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How the IoT Could Affect Industrial Engineering

The Internet of Things is moving from the realm of theory to real world application. This is in some ways the extension of facility monitoring systems that many IEs have worked with to the broader world, while it extends the network to everything else in the facility from back office equipment reporting energy usage to your finished product continuing to send data to your organization after shipment. Here are a few ways IoT could affect industrial engineering.

  • IEs working in industrial automation will need better training in data mining and analysis of data flooding in from the IoT whether detailed reporting from everything contributing to the assembly line.
  • Potential faults and impending failures make manufacturing management much more proactive.
  • If shipped product is able to send data back to manufacturers to diagnose failures, failure analysis becomes a real time skillset and requires stronger customer service skills.
  • If products can report failures to manufacturers the same way computers can send failure reports to Microsoft or Apple, there will be far more data to mine for understanding the root causes of any type of failure.
  • User experience is revolutionized by the amount of information IEs in this field get regarding how systems are actually used.
  • Just as managers need to learn how to use business intelligence software, IEs will need to learn how to use software developed to summarize IoT data and control increasingly self-sufficient factories.
  • Total Predictive Maintenance will become standard and include far more data points and equipment. For example, you’ll need to plan on replacing sensors monitoring everything as well as the equipment itself.
  • Programming and information security become more important to the average industrial engineer.
  • Smart automation will expand from the biggest or newest factories to many more manufacturers.

What would you add to this list?

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