"Big data" and the "Internet of Things" have the power to transform all industries. Most of the buzz in this sector is around home automation and connected cars, two spheres which are easy to understand for a layperson and directly applicable to all of our everyday lives. The fundamental concept of collecting data via sensors and deriving insights from it will transform every industry, and the industrial sector has many opportunities for optimising processes with data-driven insights.
 

 
Our industrial division at Pickles is keenly interested in developments that leverage data to improve efficiency and increase the useful life of equipment. This recent Wall Street Journal article on the evolution of data services from basic telematics to the integration of multiple data sources to drive business decisions caught our attention. 
 
The article specifically covers how Caterpillar uses data in mining operations, but the processes are applicable across additional industrial uses as long as sensors are deployed to collect the relevant information. As Caterpillar's director of Internet of Things and channel solutions told the WSJ, "The data is as important as the machine providing it." These solutions focus on financial, operational and safety goals. For example, if a construction team can work optimally during daylight hours, they should finish work faster - resulting in lower expenses of overtime pay and fewer worker injuries due to low visibility in dusk or evening hours. 
 
The right data collection can also keep machines in better working order, resulting in longer service life and higher residual values when they are sold. Sensors can alert to problems like temporary overheating or clogged filters, recommending preventative maintenance to reduce breakdowns.
 
The observation that this type of knowledge has a different value for different customers and at different points in time is also a keen one. Larger, more complex organizations may have a higher need for efficiency, but more redundancy in equipment and tolerance for downtime. One thing is for certain - there will, in the near term, be no shortage of available industrial data for companies to leverage. It will be critical to understand on which parts of your business this data can have a positive impact, so that it can be leveraged accordingly.
 
With major sales coming soon, watch this space to find out more.

24 Jul