mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine

Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


The future of Industry 4.0
21 March 2018, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a concept known by a number of different names – Industry 4.0, ‘factory of the future’, the fourth industrial revolution – but they all centre around the same principles: how businesses, and particularly manufacturers, use IoT technology to change or improve the way they operate.

“At its simplest level, it revolves around how machines interact with each other and how we know what’s going on within those machines through data,” says Alex von Schirmeister, chief innovation officer, RS Components. “This has been made possible partly through technological developments in communications, where we’ve seen low-power devices that can send data using very small amounts of energy.”

The term ‘Industrie 4.0’ originates from a German project on which the government and manufacturing industry worked together to develop and grow IIoT technology in the manufacturing environment. The result has seen some businesses, including engineering giant Siemens, lead the way in the use of IIoT in the manufacturing process.

Making the most of IIoT

According to Gartner, there were 6,4 billion things connected to the IIoT in 2016, which was up 30% on 2015. But this is still the tip of the iceberg with that figure set to reach 20,8 billion by 2020 and with growth continuing onwards exponentially beyond that.

Yet despite these impressive figures there is further research that suggests many business leaders are cautious when it comes to committing to IIoT technology. A survey by Accenture showed that although 84% of C-suite executives saw the opportunity for their organisations to create new income streams from IoT technology, 73% of companies have not made any concrete investment in it.

These statistics come as no surprise to von Schirmeister, who has witnessed some hesitation from business leaders. “My experience is that there are still conservative attitudes when it comes to IIoT,” he says. “The reason for this often comes down to concerns over data security. Many organisations need reassurance that the data generated from IIoT devices will be fully protected. In some cases this is based on an organisation’s own needs, but in others it is influenced by national legislation around data storage and privacy.”

The other barrier is, of course, cost. Moving to a full IIoT setup requires a significant initial investment, but von Schirmeister is convinced that there are huge benefits to making that investment, the biggest being the potential for cost-savings and efficiencies.

The other significant benefit of IIoT is that alongside cost-savings, manufacturers can use data generated to improve the quality of their work. This is not something one would traditionally expect, since cutting costs usually suggests a dip in quality, but with a well-actioned IIoT strategy organisations can potentially do both.

“On a macro level, the big data that IIoT creates, when analysed, can point businesses towards bigger strategic moves,” says Von Schirmeister. “This could include reorganising production across the board or changing working patterns, which will create further efficiencies on a much grander scale.”

The future of IIoT

There are numerous predictions about how IIoT will impact manufacturing around the world and how it may change the nature of the industry. What most experts are sure of is that companies that adopt IIoT will see financial rewards for their investment.

How this investment and value are spread among manufacturers will not be equal, however, with the pace of IIoT adoption varying greatly between businesses. Organisations will need to develop different business models where assets create recurring benefit for customers with ongoing value for the business. Some of these models include compliance monitoring, preventative maintenance, remote diagnostics and asset tracking.

While experts can debate the potential of this sort of model, it is impossible at this stage to predict the exact outcome of IIoT and its influence on the manufacturing sector. Just as taxi companies and short-term holiday accommodation have been disrupted by Uber and Airbnb, the manufacturing sector must wait to see what sort of disruption will be caused by digital connectivity.

“At RS we are supporting customers with IIoT in two ways – first by providing the latest technology to connect devices, and second by providing a platform, in the shape of Design Spark, for engineers and other experts to share knowledge and innovate. I see the future of IIoT and IoT in general as an inevitable growth to the point where the technology becomes ubiquitous – similar to mobile phones, wireless Internet and other technology that we take for granted. The idea of virtually any product or device talking to other products or devices will simply become the norm,” von Schirmeister concludes.

Supplied By: RS Components (SA)
Tel: +27 11 691 9300
Fax: +27 11 466 1577
  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • The ultimate wireless mesh for Industrial IoT in SA?
    29 May 2019, Altron Arrow, This Week's Editor's Pick, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Analog Devices’ SmartMesh could help with predictive maintenance of the largely metal and concrete buildings which include industrial plants, data centres, commercial buildings, bridges and tunnels.
  • Passive RFID using UHF delivers long-range benefits in the IoT
    29 May 2019, Avnet South Africa, This Week's Editor's Pick, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    In order to support the use of UHF RFID as an IoT solution, a global alliance was formed in 2014 by Google, Intel, Impinj, Smartrac and AIM.
  • To ICASA or not to ICASA wireless modules?
    29 May 2019, Otto Wireless, This Week's Editor's Pick, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    When selecting a wireless module, purchasing an ICASA approved device or module from the approved supplier is critical.
  • Using a COTS-based SDR platform for streamlined 5G development
    29 May 2019, Rugged Interconnect Technologies, This Week's Editor's Pick, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    The latest SDR products offer solutions with integrated I/O, ARM processors, and large FPGAs that include intellectual property (IP) for accessing, routing and processing digital data.
  • Waveguide antennas for millimetre-wave
    29 May 2019, RF Design, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Pasternack has released a new line of waveguide antennas designed to address R&D, military/aerospace, experimental radar, test and measurement, and wireless communication applications from 40 GHz to 220 ...
  • Multi-constellation GNSS module
    29 May 2019, Altron Arrow, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Telit’s new GE310-GNSS is an IoT (Internet of Things) module with GSM/GPRS, multi-constellation satellite positioning and Bluetooth functionality, packaged in a 270 mm² form factor. The module enables ...
  • RF front-ends for 5G deployments
    29 May 2019, Hi-Q Electronics, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Sky5 LiTE, recently unveiled by Skyworks, is a fully integrated front-end solution for mass tier 5G cellular applications. The baseband agnostic platform supports up to 100 MHz bandwidth for 5G new radio ...
  • GNSS module for lane-accurate positioning
    29 May 2019, RF Design, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    New from u-blox comes the ZED F9K high-precision multiband GNSS (global navigation satellite system) module with built-in inertial sensors. The module combines the latest generation of GNSS receiver technology, ...
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module
    29 May 2019, Avnet South Africa, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Murata Manufacturing has collaborated with Cypress Semiconductor to develop the Type 1LV (CYW43012) low-power, small form factor Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module. This product is designed to improve battery ...
  • Sigfox-connected remote switch
    29 May 2019, Electrocomp Express, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Telemecanique Sensors offers a wireless solution to collect data from remote equipment and use this data, via the Internet, on a PC or mobile device. The XIOT cloud-connected switch (model XIOT11SE5MRCL) ...
  • Replacing the magnetron with solid-state devices in microwave ovens
    29 May 2019, TRX Electronics, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Microwave ovens are much-used appliances in many kitchens today. Used not only for cooking food from frozen but also for reheating last night’s curry or the cup of coffee you left to go cold, they provide ...
  • 50 GHz mixers in SMT packages
    29 May 2019, RF Design, Telecoms, Datacoms, Wireless, IoT
    Marki Microwave has introduced its first 50 GHz surface-mount products, the MM1-1850HSM and MM1-1850SSM double-balanced mixers. These GaAs MMIC mixers offer wide bandwidths and high linearity in a proprietary ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.