New names are emerging from the modern industrial world such as "Industry 4.0," which comprises Industrial IoT and smart manufacturing. The term refers to factories with digital infrastructure that collect big data on production processes. As smart factories continue to demonstrate the benefits of digital transformation, society will begin to enjoy the improvements these new technologies bring to their surroundings.
The Link Between Industry 4.0 and Smart Cities
At the foundation of today's smart factory is Industrial IoT, in which core processes are monitored by machine learning software through a network of interconnected devices. This new paradigm opens the door to merging physical and digital activity so that equipment and processes can be better managed.
The technologies that will help define smart cities beyond sensors will include AI and 5G. More smart cities will surface when early players can quantify the enormous cost savings from monitoring software used to refine operations. Another dimension to smart city success will be how well robots and self-driven vehicles are integrated into local infrastructure to benefit the community.
Manufacturing and Logistics
Global spending on IoT has increased over the past couple of years and is predicted to surpass the $1 trillion mark in 2022. The fuel behind this momentum has been in the form of cybersecurity, automation, machine to machine (M2M) communications, and device connectivity through an intranet-based infrastructure. Data protection has become a high priority in factories and warehouses from the need to meet government compliance and establish robust security protocols.
By installing IIoT sensors in factories and warehouses, manufacturers will pioneer new ways to make factory floors safer for human workers. The use of robots to handle higher-risk assignments will further contribute to a safer workplace. Through the use of IIoT, sensors can deliver data to partners in real-time, allowing for improved efficiency throughout the supply chain.
While many may worry that robots will replace human jobs, the truth is that automation and machines are freeing up time for humans to work on tasks that computers can't do yet. For example, machine learning software cannot close a sales deal, and AI, while helpful for decision making, cannot replace decades of experience and cultured relationships. These examples illustrate that technology's role is not to take over but only to enhance the workplace by relieving humans of repetitive tasks.
Heading Toward a Smarter Future
The smart revolution will pick up momentum with the deployment of 5G, which will allow for broader connectivity and the capability of delivering more data at once. Large manufacturers are in a position to influence the development and deployment of smart technology by reporting how the analysis of big data has helped create safer working conditions and increased productivity.
One of the biggest contributions to city infrastructure IoT technology can make is in traffic control monitoring systems as a measure to reduce traffic accidents. The use of smart lighting systems can track traffic data, which can help officials decide where to reduce speeds or create detours. The use of portable solar-powered digital signs can also help direct traffic with messages. In the future, the more cars that connect wirelessly with the internet, the better they can be monitored for traffic safety.
Manufacturers and city governments have much to gain by collaborating on the development of smart infrastructure. Learning from each other's data will help lead to more efficient technologies and devices. New ideas for efficiency that improve the community can develop from brainstorming when engineers are aware of local leaders’ needs.
The future of manufacturing and logistics will likely be influenced by 3D printers, eliminating the need for a large factory for production. Not only are these machines designed to reduce production waste, but they also allow for the elimination of certain traditional supply chain components, which can help significantly cut costs.