Dell held another Think Tank Industrial Internet of Things roundtable discussion on July 12 at a suburban Chicago conference room. Three Dell people attended as well as a representative of partner company Software AG. Twelve engineers or IT professionals from customer companies also attended. The format echoed that of the one held in Hannover, Germany. And once again I had the pleasure of moderating the discussion.
A few of the customers are actively studying and implementing an Industrial Internet of Things. The rest are deeply interested, but they have not yet started a program. Everyone was looking for ideas to help on their journey.
Everyone sensed that they really needed the help of an experienced guide or consultant to help them get started and organized. Those who were into the study were concerned about lack of clear standards of communication and data.
The principal application they were studying—predictive maintenance.
The most interesting comment pointed out industry’s leading role in the development of IoT technology and application. “Industry can drive this rather than our usual waiting until the commercial world proves it out.”
Industrial Internet of Things Excitement
We asked the group what things you are excited about with IoT.
- Ability to take care of problems remotely.
- There’s a lot of trial and error. It’s real exciting to try new things.
- IoT is the new generation of industrial manufacturing.
- How can IoT help our payment system as complexity increases but uptime needs to stay high. (from one attendee who was from a retail chain rather than industrial)
- We need smart maintenance. We are missing this in a small company. Systems get sick – I’d rather know when it’s going to be sick.
- Don’t want to be on the bleeding edge of technology.
- IoT is both imagination and nightmares. It is constrained only by imagination. But data scares me, security scares me, standards scare me. (Software AG)
- Rip and replace is expensive, but with this we can design for the future.
- It must be scalable.
What IIoT means
Then we asked, ‘What does IoT mean to you?”
- For me, it’s the tablet that the maintenance guy has, with access to data. The engineers would be able to drill down to save time. Both – having that access right with them.
- Customer requests. When they call at 7pm, they want an answer by 7:15. It can take you 8 hours to pull the data together, would be great to pull data up immediately.
- We’ve been dragged into things in the past, would be great to be proactive.
- My industry has gone through transformation. Before, we were siloed, now we are integrated. How is change happening and how does it impact me?
- If you could pull together, say, unstructured social data with repair data. The marketing groups have the social data, the repair teams have the repair data, but the engineer responsible for solving the problem is in the middle, but missing the info from end to end. (Toyota example)
- We are struggling with this – we are silo’d with each small group doing the best they can (quality, engineering, etc) but it’s not coming together. We are a midsized company – do we really need a CIO? You can’t just hire data scientists, because they don’t know your processes.
- You want to future proof, but you want to past proof too. You must bring your legacy solutions along.
- Nomenclature can get in the way. We define opportunities by what we are going to deliver. Key challenge is to segment appropriately to get things done, but to also have everything connect in the future.
Interest in actually implementing Industrial Internet of Things continues to grow. This is going to be interesting.