The Industrial Internet of Things and the Global Power Industry

The Implications of Two Technologies and How They Merge for Next-Generation Intelligence

Undoubtedly, as the world becomes more complex and interconnected, digitization and technological innovations are vital components of the global power future. The power industry’s digital transformation is not merely developing alongside the industry, it is infiltrating it—transforming the very fabric of how the industry will operate. The IIoT has proven to be a major facet of this transformation.

However, while the age of IIoT ushers in new solutions, remedies, and merging of technologies, new questions arise. How does IIoT technology operate within the power industry in order to provide a single purpose? How exactly does IIoT make a lasting difference in how power is both generated and transmitted?

While the transcendent effects of IIoT within the global power industry are already surfacing, it is expected that, as time goes on and technology continues to evolve, the impact of the IIoT within the global power industry could be more powerful than ever anticipated.

How IIoT Works In Conjunction with the Power Industry

To fully understand the way the IIoT merges new technologies with the global power industry, it is vital to understand IIoT for what it is—a cross-industry internet of things created purposefully to serve areas such as logistics, oil and gas, transportation, utilities, mining, metals, aviation, power, and much more. IIoT technologies swing the door of automation, technology, and efficiency wide open, allowing industries of all types the accessibility, industrial control, and transformation needed to evolve.

Through the IIoT, next-generation technologies like big data, edge intelligence, fourth-generation sensors, and more, are brought to the table. With these advanced technologies, the global power industry is better able to control, monitor, analyze, and utilize the data it has collected to make intelligent choices, automate, and evolve its processes.

This new intelligence, brought about by IIoT’s ability to enable cutting-edge technology, allows for greater capabilities in the digital capacity (such as maintenance and predictive analysis) as well as automation in operation. In reality, the IIoT and its access to better, more-advanced technology allows the global power industry to evolve and to make its current technology more advanced, efficient, and modern.

How IIoT Will Affect the Ways Power is Both Generated and Transmitted

There are many specific technical and maintenance challenges associated with utilities with assets in power generation, such as line losses and operation of legacy assets. However, power utilities face many of the same challenges associated with any type of production, and continuity in challenges also manifests itself within different spheres of the power industry itself. For example, the logistical challenges with respect to renewable power versus conventional power are different, but, overall, they both deal with overlapping challenges, such as maintenance, operation, cybersecurity issues, and more. These challenges, faced by nearly every type of utility, are where IIoT can make its greatest impact.

For example, Caterpillar, an industry leader in IIoT technologies, was able to increase efficiency and profitability by employing IIoT and augmented reality applications to help its machine operators function with at-a-glance reviews of their systems, warehouses, and more. Once implemented, IIoT innovations were estimated to save the company millions.

Even though IIoT can make a broad impact on many different types of utilities, it does have specific implications for power plants. IIoT technology monitors movements, processes, and logistics. Because of this monitoring ability, better data can be constructed to help design artificial intelligence (AI) that leads to greater efficiency and increases capacity. Further, IIoT enables predictive technology to become an integral part of a plant. This predictive technology enables plants to predict future consumption levels, market trends, and production capabilities, all resulting in increased efficiency and decreased waste.

Overall, IIoT can allow plants to transmit and generate power more efficiently through the cutting-edge technology it provides, thereby eliminating wasted funds, resources, and energies. The IIoT has already been established as an integral piece of the global power industry. The only question now is—what’s next?

Daniel Browning is the business development coordinator at DO Supply Inc. In his spare time, he writes about automation, AI, technology, the IIoT, and more.