IoT use cases in manufacturing: opportunities and context

If we look at IoT in manufacturing from an IoT use case perspective (the areas where IoT is leveraged within a practical usage context), we see that one use case is sticking out: manufacturing operations, which is also the largest use case across all industries globally (the only region where manacturing operations aren’t the first use case is EMEA where freight monitoring comes first).

In 2016, manufacturing operations accounted for a total IoT spend of $102.5 billion (on the mentioned total of $178 billion), according to the same IDC 2017 release.

Manufacturing obviously covers many types of products, operations, processes and a vast space of activities, components, machines, people, partners, information systems and so forth. It is a long way from raw materials to finished goods and it is inevitably related with supply chains, logistics and transportation as well.

If we look at manufacturing as industrial production in any of the stages where raw materials are turned into products or products are used to build other products it’s clear that we see a huge market that is highly interconnected.

It’s among others in this sense that the Internet of Things almost by definition is key for the manufacturing industry in an integrated approach, further including technologies such as big data analytics, cloud, robotics and, most importantly perhaps, the integration of IT (Information Technology) and OT (Operational Technology).

In few other industries there are so many opportunities to leverage the Internet of Things in connecting physical and digital, making various assets, such as machines, other production assets and the various object in a non-production sense, as well as a variety of product and manufacturing process parameters part of a vast information network. This is an important element as with manufacturing we typically tend to think about goods and products but the bigger opportunity for manufacturers lies in cyber-physical systems, a service economy model and the information opportunity.


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