During the last few months, I met a number of people discussing the term “Internet of things (IoT)” or the industrial part of it – the “Industrial Internet of things (IIoT),” but many people are trying to grasp the basic concept of what those terms mean and the foundation each is based on. So, let me utilize this opportunity to shed some light on the concept of IoT and its impact on asset performance management (APM).

IoT is a concept that has the potential to influence our lives and the way we work. Technology is increasing day by day. Internet is easily and widely available in much of the world. Many people have a number of mobile devices with unbelievable capabilities, such as built in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, sensors and an uncountable number of features. Companies are investing time and money to come up with cheaper technological solutions, hence lowering connectivity costs involved. All of such innovations and trends are creating the booming space for IoT.

In very simple words: IoT is about connecting devices over the internet. It allows connecting any device with any other device with the capability of connecting to internet.

It could be a phone, headphones, any wearable device, a washing machine, a smart TV, a refrigerator, a coffee maker or a small part of a big system, like an engine fitted into a big machine, the drill of an oil rig, etc. In other words, IoT is the interconnection of uniquely identifiable embedded computing devices within the Internet infrastructure.

On the other hand, IIoT is a subset of the broader IoT concept with more structured connectivity, where connections exist mainly to produce physical goods and help to maintain physical assets. It is an evolution for improving productivity, efficiency and operations of industries around the world.

Impact, Challenges and Market Predictions

IoT is a massive network of connected things, which shares real-time data, allowing for efficient decision making. Imagine the world of connected things where your alarm clock wakes you up and notifies your coffee machine to brew a cup of coffee for you, or your refrigerator reminds you that it is out of vegetables, fruits and milk, or your office equipment automatically reorders supplies when it is running low. IoT has such a wide scope of possibilities. Many of which we have not even seen yet.

IoT opens up number of opportunities and solves multiple problems with increased productivity and efficiency. But in parallel, we should not forget about the challenges involved with IoT and that should be overcome. With the concept of IoT, we are going to utilize more smart devices and share larger amounts of data. The question remains to be answered where will we store this data and how are we going to analyze it appropriately?

Other major challenges include:

  • Security
  • Network
  • Privacy
  • Data Sharing

According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), the worldwide IoT market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.9 percent. Devices, connectivity, and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT market in 2020 – more specifically over two-thirds.  Devices (modules/sensors) alone will represent 31.8 percent of the total. By 2020, IDC expects that IoT purpose-built platforms, application software and "as a service" offerings will capture a larger percentage of revenue. The analyst firm Gartner says that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices (some experts even estimate this number to be much higher, over 100 billion).

Leveraging the Concept of IoT and IIoT with APM

APM provides solutions into every aspect relating to assets, including the key component -- reliability. We look toward APM as a solution that will enable us to avoid unscheduled downtime and notifying us about required asset maintenance well before failure occurs.

The transition from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance was enabled by increased amounts of data that is more accurate, and our ability to analyze it. The impact on APM with IoT-sourced data will help to:

  • Enhance asset performance
  • Lower maintenance costs
  • Improve asset reliability
  • Enrich business performance
  • Meet return on investments expectations

IoT, in collaboration with big data and cloud capabilities, are impacting our approach toward APM. The amount of data that will be generated with the concept of IoT will enable us to gain more insights and real-time health of physical assets. IIoT provides enhanced connectivity within the plant, with more smartly connect devices while ensuring cheaper, less time consuming and a smooth data gathering process. APM solutions are leveraging the IIoT data to provide enhanced APM capabilities, or in other words, real-time data generated from assets itself is used to feed into APM solutions and capabilities like reliability centered maintenance (RCM). This real time data helps in getting asset condition and provide information that empowers decision making before a failure takes place.

Looking at the pace of change, soon facilities will have an increased number of smartly connected devices/assets and APM will need to cover the required infrastructure, providing insights and analytics of those assets. This will affect the decision making and operational excellence for companies. GE Digital's APM enables industries to harness the power and the value of both the IoT and IIot. 

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About the author

Jayesh Verma

Market Research Analyst, GE Digital

Jayesh is a professional Market Research Analyst for GE Digital business stream. Prior to joining GEdigital, he helped the Meridium sales enablement for different regions around the globe. In past, he hasworked within business consulting division providing services to different clients including Microsoft andGoogle. He earned the bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from IET-DAVV, India (2009) andwas enrolled under the MIS graduate program for Master’s degree at San Diego State University, USA(2013).

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