Industrial IoT: Harnessing the power of connectivity

Author: Brian Hovey, Vice President Marketing, Honeywell Sensing & Productivity Solutions

As the industrial and digital worlds move closer together we are witnessing the commencement of the industrial internet of things (IoT), which enables businesses, such as those in the supply chain sector, to achieve increased performance and customer value.

In the traditional industrial environment, business value drivers include safety, productivity, availability, energy efficiency, sustainability and asset optimisation. These drivers are converging with today’s digital workplace where the value drivers are connectivity, visibility, speed and agility of connecting supply to demand, frictionless workflows and autonomous operations.

Visualising the industrial IoT

The integrated industrial IoT is a business enabler that harnesses the power of connectivity. It features interoperability, security, reliability, hardware, software, cloud and analytics. These elements work together to deliver a more connected workplace better positioned to support a business’ overall needs.

In a supply chain environment the industrial IoT is enabled by a number of seamless sensors, measures and controls, which collect and provide data. The data can inform innovative solutions designed to optimise workflows and improve the end user experience. Using the increased level of data collected by these solutions, businesses can also build knowledge, improve their decision making and identify and solve issues.

Examples of industrial IoT in the supply chain

We are observing some compelling initial benefits for businesses who have begun to incorporate industrial IoT into their supply chain operations, including:

Retail

The retail sector has historically led the way in establishing itself as an early adopter of new technologies and processes. With the advancement of the industrial IoT it is no different. Retailers are examining the industrial IoT as an instrument for achieving incremental purchase increases, improved stock control, enhanced connections for e-Commerce and superior engagement with customers.

The connectivity of mobile devices has permeated all spheres of life and people are increasingly embracing businesses communicating meaningful information directly via their smartphones. Therefore, business connectivity has the power to transform the way in which retailers conduct in-store marketing.

Additionally, by deploying voice technology as a key component of the industrial IoT in an omni-channel solution, retailers can utilise voice in their front and back end operations to increase worker productivity by over 20 per cent and reduce out-of-stocks by 25 per cent.

Pick-up and delivery

A significant challenge faced by direct store delivery (DSD) businesses is optimising the deployment of their fleet in order to dispatch deliveries on time, to avoid break-downs through preventative maintenance and ensure on time delivery to customers. This is no small task when tasked with managing a large fleet of drivers, the routes they are running and the inventory (often perishable) that they are delivering to multiple addresses.

Deploying field computing, data connection management, route optimisation and navigation, voice assisted picking from truck and integrated telematics, in pick-up and delivery has proven to optimise operations and reduce cost per package delivered.

Industry comes of age

The concept of industrial IoT is in its initial stages, however its journey is likely to pick up pace quickly. Rather than businesses being distracted by shiny new pieces of technology, they are instead pinpointing their issues and areas for improvement and only then looking for the right solutions to solve these. The emphasis has shifted to where business can achieve incremental customer value and what is needed to deploy IoT on a widespread scale. At first this will mean achieving connectivity of information on a local level, and then expanding it enterprise wide on a cloud solution.

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