The Era of Industrial IoT Is Just Beginning

November 23, 2017 - 4 minutes read

The Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a colossal demand for expert IoT developers, but not just to improve consumer products like Amazon’s Alexa. Manufacturers know that IoT will disrupt factories and production in ways we can’t even fathom. They’re already sinking billions of dollars into research to leverage these unforeseen advantages. By 2020, manufacturers are expected to spend over $265 billion in IoT.

How IoT is Disrupting Manufacturing

With GE and Apple’s collaboration to spread GE’s IoT platform, Predix, throughout new Apple devices, manufacturers are getting the chance to utilize these tools for free before committing to them. As other large tech companies make their mark in IoT with new products, new integrations with existing products, and IoT cloud security, IoT looks to be invading from all sides.

Using a multi-pronged approach of AI, data science, and IoT, manufacturers are analyzing mountains of data about their factories. These insights can be further refined by AI developers if the manufacturer is willing to pay for them (getting a human team of AI experts together is proving to be difficult these days). Using conclusions from the data, factory processes are getting more efficient. Employees are working less and managing more, and the production line isn’t creating so many duds anymore.

Employment in the Industrial IoT Era

While manufacturers line their pockets with these innovations, their current employees lose income. Besides the smaller improvements in efficiency, IoT is automating entire processes in factories. This saves time, money, and creates the opportunity for a 24/7 production line with minimal oversight from humans. These innovations are bringing in more educated employees, and manufacturers are hiring less low-skilled workers as a result.

But increasing demand from consumers and larger corporations ensures that most current employees will still have a job at their local factory. It just might be something that’s not fully covered in their job description. Whereas a worker once looked through every product for a defect, now they may only need to sort through machine-picked defects.

By jotting down some notes during every shift, the employee feeds information back into the automated machine. This ultimately improves its defect detecting rate. Having experience in a process that a machine now oversees puts you at the top of the list for working to continuously improve the machine.

Accelerating Manufacturing

Looking toward 2025 and further, with fewer employees, manufacturers will cut costs further. And although new employees will be more technically-inclined and demand higher salaries, there will be less employees overall. We naturally expect product prices to decrease as the cost to manufacture them decreases. These products will have fewer issues and advance at a faster rate than ever. IoT in tandem with 3D printing will accelerate product iteration cycles to new speeds.

If you’re a London– or Toronto-based mobile app developer, let us know in the comments how manufacturers are using IoT in your country. U.S. manufacturers are already leveraging automation in innovative ways. We expect these approaches to trickle throughout the world.

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