The Challenges of Scaling and Securing Manufacturing IoT Solutions

June 12, 2018

Globally, the manufacturing industry has been pegged as one of the leading adopters of IoT solutions. This is due to the availability of use cases in the industry, from asset management to supply chain management solutions that have demonstrated the ROI to justify the use of technology. The industry has been receptive to adopting technology to capture data that can be fed into existing ERP and cloud platforms to perform data analysis and help manufacturers make data-driven decisions that can help them streamline their operations.

Two people standing in a manufacturing plant, discussing the information they are viewing on the tablet. The manufacturing industry has adopted IoT technology to capture data to improve decision-making and streamline operations.

Scaling Manufacturing IoT Solutions

In a recent survey related to digital transformation in the manufacturing industry, Frost & Sullivan surveyed manufacturers to understand the technology investments that they believed would be critical in the success of their digital transformation efforts.

Chart: Technologies Critical to Digital Transformation Success in Manufacturing Industry (Global), 2017 (Source: Frost & Sullivan). This chart shows that data analytics is the most critical to IoT manufacturing success.

With manufacturers looking to acquire these technologies and develop their own products and solutions, scalability and integration are essential to maximizing ROI. Scalability comes in two forms:

  • Scaling horizontally: Adding more connected products and systems over time increasing the total number of ‘things’ connected.
  • Scaling vertically: Bottom to top integration with multiple ERP and cloud solutions and applications.

Securing Manufacturing IoT Solutions

As manufacturers look to scale their solution, adding layers of security to devices and networks becomes a critical success factor. According to the survey, 49.2 percent of manufacturers’ list security/ privacy risks as their top concern in deploying IoT solutions, as shown below:

Chart: Top Concerns Around IoT Investments, Manufacturing (Global), 2017 (Source: Frost & Sullivan). This chart shows that security and privacy risks is the top concern in IoT manufacturing.

The Last Word

Security/ privacy risks, integration costs, and lack of standards and interoperability are top concerns surrounding IoT in the manufacturing industry. These concerns are all directly linked to the ability of an organization to scale its IoT deployment by either adding devices or bottom to top integration with back office systems.

To alleviate these challenges, manufacturers must work with vendors and service providers that have a proven track record with existing use cases in deploying solutions in the industry. In addition, a key criterion for selection has to be the ability of an organization to develop and deploy an IoT solution with plug and play modules that can help manufacturers scale and integrate their deployments over time by adding devices, disparate systems, and cloud management capabilities seamlessly and with minimal custom coding.

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