Reducing costs, optimising operations, and shorter time-to-market are key business drivers in the manufacturing industry.

As a global leader in high-mix low-volume manufacturing, we understand the evolving nature of the manufacturing industry and the critical role we play in the electronics value chain. TT Electronics is driven to provide innovation and customer-centric solutions.

Manufacturers are encouraged to seek new ways to remain competitive while meeting increased customer expectations, and dealing with the complex nature of the global supply chain. As a result, we reached out to experts in the IoT market and asked the question,

"What is the biggest disruptor in IoT that will transform the manufacturing industry?"

We compiled their answers below and clearly saw an emphasis on digital transformation. The ability to integrate all parts of manufacturing and collect valuable insights for your operations is invaluable. 

My thought on the biggest disruptor in IoT ...

5G is coming and this new wireless technology has the potential to change the way we do things is a truly disruptive manner. More on that below.

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1. Graham Immerman – Machine Metrics

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"The democratization of manufacturing data will undoubtedly change the manufacturing landscape forever. It is estimated that 60% of global manufacturing companies will use connected device data for analysis in the coming year, which is evidence that IoT is already driving unprecedented disruption in a notoriously slow-adoption industry. IoT technology can transform traditional manufacturing supply chains into dynamic, interconnected data systems that affect every stakeholder within the manufacturing lifecycle.

From small, medium and large manufacturers; operations, supply chain and IT leadership; operators and engineers; IT and OT system integrators; platform and software vendors; equipment builders; research, education and training, everyone stands to gain. Legacy business and operational structures that are siloed, vertical and compartmentalized will give way to horizontal, flexible and agile business opportunities more readily capable of being a part of a connected partnership ecosystem. A newfound ability to focus on what everyone does best will reveal opportunities for continuous improvement will be far greater than ever before.

Of course, data democratization is a tremendous challenge. If achieved, however, the opportunities for continuous improvement for all manufacturing lifecycle members will be far greater than ever before."

 

2. Ken Herron –  uib.ai

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"The biggest disruptor in IoT that will transform the manufacturing industry is human to machine communications. Specifically, the use of conversational AI with cognitive IoT. This allows machines to send alerts and notifications at pre-scheduled times, when a sensor triggers an alert, and on-demand — in any language and on any communications channel, such as WhatsApp, LINE, WeChat, and dozens of others.

While companies' initial use cases often focus on predictive maintenance (including consumables), the ability to now directly talk to and text your machines, individually and collectively, to report out on their production is a game changer. Conversational AI with cognitive IoT not only decreases manufacturing costs but allows for the creation of new products that delight customers and increase revenues."

 

3. Mark Zetter –  Founder of Venture Outsource 

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"Effective manufacturing supply chains must be fluid, adjusting to dynamics of the business as situations and requirements change. Artificial intelligence will be the biggest contributor to transforming manufacturing industry as real, intelligent supply chain systems capable of learning business behaviors take hold. Prevalent manufacturing thinking today is focusing mainly on materials, it's the single, largest cost on manufacturing balance sheets. But this only helps manufacturers focus on larger business ROI/ROE. 

Manufacturers able to identify and track their second highest cost, contributing engineering costs and costly indirect labor (IDL) in manufacturing support functional groups are more clearly able to see where your ROI/ROE come from. AI is enabling effective IDL management that improves manufacturers' workflow accuracy, timeliness, and productivity execution. This, in turn, lets manufacturers better understand and influence implications special to their business treasury and cost basis while freeing up working capital and driving real competitive advantage."

 

4. Mark SwartzFounder / CEO Neural Corporation

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"Midterm over 3-5 years with Industry 4.0 taking shape and adopted, we would see a shift from passive MES 'data collection' for analytics and decision making to more what we prescribe with A.I.  IoT/Sensors as agents in a production line (Direct Labor) are working with production planning systems live using A.I. This we have seen has a 10-15% monthly utilization savings and has a direct effect on operating margins.

