What the Industrial Internet of Things is missing: Software and People

There’s a current hype around the Internet of Things going on and we’re not innocent. Specially when you talk about it’s industrial twin: the Industrial Internet of Things.

Buzzwords aside, the Industrial Internet of Things trend, along with the industrial 3D-printing trend, holds a highly-rewarding promise to take industrial workers from their 19th century type of activity, where Ford and Taylor are still the guys to emulate, and bring them into the 21st century, much closer to the knowledge economy and technological disruption we’ve been seeing in the last few decades with software and the Internet. We’ve beginning to see that with Tesla car factories and their almost fully automated assembly lines. But we believe we can do more.

Tesla Robot Factory Seat

First, Tesla had an opportunity to build things from scratch. The oldest and most successful industrial manufacturing and assembling businesses have been operating since the 19th century or at least since the 1950s. Most of the ones that are still operating today were able to keep up with the times by adapting and not by restarting from scratch. The ones that had opportunities to re-design their business from scratch and that have actually done so are very few.

This may come as a shock to you but most of the things that you surround yourself with, from clothes to furniture to electronic devices are still done by a factory worker somewhere with the aide of technology from the 1980s. And that’s being optimistic.

Tesla Model S Assembly line workers

What that means for the Industrial Internet of Things is that these businesses won’t start over from scratch. They will adapt. Like they always have. They will take sensors and place them on their old but sturdy machines to make them “digital”, for instance.

They will also measure the performance of their workers more effectively and with more detail. Punching the clock twice a day is not enough to create data that you can get insights from. Besides, the amount of bureaucracy necessary to keep up with production in paper is just overwhelming. And that is data you can’t act on because there is always an average time delay of about two weeks between the action (operations) and data delivery (filling in the paperwork). What good does it do realizing now that you had a problem two weeks ago? You can’t do anything about it.

That’s where Prodsmart comes in. We take all the production paper lying around and replace that with a tablet with a very intuitive and easy to use app. And a management and analytics module that crunches all that human input that your workers create, crunches it and makes sense of it. And we’re working with sensors companies to integrate with our platform so that you can have a one stop software to know everything about your factory floor in real-time. So you can know your operations better than the palm of your hand.

That’s what Prodsmart brings to the Industrial Internet of Things table: software and people. “People” because the data about your workers activity, the most important data in our humble opinion, must be captured somehow. “Software” because the sensors and machines (hardware) must integrate with the same platform as anything else. The result is your factory floor information updated in real-time.