Maintenance Q&As

IoT use Cases (Internet of Things) for Commercial and Industrial Business

Answered October 10 2019

Internet of Things technology is becoming increasingly prevalent throughout homes and businesses alike. Industrial settings are using interconnected devices in numerous applications, including those described below.

Smartphone photographing a fire - demonstrating the use of IoT

1. Predictive maintenance

One major application of IoT technology in facilities has been in predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance (PDM) uses various sensors, cameras, and other devices to collect real-time data from facility equipment. That data is transmitted to a central software system, which analyzes the data and predicts future issues.

The advantages of IoT in PdM include streamlined maintenance processes, improved equipment health, and fewer unplanned production downtimes. It offers improved cost savings over time-based preventive maintenance since maintenance work is only performed on an as-needed basis.

Tip: Implementing PdM with IoT sensors offer significant cost savings, but make sure to balance those savings against the initial investment. It’s best to start with your most critical assets, then expand from there.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Healthcare
  • Fleet management
  • Oil and gas
  • Food and beverage
  • Power and energy

2. Sensors and metering

Aside from predictive maintenance, IoT enables companies to keep a closer eye on the performance of their equipment. Meters and sensors send constant information around the clock to a centralized system, allowing technicians, operators, and other personnel to keep a close eye on their operations.

For example, in a food processing plant, temperature control is a major priority. Smart meters send consistent readings on temperature controlled areas and assets, allowing operators to make sure they stay at acceptable levels. If temperatures move outside established boundaries, personnel will be notified instantly.

Another example involves refueling stations. Smart sensors can be used to monitor fuel levels and consumption, all while measuring the quality of the fuel in each tank. If moisture levels or contaminants reach certain levels, sensors alert operations and maintenance crews to the need for cleaning and/or repairs.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Restaurants and hospitality
  • Agriculture and farming
  • Healthcare
  • Oil and gas
  • Home and vehicle
  • Food processing and packing
  • Retail
  • Fleet management

3. Building management

Buildings rely on energy to function, and IoT devices play a key role in keeping an eye on that energy usage. They also help maintain security and safety.

Smart meters are frequently used in managing heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) systems in buildings. They not only offer readings on the total energy used by a system, but also when that energy is used, allowing building managers to plan energy usage based on the actual needs of the facility.

Many devices also allow facility managers to establish specific limits on when heating and cooling systems should run, how much heating and cooling is needed at any given time, etc. The end result is better energy efficiency and lower building management costs.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Offices and commercial buildings
  • Government
  • Education
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Churches and places of worship
  • Restaurants and hospitality
  • Oil and gas
  • Property management

4. Mileage tracking

Any organization that has its own fleet vehicles can benefit from mileage tracking. Vehicles need specific types of maintenance at specific intervals, and mileage trackers can be used to trigger maintenance work orders whenever specific thresholds are reached. Data is updated in real time and sent to the organization’s central software system, allowing personnel to keep an eye on each vehicle.

This way, each of the following tasks can be completed on time:

  • Oil changes
  • Filter changes
  • Fluid level checks and other inspections
  • Battery checks and replacements
  • Brake pad repair and replacement
  • Mechanical upkeep

By performing each of these tasks at the right mileage count, companies can keep their vehicles in top working condition for longer.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Fleet management
  • Shipping
  • Transportation services
  • Government
  • Law enforcement and public safety
  • Education

5. Fleet tracking

Mileage tracking is just one aspect of fleet management. A multitude of other metrics should be closely monitored in order to keep a fleet operating in good condition and at minimal cost.

Among these metrics are:

  • Driver behaviors
  • Vehicle location
  • Fuel levels and usage
  • Engine condition and performance

This data allows fleet managers to keep watch over the condition of each vehicle in real time and monitor driver behaviors, including braking, speeding, routes taken, and so forth. It aids in condition monitoring, allowing companies to keep their vehicles in peak operating shape.

It also helps fleets meet deadlines more easily. For instance, if a truck has to stop somewhere unexpectedly due to mechanical problems, IoT technology makes it easy to schedule a different truck to continue the route.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Fleet management
  • Shipping
  • Public transportation
  • Public safety and law enforcement
  • Government
  • Education

6. Asset tracking

Manufacturers and other industries know the importance of keeping a close eye on their key assets, particularly mobile assets. The location and status of vehicles, products, and other assets can be closely monitored through the use of IoT technology such as GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth tech.

By using real-time tracking on key assets, companies are better able to improve logistical planning, supply chain management, and quality control. Vehicles, containers, and so forth can all be closely monitored to make sure they arrive at their destinations intact and on time.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Manufacturing
  • Shipping and hauling
  • Food and beverage
  • Oil and gas
  • Fleet management
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Retail

7. Inventory management

Any organization that has to manage inventory can benefit from applying IoT technology to their inventory and supply chain management processes. For instance, using a barcode system to give each item an RFID tag can help an organization track the movements of product and tools around their facility. Whenever an item is scanned, that data is sent to the cloud for easy access and analysis.

With this technology, organizations are better able to track down lost inventory, replenish supplies, and make needed materials more readily accessible.

Tip: A well developed barcode system is central to implementing IoT into your inventory management processes.

Industries using this IoT tech

  • Manufacturing
  • Shipping and hauling
  • Retail
  • Food and beverage
  • Warehousing and storage
  • Construction

Pair IoT technology with a world class CMMS

In order to be truly useful, the data provided through IoT technology needs to be accessible. For maintenance teams, important data on assets, workflow processes, and inventory can be accessed through a CMMS. Pairing IoT with a CMMS—such as UpKeep—helps facilitate the following:

Sensor integration

A CMMS acts as an excellent central system for sensor data from each asset. Data streamed from condition monitoring sensors can be examined over time, analyzed, and used to trigger PdM work orders automatically.

Asset management

Tracking assets is easy with the use of CMMS software. Keep an eye on meter readings, monitor the status of individual assets, and track maintenance tasks all from one centralized system.

Inventory management

When used to manage your MRO inventory, your CMMS will give you quick access to stock counts on individual replacement parts. It also makes it easy for maintenance technicians to get the parts and materials they need to complete work orders, and it can even be used to implement barcoding for inventory items.

Facility management

Whether you’re managing a factory, a hospital, a gym, or any other facility, a CMMS can help you track data from numerous IoT devices and prioritize facility maintenance tasks. Take advantage of real-time insights to inform maintenance planning and cut down operational costs.

Tip: For more on how UpKeep can be used with IoT devices in your facility, schedule a demo!

Key Takeaway

In conclusion, IoT technology has numerous applications in a wide variety of industries. Various tools, such as a CMMS, can supplement the use of this technology to streamline your operations, inventory management, and maintenance processes.

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