This will be the largest financial impact outside of LEAN and other methodologies. This convergence will allow greater production planning with a direct automatic contribution to operating margins. The loss, however, are the MES investments which are still ongoing as they tend to be rigid and monolithic in nature."

 

5. Richard Banks - Stable Kernel

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"The answer is easy as we validate it daily. The biggest disruptor is the cloud and all of the open source tools that have replaced proprietary in limited IoT solutions. This has opened the floodgates with extremely affordable solutions that scale quickly and effectively."

 

6. Akash Takyar - LeewayHertz

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"I think the biggest disruptor in IT in manufacturing will be 'Machine Learning Models'. As you know, smart manufacturing is happening all over the world. However, Sensors are in control in the manufacturing process as of today.

I believe the combination of Sensors with Computer Vision will become the ultimate manufacturing setup. Just like Tesla car has both Sensors and Computer Vision (or Amazon go stores has Sensors + Computer Vision). Same way, in manufacturing, once we see mature AI models for detecting anomalies, identifying an operation, recognizing the action of a worker, I believe it will disrupt the Manufacturing process as we see it."

 

7. Taylor Short - Software Advice

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Connect with Taylor on LinkedIn or follow their company account: @SoftwareAdvice

"Empowered edge devices—Manufacturers of all sizes are finding how valuable IoT-connected devices can be for production. And while they’re collecting and analyzing loads of data, the increase in volume creates bottlenecks that bog down the entire network.

That’s why Gartner predicts empowered edge devices will give manufacturers the capacity to process this flood of data quickly and more strategically. Within two years, Gartner expects more than half of the data generated by an enterprise to be created and processed outside of a data center or the cloud.

Empowered edge devices sit closer to the source of data, so onboard analytics or artificial intelligence can process this incoming data immediately. This can help manufacturers handle the volume of incoming data, while also further decentralizing the network, where data can be processed at the edge without uploading to the cloud or a data hub."

 

8. Adam C. Uzialko - Staff Writer at Business News Daily

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Follow Adam on Twitter: @auzialko_BDC or follow their company account: @BNDarticles

“Preventative and predictive maintenance are already changing the way we think about maintaining, repairing, and upgrading equipment and facilities. Data captured by IoT sensors and contextualized by machine learning algorithms can be leveraged to fix or replace machines before they break down and harm productivity. Connected facilities also enable companies to take greater control of their energy management planning, cutting costs and possibly even opening the door to qualify for government incentive programs that were previously out of reach.”

In addition, “The proliferation of industrial IoT is enabling greater efficiencies in the manufacturing industry and helping companies boost bottom lines. However, a critical component that must come along with the continued implementation of industrial IoT is improved cybersecurity practices. Every connected device represents one more opportunity for would-be attackers, so the expansion of industrial IoT will necessarily continue parallel to an increased interest in enhancing cybersecurity, both on the network and device levels.”

9. Anurag Garg - Plex Systems

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Connect with Anurag on LinkedIn

"While the adoption of IoT-enabled technologies has made data capture and real-time insights from manufacturing floors easier than it was a decade ago, I believe the next big industry disruption will come from the propagation of Machine Learning algorithms that derive insights from democratized data sets shared industry-wide. Manufacturers are already seeing the value in moving from disparate data sources within their own operations to a single source of truth upon which analytics algorithms can be applied.

While this is successful in its own right, I predict it is only when we successfully activate industry-wide network effects with shared data and Machine Learning— enabling cross-domain and cross-industry learnings to reliably inform future decisions—that we will successfully transform how manufacturing decisions are made, and realize the full potential of Industrial IoT technologies.”

 

10. Natallia Sakovich - SaM Solutions

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"Industrial manufacturing is undoubtedly under the greatest influence of IoT technology nowadays. Billions of sensors and intelligent devices are working at the factories around the globe right now, creating dynamic production systems and making them more efficient. 

Smart devices ensure better human safety on production floors, but still can’t provide complete security of data they gather and store. The more smart devices are connected to the network, the more vulnerable an industrial IoT system is to the risks associated with unauthorized access and other digital crimes. According to MAPI, 40 percent of manufacturing firms experienced a cyber attack in the last year. Out of them, 38 percent suffered over $1 million in damages.

