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Best Practices for Using IIoT and AI-Powered WiFi Automation to Improve Supply Chain Operations

July 14, 2023
Technology is supposed to ease our burdens and it can – when the right device is adopted. Use these tips to bring optimized, reliable WiFi and appropriate IIoT solutions to your workforce.

One of the most important guidelines for any organization is remembering that not every technology will improve their processes, user experience and customer relationships. For these end results to occur, technology must be adopted carefully and only after strategic analysis. This intentional adoption process requires organizations to know what technologies are out there and how they differ from one another. This brings us to IIoT, a subset of IoT.

What is IIoT?

IIoT stands for the Industrial Internet of Things. It is also referred to as industrialized IoT. It includes sensors, machines and smart devices that are designed for use in industrial settings rather than any other workspace. This includes use by manufacturing, utilities, oil and gas and agriculture.

Because of their intended utilization, these technologies differ from regular IoT devices. They can work in extreme temperatures and other hazardous conditions, support tens of thousands of users and machines and should be highly precise. They also are more likely to have robust security measures to better protect the sensitive machines they connect to and support.

What are the Business Benefits Gained from Using IIoT?

The specific improvements will depend on the chosen device(s). They should include one or more of the following:

  • Better productivity: IIoT devices should streamline and improve processes through their automation methods. This leads to better productivity and operational efficiency.
  • Shorter time to market: Analytical devices can predict market fluctuations and disruptions and make suggestions as to how to respond. This keeps companies ahead of the curve and allows them to keep their time to market on the lower end.
  • Improved safety: Manufacturers have the option to select devices that monitor both physical security and cybersecurity. Some benefits of these devices are their ability to send out real-time security alerts, oftentimes responding faster than a human could. This, in turn, allows companies to resolve issues faster. The analytics provided also help teams understand what went wrong and how to prevent it moving forward.
  • Fewer errors: IIoT provides predictive maintenance, i.e. alerts that maintenance is required before a machine goes offline or starts to degrade. With these insights, manufacturers can keep all machines and software working reliably and optimally.
  • Reduced costs: The above benefits reduce the times that operations slow, stall or must pivot without advanced warning. This reduces operating costs and improves profits, user experience and a business’s reputation.

How Do Manufacturers and Supply Chain Facilities Successfully Adopt and Integrate IIoT Solutions?

Adopting the best technology takes some time but isn’t complicated. Companies should:

  • Ensure their WiFi network is reliable and optimized. IIoT technologies depend on this network. If they can’t connect to it, or if it experiences performance problems, the devices can’t do their job.
  • Identify a specific problem they want solved.
  • Make a list of what is needed to solve the problem. This might be more visibility, better predictive services, automated alerts, etc.
  • Define measurable analytics that can be reviewed to show improvement. These analytics should be gathered both before and after the device is integrated.
  • Research IIoT devices and select one with features that match the identified need.
  • Use the device for 1-3 months.
  • Compare the measurable analytics from before the device was adopted with analytics from after the device was adopted.

There should be improvement. If not, the device either isn’t working as promised, or the wrong device was selected. Work with the technology vendor and, if necessary, purchase a different device to try.

Best Practices for How to Maintain Optimized WiFi Networks Using AI-powered WiFi Automation

Since the WiFi network is crucial to the successful deployment and operation of IIoT devices, this resource must be reliable and future proofed. Maintaining an optimized WiFi network requires companies to have 24/7, real-time insight into the entire RF ecosystem, which consists of connected devices, backend and frontend infrastructure and sources of interference such as hotspots, nearby networks and Bluetooth devices. This task is accomplished with the real time analysis of thousands of data packets a second. This is an impossible effort for employees but can be successfully completed with the assistance of AI-powered WiFi automation solutions.

These solutions automate the detection, notification and mitigation of WiFi network problems. They reduce the number of problems, provide faster resolution times and future-proof networks for long-term optimization. They do this with a mix of the following best practices:

  • AI systems that learn to recognize normal and abnormal network behavior
  • Non-stop RF ecosystem monitoring and analysis
  • Proactive performance and security alerts sent at the first detection of an issue
  • Root cause analysis of issues
  • Historical analytics to support IT teams with an understanding of issues that occur when IT is offsite, as well as a look at any long-term performance degradation and changing network utilization

Companies can use these solutions to ensure that the network, the foundation of most manufacturing technologies, is always up-to-the-task.

Let IIoT Technology Simplify Operations

Technology is supposed to ease our burdens and it can – when the right device is adopted. Use these tips to bring optimized, reliable WiFi and appropriate IIoT solutions to your workforce.

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About the Author

Roger Sands | CEO and CO-Founder | Wyebot, Inc.

Roger Sands is a co-Founder and CEO of Wyebot, Inc., and has 17 years of executive management positions in successful networking startups and Fortune 500 companies. Prior to Wyebot, Sands was the Business Line Manager for Hewlett-Packard’s WW WLAN business. Roger joined HP via the acquisition of Colubris Networks, a wireless startup where he held a number of executive positions including co-CEO. Prior to Colubris, he was a GM at Accton Technology. Sands also held senior management positions at 3com, USRobotics and Bytex Corporation, and he holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s in electrical engineering at Northeastern University.