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Q&A: IoT assets and virtual reality

The world of connected devices in the Internet of Things is showing no signs of slowing in a range of industries, from transport to retail to manufacturing.

To delve a bit deeper into the complexities of IoT assets, we spoke to Gordon Muehl, VP of Industrial Internet at Infosys. The full Q&A can be found below.

  1. How would you define an IoT asset?

An IoT asset is a piece of machinery, or asset which is enabled by a vendor to connect to the internet to drive efficiency. If you look at the wider industrial market, there’s a lot of investment in every kind of assets across complex machinery, from factory floors to aeroplanes.

Take a modern aeroplane’s landing gear as an example of a key asset. Once connected to the internet, data can be efficiently and accurately collected from the unit to be analysed by engineers. This enables them to ensure that the landing gear, or ‘asset’ is operating to maximum efficiency. When connected to the internet, the asset’s data can be easily shared to gain insight across operations without being limited by position or an engineer’s ability to physically access the unit.

  1. How important is asset efficiency?

Any asset running in industry consumes a lot of energy and resources. Billions of pounds are spent every year on physically operating sites like power stations and refineries. Faced with those costs, there’s a natural pressure to look for efficiencies.

An efficiency improvement of only 5 -10 per cent can equate to savings of millions of pounds. Through more efficient use of different assets throughout the organisation, real savings can be made. For example, we’ve seen an aluminium plant company reduce their energy consumption by 10 per cent, and benefit from an 8 per cent increase in throughput at the same time.

  1. What is your vision of the UK in this space? (IoT/M2M asset management)

If you compare the UK with France and Germany, we see in Germany that IoT and asset management is a priority for the government and boardrooms throughout the country.

To keep up with burgeoning technologies, there needs to be top down change involving everyone from governments to industry bodies and trade unions.

The UK needs to make IoT and M2M asset management a higher priority if it wants to keep pace with industrial manufacturing. Organisations need to pull in the same direction, as the UK is in danger of falling behind other European countries, let alone the success being seen in Chinese markets.

  1. How can augmented virtual reality revolutionise industrial spaces?

People have been developing virtual reality for some 20 years. What’s different now, is that cheap and reliable devices are now available to industry from the consumer space. We’re familiar with augmented reality devices like Google Glass and speech recognition with Siri. Suddenly we can visualise adoption throughout industry.

In terms of revolutionising the industrial space, I don’t think it will. It will certainly help with maintenance processes for example, but is destined to have a larger impact in healthcare.

Designers have already been using virtual reality for some time, essentially it’s not that new and won’t revolutionise industries.

Image Credit: Shutterstock / everything possible