8 important IIoT implementation lessons to apply directly

Reduced costs and enhanced efficiency; doesn’t that sound like music to your ears? With the help of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology, you can achieve this. Using automation and data-driven insights, IIoT can improve current equipment uptime and increase labor productivity. However, this is easier said than done. Implementing IIoT can be daunting if you go in on a whim. However, with the proper knowledge, you start prepared, avoiding any mistakes others have already made. So, here are our 8 lessons for successful IIoT implementation.

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Why IIoT is the key to success

Before we dive into what to do and what not to do in your next IoT implementation, let’s quickly touch upon why IIoT benefits you. First, you act on predictions rather than post-event occurrences, putting effective, predictive maintenance before costly damage repairs. All because smart IoT sensors monitor equipment’s KPIs, gather data, and derive insights from it to evaluate risks. These systems make it simple to measure the performance of moving and rotating machinery by providing continual real-time insights on the equipment.  With these predictive maintenance insights allows your team to switch gears to a more efficient, proactive approach, achieving more and better results with fewer resources. Overall, IIoT implementation comes with many benefits and drives: 

  • Greater energy efficiency 
  • Reduced costs
  • Better quality products
  • Improved decision-making potential
  • Less equipment downtime
  • Better resource allocation
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8 lessons to minimize risks of IoT implementation and thrive immediately

In the last 8 years, we’ve been helping customers implement custom IIoT solutions in different industries. While doing so, we’ve identified key lessons that fall into the categories of project management and technology implementations. Combine the two, and you get a set of 8 not-to-miss IoT implementation lessons that help you mitigate challenges and accompanying risks. So, let them guide you in your next IIoT project. After all, forewarned is forearmed!

1. Create a clear business case

IIoT is a big deal, and the entire cycle requires deep understanding since organizations are preparing for new technology to bridge the knowledge gap created by the customer problem statement. Therefore, IoT consultants must build a solid business plan to identify key performance metrics that may be measured and enhanced by an IIoT solution.

If you don’t map out targets and a reasonable timeline, you risk not getting around to executing the IIoT solution properly and losing interest before even reaping the benefits. That’s why a business plan is an essential guideline to track processes and adjust strategies when necessary. It clearly explains why you should make certain expenses and what the results will be, making the case understandable and thus better to validate. If costs turn out higher than expected, it’s easier to adapt and anticipate because you have a solid business case to back you up.  

As part of this business plan, you may want to incorporate a proof of concept (POC). This allows you to estimate what unforeseen tech issues you might stumble upon, which are solvable and which aren’t. See it as another measure to eliminate most of the biggest challenges beforehand.

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2. Incorporate space for an agile approach

Although a business plan and POC are excellent guidelines to map challenges and solutions for your IoT implementation, they shouldn’t be all-defining. Create room for change, work agile. In preparation, you can work on the specifications of the IIoT system. However, in practice, it might function differently than predicted. That’s why you need to incorporate space to adjust specifications when necessary. Take tiny steps ahead and continuously test, starting with the most significant risks. This way, you cut out technological liabilities and constantly verify the business worth of every action. Establish goals and high-level specifications or dive deep into existing use cases for a better understanding. Break the process into small pieces and focus on the most significant risks first.

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3. Common understanding of the project

Make sure to keep communicating with everybody involved, especially if you work with people that don’t have the in-depth technical knowledge needed for IIoT implementation. Creating a mutual understanding of the process, risks, and business value greatly contributes to the project overall. Project management plays a huge role in establishing this. 

Suppliers and equipment owners (OEMs) need their project managers to join forces for flawless execution of the IoT project being implemented. After all, the supplier holds most of the technological knowledge, and the client is business savvy. Therefore, creating synergy between both parties is crucial for the project’s success – even if you have to hire a (freelance or interim) project manager with the proper knowledge to bridge the gap. After all, if their technical knowledge is not up to par, it’s arduous to translate the technological challenges to the rest of the business.


4. Estimate & verify the power consumption

Most IoT technological issues happen because of misunderstandings regarding power consumption, resulting in a shorter product lifetime. For example, IoT devices often work on batteries; you must ensure these last at least a few years. However, when you underestimate the power consumption of an IoT device, it may be that it dies after a month or two. So again, testing the appliance before implementing the IoT project and installing it is crucial. If you collect sufficient diagnostics, you forestall power consumption issues.

5. Prepare for connection failures

A vital need for a company wishing to integrate IIoT technology into its system is the presence of an unremitted connection. However, lapses happen, and 100% internet access is nearly impossible. Furthermore, connection failure may lead to missing intervals because data doesn’t buffer. Therefore, it would be preferable to utilize the correct cables and set up a system that ensures no data loss or functionality issues, even in the event of connectivity problems. Testing this scenario allows you to set up the right environment to confirm the application works stand-alone, for a successful IoT implementation. 


6. Safely store and organize your data for logical analysis

Contrary to popular belief, quality beats quantity when it comes to data. Nonetheless, data storage is one of the biggest issues facing businesses. An IIoT solution enables the collection of tens of thousands of data points vital to company operations. It’s, therefore, essential to calculate how much to collect and store. Not merely because there are limits to storage in cloud applications and budgets but mainly to leverage businesses with the right data sets for decent analysis. 

Data analytics partners should be involved in data processing and representation while deploying IIoT architecture. This ensures adequate room for extension, making it simple to integrate real-time or predictive data into an IIoT system. Because even if you install an IIoT solution in an organization, its actual ROI value is only achieved when actionable insights are drawn from the IIoT data.

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7. Pay close attention to cyber security

In the current digital era, we must be aware of our vulnerability regarding cyber-attacks. They can lead to severe consequences and business losses. That’s why you must take the necessary precautions to secure our data and incorporate security into the IIoT application from the moment you start designing it. Moreover, regularly running a cybersecurity risk assessment during the IIoT device’s lifespan and training employees on the correct deployment is necessary to address many of these difficulties.


8. Adhere to existing standards

Why complicate matters when they can be simple? Sure, you can reinvent the wheel, but that would only cost you extra time and new methods may impede easy connection to existing platforms. Many current frameworks and standards are ready for you to use. Protocols such as MQTT and Lightweight M2M (LWM2M) are frequently used.

Sensorfy’s 8 lessons summarized

For every IIoT implementation process, many businesses have trialed, erred, and succeeded before you did. And after 8 years of optimizing our IIoT applications, Sensorfy can safely say that these are 8 IoT implementation lessons you must take into account with every IIoT implementation. So let’s wrap up with our rundown: 

  • Every project starts with a solid business plan to map key performance indicators and apply a POC to identify challenges. 
  • Work agile and create space to make adjustments or change course when necessary.
  • Communication and technological knowledge is key to a project’s success.
  • Estimate and verify the power consumption to forestall issues.
  • Prepare for connection failures by setting up the right environment and confirm the application works stand-alone. 
  • Safely store and organize your data for logical analysis.
  • Take cyber security into account from the moment you start designing IIoT equipment.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel but use existing IoT frameworks and standards.

Any industry can profit from the performance advantages of IIoT, and Sensory wants to set you up for success! If these lessons don’t already guide you there, we can get you further. We’re happy to help you with the entire IIoT implementation process, from defining your business case to engineering and industrialization. So get in touch with one of our experts today!

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