How Manufacturers Can Gain From Big Data, IoT


Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT)is revolutionizing the world around us – from the medical care we receive to the way retailers market to us – but how is the manufacturing industry benefitting from it?

Large manufacturers have been analyzing data to optimize production and processes for many years to drive performance. However, the sheer volume, variety and velocity of data being generated today – along with the new business intelligence tools available – has the potential to deliver even bigger financial and productivity gains in India, Asia- Pacific and across the globe.

By 2015, more than 15 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, generating a new (and bigger) wave of big data in industries such as manufacturing automation, energy and transportation, according to research firm International Data Corp. (IDC). Information technology (IT) companies are readying to tap the big data market globally as well as in India where the market is expected to be worth $1 billion by 2015, according to Nasscom.

When combined with the opportunities generated by increasing trade between emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Japan, it is an exciting time to be a manufacturer. India has several advantages as a manufacturing base. According to a 2014 research conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, India is gaining cost competitiveness vis-a-vis China. Today, India’s index has remained relatively unchanged at 87 while China’s has jumped to 97.

This sentiment is echoed by manufacturers, with many already acknowledging the value improved data analysis can unlock within their organisations, especially in supply chain processes. For instance, additional benefits of enhanced data analysis recognized by manufacturers include receiving real-time alerts (38 per cent), correlating performance data to drive efficiencies (36 per cent), and improving interactions with outside suppliers (31 per cent).

However, while manufacturers realize the value of Big Data and the Internet of Things very few of these companies are using the connected enterprise to enhance operations. Therefore, what IT changes should manufacturers look to make so they can realise the gains available, specifically when it comes to driving efficiencies on the factory floor?

IT to increase productivity

The Government’s investment in technology for the year 2014-15 is an estimated $26 billion comprising of investment in digitisation, infrastructural improvements, push for manufacturing and technology in healthcare and agriculture, according to latest report by market research firm Zinnov.

The five growth levers — Digital India, India as the Innovation Hub, Next Gen Infrastructure, Enhance Ease of Doing Business, and Revive Manufacturing — will be executed by a focus on 3S – skill, scale and speed propelled by technology, the report said.

•The Indian Government has also planned for simpler and well defined tax policies to aid businesses. The Indian manufacturing industry presents $8 billion opportunity for the ICT sector by 2017.

•  According to research agency IDC, IT spend in Indian manufacturing will double by 2016. IDC’s Manufacturing Insight predicts the India manufacturing IT spending to grow to $8,781.8 million by 2016, which doubles the manufacturing IT spending of 2011, representing a CAGR of 14.5% between 2012 and 2016. The sector with the highest IT spend in the Indian manufacturing sector in 2012 is automotive, which is followed by chemicals and consumer products.

•  There is increased interest in looking beyond ERP, as companies seek to leverage technology to deliver value to the enterprise, with increased focus on more specific applications to support manufacturing operations, supply chain management and product lifecycle management. We are also seeing increased interest in newer technologies such as business intelligence and mobile within manufacturing enterprises, as companies seek to leverage these for enhanced productivity.

The NarendraModi government’s ‘Make In India’ campaign aims at spurring a manufacturing-led growth with more focus on the ease of doing business than on an incentive-linked investment climate. The push for manufacturing has two aims, to create jobs and lift growth. The electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) industry will benefit from the government’s Make in India campaign and is projected to see investment proposals worth Rs10,000 crore over the next two years, according to the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), an industry body.

A Virtual Factory

Manufacturers need to implement technologies capable of bringing together multiple data sets from their various sensors and machines into a single stream. Integrating and virtualizing intelligence across the factory – including real-time and archived data – will empower manufacturers to extract new insights through a 360 degree view of performance, enabling them to optimise and secure operations, and unleash transformative services.

Victory Through Harmony

Predictive analytic solutions should also be implemented by manufacturers – and integrated with existing systems – to enhance factory output and performance and longevity of existing assets. For instance, the use of data insights to identify degradation on hardware components so that parts can be replaced before breaking helps to avoid unexpected downtime and the associated costs. Additionally, predictive analytics ensures machines are programmed to collectively work together. For instance, running one machine at full power could have a detrimental effect on a nearby machine, such as by creating too much heat. Yet, implementing a predictive analytics solutions empowers manufacturers to set parameters that can be managed in real-time to ensure each cog on the factory floor works together in harmony.

Optimize Existing Assets

You might be thinking these new intelligent and integrated platforms will require a complete refresh of hardware on the factory floor and the IT systems being used. However, this isn’t the case, and manufacturers can realise these gains by implementing one simple solution extending existing legacy systems and connecting them to next-generation intelligent infrastructures.

Providing pre-integrated, pre-validated hardware and software building blocks, Intelligent Gateways connect legacy and new systems, and enable seamless and secure data flow between edge devices and the cloud. Delivering this simple ability ensures the gains from big data and IoT can be achieved without a complete rip and replace of existing systems, which would usually require significant investments while also impacting factory output.

The Indian Governments push for IOT

With the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), the number of connected sensors will be working with billions of intelligent systems involving in-numerous applications that will drive new consumer and business behaviour. The demand for increasingly intelligent industry solutions based on IoT will drive opportunities for the IT industry and even more for the companies that take advantage of IoT.

One of the top most initiatives in the form of Digital India Program of the Government which aims at ‘transforming India into digital empowered society and knowledge economy’ is expected to provide the required impetus for development of the IoT industry ecosystem in the country.

According to the IOT Policy,pertaining to the manufacturing of semiconductors is to create national expert committee for developing and adopting IoT standards in the country. The expert committee should comprise of industry experts/organizations in the are of Material Technology – Silicon, semiconductor manufacturing etc.

As per the Department of Electronics and Information Technology,(DeiTY) there is a draft IOT Policy which focuses on the following objectives:

i. To create an IoT industry in India of USD 15 billion by 2020. It has been assumed that India would have a share of 5-6% of global IoT industry.

ii. To undertake capacity development (Human & Technology) for IoT specific skill-sets for domestic and international markets.

iii. To undertake Research & development for all the assisting technologies.

iv. To develop IoT products specific to Indian needs in all possible domains.

Hand in Hand

Today’s fiercely competitive manufacturing environment is driving companies to constantly sharpen their operational efficiencies and lower costs without compromising quality, employee safety, or performance. Companies are working hard to extend their relationships with manufacturers as they look to consolidate and take full advantage of the data at their fingertips, which is being created by the various connected sensors across the factory floor. The Internet of Things and big data go hand in hand, and with access to more information and the ability to rapidly analyze it, manufacturers will be able to develop new tools improving quality, increase throughput, and reduce machine failure and downtime, to achieve a leading competitive advantage.