Beacons in Industry and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR)
There's much talk about IoT and industry/manufacturing using the latest technologies to create a so called '4th Industrial Revolution' to improve operational efficiency, increase throughput, minimise downtime, improve quality and lower costs.
This Industrial Revolution is driven by data. Most organisations have significant investment in legacy hardware, software and processes that can't be replaced overnight. Start small by attaching sensors to existing equipment. Connect the unconnected at a much lower cost than with legacy SCADA systems.
Sensing will give you information to make efficient use of equipment, provide automated auditing, monitor things such as temperature, humidity, light level, open/closed state, movement, vibration, smoke, gas, water and collisions as well as improve workflows.
You will be able to locate valuable plant tools in manufacturing and construction, track parts and sub-assemblies, detect/prevent critical incidents, improve safety and enable efficient asset allocation. You will be able to replace periodic manual inspections with continual checking of critical equipment. These improvements will improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and let you see what's happening in real time.
||Know how much you have, where, without any human checking
||Pick items without time-consuming manual searching
||Determine the location and status of jobs or work orders
||Monitor the use of people and machines
|Location Based Tasks
||Provide instructions, procedures and photos based on location
||Measure throughput to assess demand
|Safety & Security
||Know when assets move, go missing, are dropped or crashed into
||Prevent human error of manual audits, know if an expensive asset is being fully utilised
Having proven your ideas to other stakeholders through gains in efficiency, reduced cost and increased competitiveness you will be able to propose more far-reaching changes.
The resultant sensing and real-time 'big data' allow processes to be automated, for example, providing workers with up-to-date instructions or replacing the workstations entirely to better automate manufacturing facilities. Sensing enables diagnostics, monitoring and prognostics. Prognostics is the advance indication of when things, such as failure, are likely to happen.
Improvements such as the previously mentioned prognostics sometimes require very complex software to analyse hidden patterns in the data. It's difficult, if not impossible, for humans to design such software using the traditional ways of creating rules and algorithms. Instead, use AI machine learning to learn from the data to create neural network models. These models can then be used on servers, in applications or in mobile apps to provide for seemingly super-human forecasting, detection and classification functionality.
The use of AI machine learning isn't limited to prognostics. There are also opportunities for substantial improvement in operations/logistics optimisation, forecasting, trend/anomaly discovery, resource allocation and predictive analytics.
In summary, you don't need a 'big bang' approach to innovation in your organisation. You can start by measuring your existing processes. Start with simple key improvements that will raise your profile and prove worth to stakeholders. Then, move on to implement more ambitious improvements that will make your organisation part of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
BeaconServer™ - Collects and decodes beacon data
BeaconRTLS™ - Real time locating with alerts
SensorCognition™ - Serverless machine learning with sensor data