How Internet of things ( IoT ) are relevant to manufacturing space is a widely debated topic. As a goal of IoT tries to deploy vast network of sensors, actuators and connect them with wire or wirelessly leveraging internet protocol. If you look at this basic goal or need then its obvious that there is major scope in manufacturing IT domain. Looking at the trends in manufacturing for two decades or so there is tremendous increase in usage of automation technologies or robotics. At larger context primarily all these IP enabled equipment’s and systems need to be integrated interms of data and hardware with larger SAP system. Its a interesting way to utilize SAP Hana in a cost effective way for real time manufacturing data. I am proposing to utilize SAP Hana for collection and analysis of real time manufacturing data and integrate the same with enterprise level SAP platform. I am sure seasoned enterprise architects in manufacturing environment can put more light from technical perspective to make this solution work.
Even with increasing amounts of automation, robotics and smart machines that will heavily influence production in the next 10 years, human interface or interaction can’t be denied. Obviously we learnt that there is no full proof replacement to operator competency but definitely high end technology & related data usage will reduce the human dependency to some extent. In new age fast paced dynamics of market its important for manufacturers to adopt their manufacturing, assembly lines to ever changing market requirements. Integrate their NPI ( New product initiatives) with supply chain via internet of things or with cloud. Here all realtime manufacturing and supply chain data can be stacked together and utilized in proper context using SAP HANA. For many manufacturing IT managers across companies, digitisation of their manufacturing space is becoming high significance goal which will enable tight integration of their supply chain with manufacturing facility. Digital business requires manufacturing operations to be connected to the front end of the business via supply chain. It also necessitates manufacturing operations to be optimized frequently to produce customized products at a higher pace and in a more sustainable fashion, also its important maintain higher service level across functions. The maturity of manufacturing operations within a company will influence success of automated data gathering & analysis or connected world ( IoT) of manufacturing. In mature businesses, where manufacturing operations are integrated with the end-to-end supply chain, these approaches will definitely take core place. At the same time manufacturers are concerned about too much technology change occurring at once. While, in some instances, they want upgradation of core technologies at asset level or related automation level, with infusion of cloud computing, big data and IoT. This calls for very complex and highly transaction oriented enterprise wide system where SAP Hana can be handy. Certain features of Hana like indexer performs session management, transaction management and efficient command processing can be leveraged for processing realtime manufacturing data generated by IT enabled devices and equipment across manufacturing. I am not that technical person but the architects specialised in manufacturing IT can define the most practical way of deploying this concept.
Currently applications for the Internet of Things are moving northwards but yet to move past enterprises. Worldwide increasingly IoT is in demand in areas such as energy, industry, utilities etc. E.g. as per report in China , M2M applications are mainly used in the electricity and transportation sectors, which account for 86.5% of all IoT centers available in China. The main hurdle against large-scale commercial use of the IoT is the lack of standards and a mature business model. For full scale deployment of IoT in any manufacturing environment it needs overall transformation of IT landscape. Any IoT Initiative or its architecture is divided into four layers i.e. sensor layer, communication layer and Management layer. So overall architecture calls for transformation right from machine level to enterprise level applications and related hardware. This kind of large-scale service deployment or transformation needs to be framed within standard framework. The industry chain for the Internet of Things is long and captures long list of module suppliers, device manufacturers, platform software providers, system integrator, network operators, and end users. Looking at this large scale transformational needs, any IoT initiative calls for context or business need for improved decision making by focusing investments on combining the information from internal and external data sources. Many a times Investments in enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) using SAP MII provide a low-risk, high-reward steppingstone for business analytics. Also its important to create an intranet of things inside the organization that integrates IT and OT within sites to drive new interaction and connectivity. This can become a good starting point of any large scale enterprise wide deployment of IoT project for manufacturers. Also with good enterprise level architecture which utilizes SAP Hana or similar solution in a cost effective way can be exploited to maximum benefit of end users for managing their enormous manufacturing and supply chain data.