The concept of IoT is hardly new, as most advanced manufacturers have been equipping their factories and warehouses with networked sensors for decades. It’s the connectivity between ‘things’ that drives today’s IoT discussions, as the exponential growth in IoT-connected devices leads to network bottlenecks and bandwidth limitations, data latency and increasing infrastructure costs using traditional, hierarchical network architecture. Manufacturers require real-time visibility into factory processes to maintain high levels of production efficiency. This requires localized access, storage and analytics only possible with the latest in hyper-converged edge computing technology.
IoT will have the biggest impact in customer service and support…The Economist
94% have already seen a return on their investments in IoT.CMO
96% plan to use IoT in the next three years. 68% are already investing.Wired
6.4 billion new connected things are in use in 2016.Gartner
The market for IoT components could exceed 30% a year through 2025 (having grown 160% in 2013 and 2014).McKinsey Global
Manufacturing IoT and the Benefits of Edge Computing
Any discussion on computer networking and data exchange inevitably focuses on IoT and how connected ‘things’ will help create a more quantifiable and measurable world. For manufacturers, these ‘things’ are typically the sensors, electronic controls and automated equipment that help control a process and drive efficiency, quality and flexibility—areas that have the biggest impact for any operation. With industry forecasts sizing IoT for the manufacturing sector as large as $30 billion by 2020, it’s easy to appreciate just how much data and network traffic will be generated by these connected devices and the impact it would have on a traditional network architecture where everything is sent upstream to a cloud data center. The inevitable latency and bandwidth costs will become very significant challenges that will influence how businesses adopt and benefit from the IoT opportunity.
A smarter solution for a typical manufacturing legacy hierarchical data center model is to distribute computing power and storage at the edge of the network so that transport latency and bandwidth requirements are minimized. Edge computing brings bandwidth-intensive content and latency-sensitive applications closer to the user or data source so that process visibility is as close to real-time as possible. With a scalable edge computing platform called EtherGRID™ that utilizes our GAUGE.DB™ database architecture and an extensive portfolio of Industrial Ethernet infrastructure, Wi-Fi and media interconnectivity products, Allied Telesis is able to work closely with the manufacturing sector, building states-of-the-art solutions to leverage IoT technology on the plant floor.