Therefore, I believe that the biggest digital disruption in IoT that is going to transform the manufacturing industry should be the development of solutions for minimization (or even elimination) of digital threats. Only when critical data is fully protected, the Internet of Things technology can be seamlessly implemented in the industrial process."

 

11. As for my full take on the above question...

"5G is coming and this new wireless technology has the potential to change the way we do things is a truly disruptive manner. Some have gone as far as to say that 5G could supplant traditional physical networks delivered through fibre and cable to truly enable an IoT revolution. But it’s important to separate the reality from the hype and understand that 5G is the latest in a long line of wireless mobile standards, the most recent widely deployed version of which is 4G-LTE (Long Term Evolution), which can reach 100 Mbit/s download and 50 Mbit/s upload. The 5G standard, which is just starting to be deployed with a worldwide commercial launch expected to be 2020/21 in volume, can deliver download speeds of up to a gigabit, with lower latency, better energy efficiency, a larger wireless traffic capacity, and much more.

5G will also have a number of new features, compared to traditional 4G-LTE networks, such as: Lower battery consumption meaning that 5G networks will be more energy efficient, allowing for connections of all kinds to be made with lower overall power consumption and battery usage. It will also offer consistent, uninterrupted connectivity meaning that 5G signals will be much more reliable than older types of cell signals. This is the primary reason that some people think 5G will be a viable alternative to cable networks. It will provide lower latency and consistent connectivity that will allow wireless networks to provide 100% reliable service at the same time as delivering much higher capacity. Capacity restrictions are a problem for industrial IoT applications in large dense areas. But 5G capacity’s is a thousand times greater than the 4G network ensuring all users can stay connected.

As mentioned, 5G has faster bandwidth with peak data transfer rates exceeding 1Gbps. This helps explain why 5G will enable the industrial IoT to become omnipresent and disruptive. The true Internet of Things (IoT) will become a reality for the following reasons due to 5G deployment. Firstly, dedicated low-power bands – 5G builds upon current wireless low-power standards like NB-IoT (Narrowband IoT) and LTE-M (LTE Cat-1) technologies. These existing technologies already offer extremely low-power data transmission, so 5G will improve this even further.

Secondly, improved, consistent and reliable connectivity – 5G will ensure that IoT devices are always available and offer consistent connections, and that signal loss is eliminated completely.

Thirdly, lower battery usage – 5G will enable IoT devices to communicate with networks while consuming much less power, boosting battery life beyond 10 years and potentially even further in low-power IoT devices like sensors and trackers.

Fourthly, 5G will allow wireless networks to have a large enough capacity and data transfer rate to keep up with the autonomous systems of the future such as the expanded sensor networks. This may be the biggest area where 5G is expected to disrupt the world of IoT. The low-power and high-reliability architecture of 5G technology will make IoT sensor networks even more attractive to agricultural companies, industrial manufacturers, shipping companies, and many other industrial applications.

Currently, AI and augmented reality systems are constrained by the limitations of networks and latency. Delays and errors are quite common, so interactivity is limited. But with higher network transfer speeds and capacities, AI and augmented reality could become a fact of day-to-day life – the improved data rates and reliability of the architecture will allow for seamless human-to-machine interactions. It remains to be seen exactly what effects 5G will truly have on the scale, pace and breadth of the deployment and adoption of industrial IoT but we can be sure it will be disruptive!"

 

Conclusion

Industrial IoT helps manufacturing companies maximise their productivity.

Electronics manufacturing is fast-paced and always evolving. Flexible solution providers that keep pace with rapid change will continue to experience success for their customers.

TT Electronics developed an entire global business process founded on the support of complex high-mix low-volume devices. We are inspired to help solve global electronics manufacturing challenges from design through fulfillment, for customers requiring support for their high-reliability products in high-mix low-volume markets. 

We would love to hear what you feel will be a major disruptor in the manufacturing industry moving forward.

Let us know by leaving a quick comment below...

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