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December 2015, Volume 3, Number 6

Manufacturing IoT takes the lead on connecting devices

For decades, the most advanced manufacturers have been outfitting their plants and warehouses with the kinds of networked sensors now being hyped as the Internet of Things. But those systems were rarely networked via the Internet Protocol -- the minimum definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) -- and sensor data was often discarded, much less monetized through big data analytics. Companies wanting to invest in manufacturing IoT technologies can build on that foundation of sensors. But before they do, manufacturers must first decide which of the three main applications of the industrial IoT -- supply chains, factories or products -- to focus on. Each one requires "very different thought processes," according to Bill McBeath, an analyst at ChainLink Research. Supply-chain deployments are showing up frequently in the trucking industry, where logistics platform providers such as Descartes have long tapped telematics and GPS to optimize routes. "We see more and more people taking advantage of the sensors that are already in the ...

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