In recent years, we have had an almost explosive increase in the use of IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). But unlike many other industries, which have really benefited from new digital technology, many industrial companies are lagging behind.

– Almost everyone talks about digital transformation and the Internet of Things, but it seems that there is often a fairly long way from words to action, says Helge Kjeilen thoughtfully. Kjeilen is chair of the board of Digitread and Digitread Connect, and he has extensive experience from several technology companies that he has been involved in starting. He is passionate about Norwegian industry using digital technology to be able to work smarter and be better equipped in the global competition.

– It does not have to be so difficult to get started and get results quickly, but the industry must start now, otherwise they risk being left at the station when the train leaves, he warns. Many people spend a lot of time and unnecessary effort on making plans and strategies, but struggle to reach goals. Our approach is to make step-by-step changes, learn along the way and let technology drive the possibilities. Then the decisions tend to be more considered and the end result better, Kjeilen explains.

Great value in using existing data
Factories and production facilities have a lot of industrial equipment that generates data, but the data cannot necessarily be utilized. Instead, they end up in document-oriented solutions and then the digital thread is broken. Used in another way, such data can simplify everyday work and improve efficiency without the investment to get started having to be particularly large.

Norderwerft in Hamburg had problems with the air compressors getting too hot and switching off without warning. This led to the operation of the yard being stopped. The yard therefore wanted a solution where they were given early notice so that they could start up the second compressor well before the first one shut down, so that the operation at the yard was not affected. The compressors were already equipped with sensors that showed temperature, pressure and capacity utilization, but the data were only presented on the compressor itself. With Digitread Connect’s help, the yard has now gained access to operating data from the compressors via an app on the phone, named «Yard Manager», which Digitread Connect has developed for them.

– Many people believe that IoT projects are both costly and extensive, but they do not have to be. In this case, the compressors already generated data. With such a starting point, the road became short to make the data available and present in an app that the customer can use quickly. The value for the customer became a simpler everyday life and the solution also makes it easier for them to predict the necessary maintenance, Kjeilen emphasizes.

– Good IoT solutions simply give “old” equipment a new and better life, says Kjeilen, and adds that such an approach is in line with the spirit of the times and a good way of thinking about the environment.

Calls for digital culture and a will to change
Today, a number of industrial components are produced that are IIoT-ready. They emit condition data such as temperature or pressure, and many of them can be controlled remotely. In production facilities, data is also generated from already existing components. To take advantage of all this data, it must be collected, structured and presented in such a way that it provides added value in the form of increased control, higher efficiency or greater degree of predictability combined with easy accessibility on all surfaces.

– The technology is there and the expertise to create such solutions already exists, but often companies lack the culture and will to change to get started. Therefore, the industry needs a technological push to move forward, and we can help them with that, says Kjeilen.

Choose a solid partner with cutting-edge expertise
There are examples of companies that have tried to build their own IIoT solutions, some have probably succeeded, but far from all. Some quickly acknowledged that they would not reach their goals, others spent many years wasting both time and resources before contacting a provider of IIoT solutions for help.

– The industrial companies should not position themselves as having to acquire a lot of new knowledge about how the underlying systems work. It only steals valuable expertise and can go beyond their own core business. They should rather contact a supplier who has cutting-edge expertise in IIoT solutions. We can help companies even before they have reached the decision-making phase, and are happy to develop a simple solution that they can start with. Sometimes we just spend days developing such a first solution. Then we build it out step by step with them, he says.

– We have a dynamic approach to development and use the application itself as a communication platform with the customer. That way, everyone immediately sees how the changes will be in real life and then we both avoid misunderstandings and avoid wasting time on making difficult specifications.

Robust infrastructure and solution-oriented employees
Digitread Connect bases its solutions on cloud-based solutions which, together with a Low-Code platform, allow data to be retrieved from almost all possible data sources and therefore ensure seamless integrations. The cloud solution also contains tools that help to refine the data so that it is presented to customers in a simple and explanatory way, whether it is on a dashboard or in an app on the phone. The solutions are also designed to be easy to scale, both in terms of functionality, number of users and geography. So if the business expands and the needs grow, the solution can be expanded in step with the business in a smooth way.

– Success with digitalisation is not about technology alone, it is at least as much about finding good solutions and about how people collaborate. That is why I am very proud of our employees who of course have all the technical expertise and competence needed, but who are also very responsive to customers’ wishes, are solution-oriented, curious and inspired by finding the very best solutions, concludes Kjeilen.

PUBLISHED: June 02nd 2021