The Smart Businesses Guide to Intelligence at the Edge and IIOT

Technology that enables business continuity and agility in every condition is essential today and into the future.

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Renea Sloan, director, Channel Marketing, FreeWave Technologies
Renea Sloan, director, Channel Marketing, FreeWave Technologies

Remote processes that enable agility in changing conditions are critical, given our current circumstances. And while today’s drastic measures aren’t permanent, it’s never been more crucial to optimize remote operations for business continuity.

To that end, tools that limit on-site personnel without compromising integrity are essential.

The right edge computing and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) strategies and products not only transform industrial environments and help a business maintain operations under every circumstance, but they also enhance overall efficiency and performance, regardless of factors outside your control.

Edge computing and connected devices can give countless critical industries transformative insights into their remote operations.

What is IIoT?
Before getting too far down the rabbit hole of in-depth technical explanations, we should touch on the basics of IIoT (forgive us if you already know).

In simple terms, connected assets and edge devices send information to data communications infrastructures and turn the insights into actionable info. Engineers can use this data over time to uncover patterns that help identify more significant issues and their root causes. The gathered information can also drive meaningful business decisions, improve processes, and save money.

As digitization becomes a critical business priority, the IIoT (sometimes called the Industrial Internet) is increasingly becoming pervasive.

But technology is not without its faults. We won’t paint a rosy portrait without transparency around potential challenges. 

IIoT-specific challenges
Before your business adopts IIoT and edge computing technologies, you need to take a hard look at security. Any technology that makes business-critical data and information available through the Internet can leave you exposed.

The added expense of employee education and training and advanced network security sometimes offset the cost benefits associated with IIoT. If you’re looking at implementing these technologies, you need to be realistic with your expectations around return on investment—at least in the beginning.

There can also be standardization challenges when implementing IIoT and edge intelligence technologies. Integrating your industrial environment to the Internet of Things is more complicated than using the standard machine-to-machine and connected devices. You’ll need to upgrade legacy devices and infrastructures and, at the same time, implement new IIoT and edge technologies to allow for seamless communication between connected devices, operating systems, connectivity frameworks, and protocol standards. 

IIoT and edge computing benefits
Still, the benefits of IIoT and edge computing technologies far outweigh their challenges and the initial up-front cost. We’ll give you a short run-down of those benefits, starting with overall efficiency.

When you have complete visibility into every aspect of your business, from field operations to internal resources and applications, nothing is missed or wasted. FreeWave customers in varying industries have implemented IIoT and edge technologies across all their businesses to achieve operational intelligence.

Intelligence enables them to gain end-to-end visibility to increase productivity, reduce operational risks, mitigate costs, and, most importantly, keep employees and essential on-site personnel safe. IIoT and Edge technologies allow your teams to remotely monitor operations in real-time without putting them at risk—essential, considering today’s circumstances.

These technologies also enhance your overall security posture and not just cybersecurity. It’s never been more crucial to track personnel and on-site visitors in the field. We’re not saying that you don’t, or shouldn’t trust your employees, but the reality is people are the biggest threat to your business. Tools that allow you to remotely track and monitor activities in the field keep your business safe and operational.

These technologies also help to maximize production and output and allow you to make real-time adjustments with real-time data, something virtually impossible just a decade ago.

So, where do you start? 
We’ve got an in-depth discovery and implementation process when working with new FreeWave customers, but here’s a simple breakdown of the general procedure for implementing your new IIoT and edge Intelligence project.

  • You first need to define your overall goals for the IIOT project;
  • Second, you’ll want to identify how you plan to measure success;
  • Third, it’s essential that you document your execution plan to shore-up loose ends and consider every detail;
  • Fourth, and this is the most critical component—you need organizational buy-in to move forward; and
  • Last but not least, it’s time for work on the initial implementation.

 

The time is now
Your business needs data visibility to transform digitally. But that’s only half the battle. You also need to ensure that all relevant stakeholders can access, assess, and act on that data.

FreeWave gives you the power to do it all in a complete and cloud-enabled edge ecosystem. Our IQ platform provides immediate and expandable capabilities for high fidelity industrial data capture, analysis, control, and automation. And it’s designed for future growth or to build upon your existing infrastructure.

Readily expandable as your edge computing needs evolve, our products give you a future-ready solution to solve today’s operational challenges and to capitalize on the future opportunities that come with a smart edge. 

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