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Industrial machinery and component manufacturers can now draw huge volumes of data from billions of machines, equipment, and components. This makes the industry ripe to embrace technology and innovation -- increasingly referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) -- that can make the most of these assets and drive tremendous business value.

By connecting people, machines, products, and services, the IIoT can streamline the flow of information, enable real-time decisions, and enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty. According to IDC the revenue opportunity related to the IIoT for discrete manufacturing industries worldwide will reach $746 billion by 2018.[1]

Leading IM&C manufacturers are investing billions in the IIoT and leveraging the previously unobtainable speed and accuracy that this cutting-edge technology provides. These companies know that, in time, the IIoT will touch nearly every aspect of their engineering, sales, supply chain, manufacturing, and aftermarket service operations. 

Increasing Value from Big Data Through In-MemoryComputing
IIoT is a network of cyber-physical machinery and equipment embedded with sensors that collect massive amounts of data and send it via the Internet to transactional systems, analytics data warehouses, or even other machines. Using advanced technology such as in-memory computing, manufacturers can collect and analyze this data on a single platform to gain valuable insight about operational performance, resource availability, equipment usage, and machine health. Such visibility, when integrated with a manufacturer’s ERP solutions, can improve core business processes and drive better business decisions. As the IIoT becomes more affordable and practical, IM&C companies can use it to create tangible value by creating innovative products and services, optimizing their value chains, and implementing new business models.

Engaging with the Industrial Internet of Things
Many IM&C companies first adopt the IIoT to gain greater control over and enhance their manufacturing processes. They may then expand its use to equipment service – especially where equipment is located in multiple sites and remote areas. The IIoT can also add value in the area of logistics.

Increasingly, manufacturers and their customers are using the IIoT to enhance predictive maintenance and service. Take, for example, a global manufacturer of specialized industrial equipment  that uses IIoT-based technology to monitor installed base machine performance and output used by customers around the world in real time.
Through in-memory computing, the company collects more than a million machinery measurements each day to get a continuous picture of each machine’s temperature, pressure levels, and other environmental and performance indicators. Then, using predictive analytics, the company identifies usage patterns to help avoid unplanned downtime, schedule maintenance activities, and offer spare parts.

Linking Assets and Business Processes
The real value of the IIoT for manufacturers is in connecting their assets to their business process software. To make the most of this opportunity, IM&C manufacturers need strategies and tools for storing and analyzing large volumes of data and predicting future trends. They also need capabilities for ensuring data privacy and security.

The use of in-memory computing will become a necessity in successfully combining IIoT data with business transactional data in a single shared database, in real time. Running the IIoT on an in-memory platform can help companies reap unprecedented benefits in terms of customer insight as well as just-in-time distribution and
maintenance. Manufacturers can monitor, analyze, and automate in ways that greatly improve customer experiences, streamline key business processes, and create new business models.

Taking the Next Step
The IIoT brings together a vast range of technologies – from hardware, sensors, devices, mobile apps, telematics platforms, and connectivity tools to public and private solutions for cloud hosting that make it faster and cheaper to implement these technologies.
The partners that IM&C manufacturers choose to build their IIoT infrastructures will have a great impact on the success of those infrastructures. Manufacturers must assess how software vendors, device makers, and the creators of telematics platforms can adapt product design and connectivity to meet their particular needs.
About the Author
Georg Kube runs the Industrial Machinery & Components (IM&C) industry for SAP globally. He holds a degree as Dipl. Ing. of Mechanical Engineering (Karlsruhe, Germany) and as Master of Business Marketing (Berlin, Germany). Georg is a frequent speaker on the topic of Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

Kumar, Monika, Worldwide Internet of
Things Spending by Vertical Market 2014-2018 Forecast
, IDC, June 2014