Next to AI (Artificial Intelligence) and blockchain (cryptographic linking of datasets) the IoT (Internet of Things) constitutes another key technology that sustainably revolutionises our IT and increasingly also our Cloud-based working environments. The number of independent, non-networked systems in industry is constantly decreasing whilst the number of smart sensors and interlinked devices is on the rise. The Internet of Things links software applications, machinery/equipment, tools and workpieces to create an integrated, increasingly autonomous system. Sensors, portals and external systems automatically exchange information, providing an important basis for the control of manufacturing processes in value-adding networks.
Smart ERP worlds and intelligent networking
IoT increasingly the driver of ERP software generation switch in medium-sized companies
IoT increasingly a key technology in the manufacturing industry
A recent survey by IDG Research “Internet of Things 2019/2020” conducted among 444 decision makers in the DACH region reveals a consistent rise in investments in IoT systems, the number of IoT projects and the success rate of IoT strategies. IoT technologies have clearly gained prominence, especially in medium-sized and large companies: The number of implemented IoT projects had more than doubled on the previous year. 86 percent of companies considered the Internet of Things as a highly relevant building block for further corporate development – an increase of 25 percent on the previous year.
] ERP software as the central technology platform for IoT systems
Since ERP software is where all important data converge, it is also here where all upstream and downstream company processes will be centrally controlled. No surprise therefore that ever more companies in the manufacturing industry with ERP systems based on outdated technologies are also now in the course of Cloud transformations fundamentally modernising their IT landscape. Shortlisting will now bring especially those technological platforms to the fore that can interlink sensors/actuators/machine parks/business intelligence/analytics systems, collaboration and ERP software to thereby create the basis for a future-proof IoT and mobile and Cloud strategies. Not only will the ERP system constitute the central building block for the automated IoT environment but it will also be the central distributor of real-time data needed to master, aggregate, evaluate and prepare the increasing volumes of data needed to achieve corporate goals.
IoT environment at the edge of the network: Edge Computing
Upstream Cloud platforms (Multi-clouds) are particularly suited for the integration of various data sources and to process, filter and consolidate most of the IoT network data volumes, thereby relieving the ERP system by providing already prepared data. Cloud capability of ERP software is thus particularly significant in IoT projects.
As opposed to Cloud computing, so-called Edge Computing will store and process data at the edges of a network, closer to the data sources. This is of particular advantage to companies with decentralised manufacturing locations, since the generated mass data volumes can now be processed at origin, reliably and eco-friendly and without encumbering the central Cloud based network.
IoT integration – Interaction of sensor data and ERP software
Integration the IoT into the VlexPlus ERP software will create the basis for digitisation and automation of numerous processes and for the implementation of self-organising production units. Sensor data from Industry 4.0 and IoT environments will offer the necessary information required for predictive maintenance, product development and the development of new business models. Many companies have already opted for Big Data as the prerequisite to rendering the steady increase of data volumes – be it from smart IoT devices or other systems – analysable and useful. Sensor data analysis will allow manufacturing companies to implement measures towards optimisation of maintenance schedules, logistics processes, service levels and other workflows.
The VlexPlus IoT platform for end-to-end communication
The VlexPlus ERP software technology framework comprises a pioneering IoT platform with open API interface based on many compatible standards and protocols that will offer companies in industry simple, flexibly scalable and reliable interlinking of physical objects such as machinery or other systems. The Cloud-based IoT platform may be used to define processes, manage and control remote IoT devices and collect and prepare data for decision-making processes in real-time. Even massive data volumes (Big Data) may be effortlessly stored, analysed and processed via the IoT platform. The IoT gateway hub will transmit data about specific events to the VlexPlus ERP software IoT platform needed to monitor SLAs (Service Level Agreements), generate tickets for service technicians or to share device protocols for mobile data visualisation, via data goggles, for instance. Companies will, in particular, benefit by the smooth integration of data and interconnected workflow components in cases where IoT platform and ERP software are from one source, not based on separate systems.
IoT fields of application
The field of IoT system applications ranges from automatic resource and material ordering via data goggles for service and installation processes and up to fully integrated IoT environments with complex workflow controls for automation and self-monitoring. Combined with RFID technologies, order processing may be fully mapped and monitored via the supply chain in the ERP system. Even tools and other requisite devices and operating resources may be linked to orders and machines to ensure reliable planning and smooth resource management even beyond production processes.
Production processes could directly be diverted to alternative production lines in the event that a machine or operating device signals a defect or request for maintenance. The ERP system will evaluate the criticality of an event, arrange for service technicians or spare parts as needed and finally record servicing or maintenance times. The process will then also be fully documented including real-time operating data to support quality assurance across all sectors. Further areas of application of IoT systems includes asset tracking (Track & Trace) along the supply chain, digitisation of production lines by means of retrofits, digitisation of supply chains and extension of the range on offer based on new service models.
IoT projects with VlexPlus ERP software
Our focus has in recent years been on the ongoing development of our product and service portfolio and especially on the challenges industrial companies are facing in the light of Industry 4.0, multi-clouds and the Internet of Things, growing demands for mobility and the workplace of the future.
VLEXsoftware+consulting gmbh currently covers digital processes along virtually the entire value-added chain, basing its business logic on one of the most dynamic technology frameworks in the ERP market. Our customers therefore stand to benefit not only from high scalability and flexibility in the design and control of their data clouds but also from the high security of their investment.
Why not avail yourself of the opportunity of consulting our IoT experts about the advantages our IoT platform can offer and ask for a demonstration how IoT will prepare your company, production and flow control for the age of digital Industry 4.0.
Take the opportunity to let our IoT experts advise you on the possibilities of our IoT platform and show you how to make your company, your production and your process control fit for the digital industry 4.0 age with IoT.