Manufacturing Change: IoT and the Power of Data

For people who are passionate about the Internet of Things—and for those who are just starting to catch the excitement, too—September started off especially strong, with great IoT buzz, demos, technical sessions, and collaborations at the Intel Developer Forum. (Want to see the highlights? Watch this video.) I spend a lot of my time focusing on how IoT is changing the manufacturing sector, but I’m also fascinated by the breakthrough implementations that Intel technology is driving and supporting for market-ready IoT solutions in healthcare, retail, smart homes and buildings, and more.

Sometimes I wish I could be in more than one place at a time. For example, while many of us were attending IDF14, others gathered at the IMTS 2014 Conference in Chicago. This week, I am back in San Francisco, where I am honored to be a panelist at the National Association of Manufacturers D.A.T.A. Center event.

See what I mean about September?

NAM was founded in 1895—at the height of what we might want to start calling the first industrial revolution—and is now the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector. (Check out their website—lots of interesting info and ways to get involved, if you’re interested.)

As a panelist, I was asked to talk about Intel’s perspective on the impact technology is having in manufacturing. Obviously, it’s a topic near and dear to my heart, and I especially appreciate NAM’s viewpoint that “manufacturers are the most sophisticated companies in the world.”

Innovation in the industrial and manufacturing markets is accelerating quickly, and Intel is helping to push the envelope as we develop, implement, and refine the use of automation technology in manufacturing. As the world’s population grows in the next fifteen years—and especially as worldwide consumption grows—the ability for manufacturers to produce goods efficiently will become even more important. Internet of Things implementations in industry promise to be at the heart of impactful solutions, from reducing labor costs and pollution issues to increasing safety and profitability.

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Not surprisingly, some of our most exciting and valuable work is being done right in our own backyard. Over the past decade, we have been using IoT at Intel to optimize our own manufacturing processes. As a world leader in semiconductor manufacturing, Intel has ahead-of-the-curve experience in terms of process technology and manufacturing capabilities; in fact, acquiring data from “things” and making use of that data has been at play at Intel for many years.

Here are two examples of how IoT is paying dividends for us:

Tracking and Solving. Intel tracks every single chip we make—from when the wafer is cut to when the product is in the supply chain in our distribution channels. If there is ever an issue, we can track the history of any single chip. By knowing exactly which tool tested the chip and which operator was running that tool, we can very quickly find the root cause of the problem.

Reducing Product Test Times. Every Intel® chip produced undergoes a thorough quality check involving a complex series of tests. Intel found that by using historical information gathered during manufacturing, the number of tests required could be reduced, resulting in decreased test time. Implemented as a proof of concept, this solution avoided test costs of $3 million in 2012 for one series of Intel® Core™ processors. Extending this solution to more products, we expect to realize an additional $30 million in cost avoidance.1

As Intel continues to create and deliver IoT solutions for the industrial sector, we are thoughtfully and consistently focused on solving for four key challenges inherent in achieving our goals:

  • Connectivity: Streamline the connection of legacy infrastructures with new things to securely and reliably interoperate across the enterprise.
  • Security and Privacy: Rely on a holistic solution that offers tight integration of both hardware-assisted and software security and services to safeguard critical data.
  • Interoperability and Standards: Work with industry leaders in organizations such as the Open Interconnect Consortium to ensure the interoperability of the more than thirty billion “things” projected to come online by 2020.
  • Ecosystem: Continue to architect innovations within an ecosystem that is accelerating big data analytics innovation, optimized on scalable Intel® architecture.

Want to learn more? Read about Intel’s industrial solutions for IoT, and contact me on Twitter (@Intel_Shahram) if you have any questions or additional insights. Plus, you can join the Intel IoT conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

1. Source: “2012-13 Intel IT Annual Report,” http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/it-management/intel-it-best-practices/intel-it-annual-performance-report-2012-13.html

Shahram Mehraban

About Shahram Mehraban

Global Head of Energy & Industrial Segments, Intelligent Systems Group INTEL CORPORATION Mehraban currently leads a team of marketing engineers and platform architects to drive solution-centric product innovation in Intel's embedded energy and industrial businesses. In this role he is responsible for setting research directions, conducting comparative qualitative and quantitative research globally, leading new product and solution strategy and definition for Intel in the power and automation industries. Prior to joining Intel in 2000, he held a number of technical marketing and business development roles at Trillium, Glenayre, Nokia and Motorola. Mehraban received his Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from University of British Columbia in 1992 and Master's degree in Business Administration from University of Victoria in 1995. He is a self-proclaimed tech enthusiast and early adopter of all types of consumer electronics. He likes to run and watch European soccer on the weekends. Continue the conversation on Twitter, @Intel_Shahram

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