Buzzwords get a bad rap. This is mostly due to operator error. Sometimes really valid concepts get haphazardly tossed around so frequently by people who don’t fully understand them that the actual concept starts getting muddled. But this shouldn’t always devalue the initial idea.
The “Internet of Things” is a good example. There are so many articles casually using the acronym “IoT” that it has become difficult to find a basic discussion of the concept.
In its most simplistic form, the IoT is a network of physical devices embedded with sensors and electronics, where all the devices speak to each other using the existing Internet infrastructure. The INDUSTRIAL Internet of Things (IIoT) is simply the Internet of Things when applied to the industrial sector (oh hey, that’s you guys).
With some touting it as the “4th Industrial Revolution,“ clearly the IIoT is quite complex and, as I’m not a tech expert, I won’t add to the confusing amount of chatter. That being said, the IIoT’s applicability to pharmaceutical manufacturing is undeniable, even to the non-technical observer.
Having a network of connected devices in pharma manufacturing facilities means remote access to equipment, proactive maintenance of equipment based on actual logs and analytics, real-time plant floor visibility, the ability to recognize and respond to compliance issues immediately, and the ability to monitor and control serialization. The resulting analytics from these connected devices can be used to improve business and manufacturing efficiency, reduce risk and essentially disrupt aging business models.
As with all technological advancements, there are always associated risks and challenges. Security and data privacy are definitely huge concerns in pharma. Additionally, the industry will be tasked with finding the right software and systems to organize and analyze the huge amount of data that will become available.
Nonetheless, the potential seems almost endless. The Industrial Internet of Things is no longer a futuristic notion. Those that are embracing IIoT are realizing positive, near-term benefits and creating a competitive advantage in the market. There are resources out there to help you plan, execute and optimize your IIoT implementation. Shameless plug aside, Putman Media has one of the best coming up this October. Check out the Smart Industry Conference & Expo - our immersive three-day program of targeted keynotes, sessions and workshops.
Perhaps Wired put it best when it said, “Unlike consumer-based IoT that is trying to devise a way to make your world a better place by telling you when your washing machine needs service...the IIoT is working to make our collective world a better place by improving the monitoring, control and safety of everything around us.”
For the first time in a long time, the Internet is abuzz with something that might actually eclipse the Internet in terms of impact on the world.