Ten reasons manufacturers need a strategy for the Internet of Things now

By Sanjay Ravi, Worldwide Managing Director for Discrete Manufacturing: High Tech & Electronics, Automotive, Aerospace, and Industrial Industries at Microsoft

What’s the real time to value of the Internet of Things?

That’s a key question for those of us in the manufacturing industry. While much has been made of the incredible potential of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to produce real, measureable business value, in the manufacturing industry, investments in systems are often measured in millions of dollars and depreciated over decades. Replacing, retrofitting or augmenting these systems requires clear ROI, and doing so is generally looked at with skepticism.


So when Susan Hauser, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of the Enterprise and Partner Group, recently blogged about the “Top reasons businesses need a strategy for the Internet of Things now,” I thought I’d share some of the top ten reasons manufacturers should consider shelving some of that skepticism. Here’s a look at what the industry stands to gain from IoT:


#1. Get a jump-start on your competition. Streamline the management of robotics that build multiple configurations of off-road vehicles. Connect factory machines with the experts who built them for real-time maintenance and continuous uptime. Microsoft’s manufacturing customers are already taking advantage of IoT by connecting their devices to create new insights from data that help them transform their business.

#2. Get more out of your existing assets. You don’t need to replace entire machinery systems to get started reaping benefits from the technologies that drive IoT. Start with your existing IT assets and build upon them with new devices and new ways to view data. Connect existing and new devices to the cloud, and enable them to talk to each other, to your employees and customers. Transform your business by utilizing the data those devices generate with business intelligence tools to have deeper insight into what your customers and employees want and need.

#3. Enable small changes to make a big impact. The Internet of Your Things starts with identifying the one process, product line or location that matters most to you, then making small changes for big impact. Use satellite and sensor data to enable road de-icing trucks to output just the right amount of salt for this-minute’s conditions. Add temperature sensors to more accurately measure environmental stress on equipment so you can optimize maintenance schedules. Cut minutes from one process and reclaim thousands of labor hours across the business. The Internet of Things doesn’t have to be overwhelming — a few key improvements can make a big difference.

Read the full “top ten” list for manufacturers here, and read more about how IoT can transform customer service and operations in the manufacturing industry.