- 6 December 2017
The Internet of Things (IoT) — or the global system of wirelessly interconnected devices — has emerged as an essential driver of global industry. More than five million new devices are connected each day; by 2020, analysts forecast that nearly 21 billion devices will be connected online. The Aerospace and Defense industry was an early adopter of IoT, and has already demonstrated the benefits and the necessity of such technology.
How has the digital transformation arisen in A&D? what specific and new benefits does it provide, and how does the industry evolve from here?
Keeping it in Real-Time
IoT technology has allowed enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to reach their maximum potential. Supply chain transparency and data quality have been greatly improved due to this, and efficiency has also grown thanks to the automated data ERP provides.
Inside the factory, IoT allows more and more devices to communicate with one another, increasing autonomy. By constantly reporting their status, IoT devices circumvent the need for constant oversight and provide managers with real-time information. Open communication among systems from all levels through the executive suite down to the factory floor will benefit from IoT- and ERP-enhanced lean principles.
The Human Element
While advanced technology is conventionally thought to progressively minimize the work of actual humans, this isn’t entirely true. As IoT devices communicate systemic data, managers have more opportunities to step in and address time-sensitive issues that might have gone unaddressed otherwise. On the other end of the provider-consumer spectrum, customer service has improved as product reliability and preventive maintenance increase, reducing the likelihood that consumers look to a competitor to satisfy their needs.
Production sites are indeed changing, but they are far from the dystopian vision of robots fully replacing the requirement of human labor. Instead, the production line is becoming humanized with new modes of working. Some novel suggestions include smart glasses and 3D visualization to replace long training sessions; others offer more conventional ideas for mobile devices to provide instructions and data on-the-fly for maintenance or automation purposes. Nonetheless, workers will have to adjust as customer-centered models, like web portals and CRM systems, connect directly to product lifecycle management and manufacturing execution systems in order to create new, intelligent processes.
Aircraft are ripe for further innovations and improvements via IoT technologies, including performance-based logistics, equipment reliability strategizing, real-time maintenance and prognostic/detection abilities, and real-time response to act on those disruptions. In an industry where mechanical failure can mean the loss of life, real-time monitoring can detect problems before they arise, reducing downtime and boosting safety. Predictive analytics and better risk analyses also speed up decision making, saving resources.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is shifting to cloud-based solutions to reduce costs and increase the amount of information that can be shared. As IoT and ERP systems interface to create new “system[s] of intelligence,” their modality and mobility creates more convenient protocols for everyone from supply chain managers to the supervisor on the factory floor. These paths to data migration and modernization show that ERP systems, software-as-a-service, and system-as-a-service offerings, alongside continued IoT growth, continue to push A&D into new realms.
Challenges include integrating new cloud computing with older, legacy systems, guarding systems against cyber threats and hacking attempts, and ensuring reliability. Cybersecurity officials employing risk assessments and routine penetration testing (among other security techniques) are paramount to the sustained growth and functional utility of IoT and ERP systems. Nonetheless, industry leaders, tech giants, and government officials are all enthused by the potential the future offers Iot and ERP.
Cre8tive Technology & Design specializes in implementing ERP solutions. Get in touch with us today to find out how we can help your organization make sure you are harnessing these exciting new opportunities.