Industrial Internet of Things Will Change Manufacturing As We Know It

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Manufacturing may not be the first thing that comes to mind when someone hears the words "Internet of Things" and "big data," but maybe it should be. Natik, Mass.-based software company MathWorks’ Tony Lennon said these technologies might be more applicable in factories than any other one environment.

Lennon said big automation companies are concerned about moving data "throughout the manufacturing process, from the beginning out to the actual execution systems, out to the supplier systems so that that information can be passed along,’ he said. Lennon cited the opportunities for companies like APC by Schneider Electric. "They're looking at the Internet as a backbone."

Factories also consume and produce huge amounts of data, according to Lennon. "What I really see happening is people building smart sensors," Lennon said. Once sensors are "smart" enough to distinguish which data is attractive to the analyst or end user, that data becomes much more valuable and efficient, according to Lennon. "Don't feed everything I find to the system to analyze it," he explained.

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Lennon said "factory intelligence" also will be a process-changing development, for everyone from factory employees to technology vendors and resellers.

"These are very advanced concepts, but the fact is, is that this is what factories need to do," he said.