Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of attending the IoT for Manufacturing Workshop at GA Tech. There were a lot of great speakers and a lot of the domain information was new to me since I haven’t spent too much time in the Manufacturing sector. I wanted to share some of my notes and overarching themes I noticed during the workshop.

  • The IoT renaissance in manufacturing is a global phenomenon. ——————————————————————————————

A lot of the speakers were talking about the efforts that individual countries were undertaking to position themselves as the global manufacturing hub of the future. Europe is championing “Industry 4.0”. China coined the term “Made in China 2025”. India is claiming “Make in India”. The US is pushing “Smart Manufacturing”. It seems that everyone is trying to get a piece of the estimated \$3.8 trillion up for grabs over the next ten years. The following infographic was in more than a few slide decks and you can grab a copy below.

IoT Info

  • Customers and Suppliers are pushing for architectural standards ———————————————————————————————-

The battle over protocols and standards in IoT reminds me of the format wars between HD DVD vs. BluRay or CD and LaserDisc. Everyone is trying to push their agenda in hopes of becoming the defacto standard. Only time will tell what standards the industry settles on. It was encouraging to see the US government attempting to provide some guidance with the DIGIT Act. For more reading in this space check out the Industrial Internet of Things Security Framework and the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture.

  • Big Data and Analytics will be a key component of any IoT initiative ——————————————————————————————————

Every presenter had their flavor of IoT initiatives and what they considered to be their competitive advantage. The one thing that every presenter agreed on was that the Data obtained from investing in IoT would provide the most value. A lot of companies admitted that they did not have the in house expertise when it came to Big Data and Data Analytics so they were using third parties for those services. At the same time, they were starting initiatives internally to beef up on those skills.

  • Things of Note ———————

I was hoping to get a little more in the weeds when it came to protocols. More specifically LoRa. It was interesting to hear that AT&T is rolling out LTE-M as a direct competitor to LoRa. They claim low power consumption and and a sub \$10 cost for the sim cards. There was GA based company, CribMaster, that had some cool innovations in long range passive RFID technology. Think real-time tracking of passive rfid tags up to a 150ft. radius instead reading tags as they funnel through choke points. Siemens is rolling out a IoT “App Store” aimed at Manufacturing. I feel like everyone is trying to be the “Apple” of their sector and it’s starting to get a little redundant but I guess I can’t blame them. Manufacturing tends to trail other industries when it comes to emerging tech but they seem to be jumping on the IoT bandwagon which could have real impact for the industry in the next few years.