and co-innovation among human beings.
In this new digital age, at the dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we live in a time of great disruption and change — most of it positive. One of the major innovations reshaping our world is the Internet of Things, or IoT. Put simply, this is a system connecting 'smart' devices, computers, machines, objects, humans and other living things, allowing the networked transfer of data without the need for person-to-person or human-to-computer interaction.
When asked to explain in the most basic terms IoT's commercial application, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), expert in the field Alasdair Gilchrist describes it as a means of connecting "all the things in a business — people, processes, machines, vehicle and sensors — with each other wherever they may be, so that they can talk to one another and pass information which will improve the way the business works." With 25 years' experience as a technician, support and project manager, network and security architect, and company director in IT, data communications, mobile telecoms and cloud technologies, Gilchrist is the author of a key text on the subject of IIoT, 'Industry 4.0: The Industrial Internet of Things'. He believes IIoT possesses enormous potential to improve the efficiency of a broad range of industries.
Gilchrist says tracking machine 'health' through real-time component monitoring or by utilising a 'digital twin' (a 'virtual' replica of physical equipment), will not only make breakdowns less likely, but will eliminate unnecessary scheduled maintenance and allow businesses to accurately ascertain or predict when it is necessary to replace machinery or components. "This ability for machines to work together and relay information on their status reduces downtime, redundant work and operational costs, yet increases the efficiency of the operational process overall," he says.
Facilitating this sort of tracking and measurement, Yokogawa is a leader in advanced industrial instruments, automatic control technology, and digital control and data analysis solutions, helping clients in sectors including oil and gas, power, pharmaceuticals, iron and steel, to maximise production and energy efficiency.