Maximizing IIoT Strategy: Choosing Between Developing or Subscription

  • Injection Molding
  • Machine Tools
  • Die Casting
  • Digital Services

ELK GROVE VILLAGE, IL, July 20, 2023 - 

Our last article discussed how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) provides a way for manufacturers to better manage and mitigate downtime. As companies explore the possibilities of IIoT, they ultimately face a critical decision: whether to invest in developing an in-house IIoT solution or opt for a subscription-based model. 

The dynamic landscape of IIoT technologies presents manufacturers with a plethora of opportunities, but it also poses unique challenges. This article will shed light on the critical factors that companies must consider when navigating IIoT solutions. By understanding these key distinctions, organizations can make informed decisions to align their IIoT strategy with their unique vision and thrive in an ever-evolving market.

Navigating the Obstacles of Developing In-House IIoT Solutions

Some manufacturers see developing in-house as the easiest way to customize the IIoT solution to their specific requirements, accommodating unique processes and industry-specific needs. Direct control over development, implementation, and customization offers ownership and flexibility allowing manufacturers to create a solution perfectly aligned with their vision. While this can be appealing, this path is not without its hurdles. 

By understanding and addressing the obstacles listed below, you can confidently navigate the process and make well-informed decisions to secure a successful IIoT strategy for your business. 

Slower time to market allows competitors to gain advantage

Developing an IIoT solution from scratch involves the time-consuming task of assembling various technology components before developing value-added applications. While competitors leverage ready-made solutions, your company risks falling behind due to the prolonged development cycles.

Higher up-front investment, extended payback period

Choosing to develop your own solution requires a significant initial investment, as you'll need to construct the fundamental, non-differentiating elements of the platform, which could otherwise be readily available. This considerable upfront cost diverts valuable resources away from other crucial areas of the business.

Lack of in-house expertise

Developing a solution demands diverse skills from developers and engineers. You'll need experts capable of connecting IoT devices, creating user-friendly platforms, and aligning IoT services with business objectives.

Complex scaling challenges

While an in-house team might succeed in creating a functional pilot, the real hurdles arise when expanding the solution to an enterprise level. The scalability requirements for manufacturing services using connected equipment demand enterprise-grade IoT solutions, including high availability, inherent security, seamless scaling to accommodate multiple devices, multi-tenancy support, swift recovery mechanisms, and efficient management.

IIoT solutions are continuous, not one-time projects

Unlike traditional projects with a fixed start and end date, IIoT solutions are persistent services with lifecycles that require ongoing support. Maintenance, customer support, and continuous improvement are essential aspects of service management. As a result, software updates become frequent, especially since software lifecycles tend to be shorter than hardware cycles. This shift towards maintenance rather than innovation in product development can become a significant cost center. 

Managing security threats in modern manufacturing

Protecting sensitive data and intellectual property is a paramount concern for manufacturers. By developing an in-house solution, some feel they gain a higher level of control over security measures and can implement robust safeguards tailored to their specific needs. However, there are risks that come with direct control, such as the possibility of introducing errors or security vulnerabilities. 

Exploring the Possibilities of Adopting a Cloud-Based IIoT Platform

As we explore the obstacles of developing in-house IIoT solutions, it's essential to consider alternative approaches. One such approach gaining traction in the rapidly evolving market is the subscription-based cloud model (SaaS). For instance, machiNetCloud brings the added flexibility to adapt new features, technologies, and upgrades without additional development or significant investments. Let's delve into the possibilities of adopting a cloud-based IIoT platform:

Scalability: Adapting to growing demands

Cloud-based platforms enable companies to effortlessly expand their IIoT infrastructure based on demand. With the flexibility to accommodate increasing data volumes and additional devices, businesses can swiftly respond to evolving market needs without hardware limitations or costly upgrades.

Cost-effectiveness: A pragmatic pay-as-you-go model

Operating on a pay-as-you-go basis, businesses pay only for the resources and services they use. This eliminates the need for substantial upfront investments in hardware and infrastructure, reducing overall costs significantly. With predictable pricing and the ability to scale resources as needed, organizations can optimize their budgets while enjoying top-tier IIoT capabilities.

Enhanced security: Fortifying against cyber threats

In contrast to traditional approaches, machiNetCloud's Zero Trust security model optimizes security measures based on the assumption that breaches can occur at any level. machiNetCloud's Amphion devices form a secure network, protecting factory equipment with seamless integration. Additionally, a network of experts tackles emerging threats, safeguarding factory infrastructure regardless of existing networks.

Ease of implementation: Rapid deployment made simple

Cloud-based platforms offer seamless and straightforward implementation. Users can access and use the platform online, bypassing hardware setup and infrastructure maintenance. This accelerated deployment ensures that businesses can begin harnessing IIoT insights immediately, enhancing operational efficiency without unnecessary delays.

Remote accessibility: Managing anytime, anywhere

The cloud model grants organizations remote accessibility, allowing users to access IIoT data and management from any location with an internet connection. For businesses with multiple locations or dispersed teams, this feature proves invaluable in ensuring centralized and efficient IIoT management. Real-time access to insights facilitates timely data-driven decision making and enhances collaboration across geographically diverse operations.

Data storage and backup: Ensuring security and reliability

Cloud-based models offer robust data storage and backup services, safeguarding critical IIoT data from hardware failures or disasters. For example, with machiNetCloud’s triple data redundancy and continuous backups, businesses can rest assured that their valuable insights remain safe and accessible at all times. 

Real-time analytics and insights: Empowering data-driven decisions

Leveraging the power of cloud-based computing resources, organizations can conduct real-time data analytics, generating valuable insights to drive informed decisions swiftly and efficiently. This data-driven approach enhances overall equipment efficiency (OEE), streamlines processes, and propels businesses towards innovation and growth.

Integration and interoperability: Streamlining with existing systems

Cloud platforms often offer Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and seamless integrations with various software and services. For example, machiNetCloud's platform allows for smooth data exchange and connection between the IIoT platform and existing systems, applications (ERP, MES, etc.), and software. Such interoperability streamlines operations, maximizes data utilization, and optimizes business processes overall efficiency.

Making the IIoT Decision With Confidence

The decision to adopt an IIoT solution is a crucial one for manufacturers, and careful consideration of specific use cases is essential. By evaluating factors such as customization, cost, scalability, and support, manufacturers can make an informed choice that aligns with their unique requirements and business goals.

machiNetCloud offers manufacturers a cost-effective solution that keeps up with their challenges, allowing them to concentrate on their core competencies. A Shibaura Machine support team and expert knowledge is also readily available, relieving manufacturers from managing and supporting the system themselves.

If you have questions about your organization's unique requirements contact the Digital Services Division.

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