In this episode of The Manhattans Project, I sat down with 10th Magnitude VP of Cloud Solutions Brian Blanchard and Cloud Solution Architect Mark Johnson. We talked about the wildly popular Industrial Internet of Things (Industrial IoT), its use cases and benefits, as well as best practices for implementation.
We also discussed the cool features of Microsoft’s Azure IoT Suite that allow for ease of configuration, predictive analytics and maintenance, and remote monitoring.
Here are some highlights from our conversation. Be sure to check out the full video at the bottom of the page:
Jenny Allen: “How would you define Industrial IoT and how does this differ from the IoT that you see consumers using in smart homes and wearables?”
Mark Johnson: “Industrial IoT, in my mind, is basically something that companies use to further either their processes—meaning if a manufacturer can increase their production on a production line or make their clients happier. Whereas, in homes it’s usually something to ease your life, meaning your Nest thermostat that learns your habits. In homes, I usually see it in a learning scenario.”
Brian Blanchard: “I think that’s a great definition. Boiling that down a little bit, I think it’s fairly easy. When you’re at home, it’s all about comfort and control; when you’re in the business, it’s all about profitability. How can we touch the field in a way we couldn’t previously to make us a more profitable business?”
Jenny: “So, what are some of the benefits of Industrial IoT and how are you seeing it used? What are some of the business use cases?”
Brian: “That could be a pretty long list for us—we’re doing a lot in the Industrial IoT space. One of our oldest examples that we started working with early on was in the machinery space—so, street sweepers, construction equipment, things along those lines. Essentially, trying to figure out where they’re at, what they’re doing, how things are wearing down, things along those lines. The initial objective in those use cases was pretty simple: if we could understand when a part was going bad ahead of time, we could swap that out when it was convenient and slow down impact on the line. But what we really learned is that was just scratching the surface. When you understand how the real world is relating to your business, you can shape your whole business.
For instance, looking at the front piece of equipment on a big construction project. If the first line of equipment is a jackhammer and that jackhammer starts to replace parts faster and you know about it, that’s great because you sped up the whole line. But more importantly, if you study trends and behavior patterns over time, you can deduce from that jackhammer’s usage how the rest of the entire project is going. And you can know if he’s using that part too quickly, that means that the guy seven or eight steps behind—he’s behind on a project and the jackhammer guy is jackhammering at a faster rate, because he’s got to get ahead of schedule before everyone else. So, that gives you time to catch a deviation on a project one, two, six months before you’d normally find out and change your entire approach.”
Jenny: “So, obviously it’s used in manufacturing and construction, but what are some other industries utilizing Industrial IoT?”
Mark: “There are a bunch. Like you said, there’s manufacturing, retail, automotive, transportation, healthcare’s a great one” —
Brian: — “Why don’t you tell them about that healthcare project you’re working on for the elderly patients?”
Mark: “So, this is a really interesting one. It falls under healthcare and it’s basically a home monitoring solution for elderly patients who are basically beyond the point of being in a hospital—they don’t really need to be, but they still need to be monitored. Being home for an elderly patient really extends their quality of life, but also their likelihood of living longer. But they still need to be monitored. Being able to monitor things like blood pressure, weight, other different variables that might need to go into that health monitoring, but a doctor can look at that from afar. Being able to monitor those things for an elderly patient at home is huge.”
Brian: “We’ve all seen FitBit and we’ve all stepped on a scale at some point in time, but when we can take that data and pull in and centralize it for a business—like a doctor or medical practice—they can interpret that data in ways that we’re not able to at home and use it to predict health concerns.”
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As always, keep calm…and cloud on.