Guest post from LiveWorx Sponsor Cognizant:

When IoT Meets Manufacturing

One of the more negative iconic images of the Industrial Revolution was of child workers being sent into coal mines. Thankfully, that's an age long behind us.

Our own age promises a different revolution: one in which miners no longer need to descend into the mine shaft, wield a pick, endure suffocating temperatures or constant jarring vibration, or risk their lives for underground goods like coal, gold or diamonds.

Tomorrow's mines will increasingly rely on sensor-equipped, software-driven machinery, a complex technology evolution enabled by the movement toward the Internet of Things (IoT). And it's not just mining that’s benefiting from the IoT. While the technology sector conjures an image of silicon chips and clean rooms, processors and analytics, sensors and the cloud, manufacturers across sectors are moving toward a world of IoT-enabled intelligent products and systems.

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Intelligent Solutions: There's Gold in Them Hills

Ordering dinner through an app, calling Lyft to get to a restaurant or paying bills through a smartphone are the accepted conventions of today’s digital world. Now a new technology wave is transforming remote-operated or software-driven equipment into IoT-enabled, autonomous, self-learning machinery that reacts to changing circumstances in real time.

Driverless heavy machinery is already functioning at multinational metals and mining company Rio Tinto's massive open-pit iron mining operations at Pilbara in Western Australia, with 400-plus-ton trucks larger than two-story houses hauling massive loads of ore and waste material. Operated from a control room hundreds of miles away, the trucks work alongside other vehicles and heavy machinery, adjusting in real time to a mine’s changing layout as ore and waste are removed.

Soon, most new mines will use pilot-less drilling machines at the coalface, equipped with sensors that allow them to follow seams of ore, monitor temperature and air quality, detect vibrations that may signal danger, and make sensor-informed decisions  based on complex risk-driven algorithms.

Trucks, drilling machines, even transportation systems will be interoperable automated systems — in effect, an amalgamation of specialized systems in a single, highly complex machine. The result: more efficient operations, fewer workers exposed to risk, better performance and an improved bottom line.

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The Changing Face of Manufacturing

Today's manufacturers are actively leveraging IoT initiatives to realize internal process efficiencies. Many are changing how they design their production facilities to transform their business – streamlining production and improving productivity.

Consider a large heavy equipment manufacturer, which builds perhaps the world's most recognizable agricultural equipment. Leveraging IoT in its production lines, the company slashed the time it takes to produce a 330 gallon, fuel capacity machine at its facility in the United States from 42 minutes to 22 minutes. It did so by automating factory line processes and equipping it with beacons and retail sensor platform integrated with an IoT cloud platform. The company can now boast doubling production times, improved quality compliance at the work station level and increased utilization of employees by 20%.

Increasingly, the definition of a product is evolving to a broader, customer-centric construct, in which sensors gather data on customers' use of products and their performance, enabling predictive maintenance, insight into future product enhancements, even customer-focused features and improvements, along with better customer service. All are based on deeper insights into users' behavior, collected and aggregated from the products' sensors. By outfitting products with smart sensors and connecting them to key systems and networks – and even to each other – manufacturers are replacing transaction-oriented relationships with whole lifecycle engagement.

With its proven efficiency and productivity gains, it’s no wonder that the demand for IoT devices is exploding. According to Gartner*, total IoT service spending (including professional, consumer and connectivity services) will reach $471 billion in 2020, a 20% CAGR from 2015—and manufacturing is expected to account for about one-fourth of that market.

Mining? Yes. Oil and gas drilling? Sure. Manufacturing? Certainly. But not only these. Many companies in consumer-facing sectors will be seeing change as well, from banking to retail to airlines. Connected products and smart manufacturing are here to stay, and they'll be all around us. Learn more at Cognizant Enterprise IoT Solutions. (

*Gartner Forecast Analysis: Internet of Things —
Services, Worldwide, 2016 Update, February 2017:

For more great IoT-related content, register for LiveWorx 2018, June 17-20 in Boston!