Industrial Internet: Creating Ties Throughout the Value Chain

Written by Alina Manaig

When you think of an industry that maximizes the use of internet or technology, what is the first one that comes to mind? The IT and BPO industry, right? Well, make way for the industrial sector. This is the next sector to lead the Internet Revolution, as shared to us by Richard Solely, chairman and CEO of Object Management Group, Inc, executive director of the Cloud Standards Customer Council, and executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium.

This industrial sector actually paved the way for the use of technology and robotics. During the Industrial Revolution, machines changed the way people lived and improved manufacturing methods. This was followed by the Internet Revolution — the emergence of computer systems. In the manufacturing sector, technological advancements have been applied to support production performance through online management systems such as MRP (Material Requirements Planning), ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and others. These systems have reduced data entry errors, delivery delays, and work duration, as well as improved customer satisfaction and product quality. Now, we are already in the Industrial Internet age, where we apply the Internet of Things in the industrial setting. Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) was coined by General Electric (GE) to describe the integration of complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software.

IIoT is about working together and this is being proven by the Industrial Internet Consortium, an open-membership organization with 258 members (as of November 2016). It was formed to accelerate the development, adoption, and widespread use of interconnected machines and devices and intelligent analytics. Founded by the companies AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM, and Intel in March 2014, it catalyzes and coordinates priorities and enables technologies of the industrial internet. Why the convergence? Why now? Our speaker told us four reasons why:

1. Readily-available and low-cost technology (in terms of sensors and devices)

2. Everything is connected — by 2020, the number of things connected to the internet will be approximately seven times the number of people on earth today

3. Big data — collecting, storing, and analyzing data is now more cost effective

4. Smarter machines — equipment is increasingly equipped with sensors and software

Given the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, indeed, the new age of industrialization has come; top it all, it is leading the next technological revolution.