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Inside Industrial IoT: Connectivity Tech and Partnerships Enable Business Opportunity | Cypress Semiconductor

Inside Industrial IoT: Connectivity Tech and Partnerships Enable Business Opportunity

There’s plenty of buzz around the Internet of Things (IoT), those connected consumer devices that promise to do everything from track your workout to remotely set your home thermostat via a smartphone app.

But a variation of IoT – an industrial and commercial version that’s targeted at companies rather than consumers – is starting to gain some traction. We’re talking about big industries – oil and gas, agriculture, transportation, medical, retail, hotels, restaurants, energy or manufacturing — that could potentially realize some hefty savings and major efficiency improvements.

By applying low-cost sensor and connectivity technologies, factory operators, utility-monitoring teams or inventory managers would be able to analyze valuable data collected from the many networked “things” that are part of their operations cycles.

Broadcom, with its industry-leading portfolio of low-cost, low-power, standards-based wireless connectivity and sensor technologies, is poised to be a key enabler of industrial and commercial IoT. The company first got into the IoT market in 2011 with its WICED™ platform.

While it has helped developers prototype and test their own low-cost, out-of-the-box wirelessly connected products, Broadcom sees significant IoT market opportunity in enabling scalable access for the industrial and commercial sectors.

Business Impact

The value proposition for industrial and commercial IoT is real and compelling. While the number of consumer IoT products is growing, the projected business impact of the industrial and commercial IoT is in full swing. McKinsey Global Institute sees the worldwide market opportunity for the global industrial IoT ecosystem soaring into the double-digit trillions of dollars over the next few years.

When applied skillfully to critical business operations, industrial IoT will help companies work smarter, instead of harder by tying together a number of tech trends, including Big Data analytics, cloud-based software, remote monitoring and low-cost storage.

Here’s what that looks like: Automation, monitoring and wireless connectivity applied thoughtfully to enterprise operations has the potential to reduce maintenance costs, lessen environmental footprint, gain workforce productivity, improve safety outcomes and enable the rollout of new products and services tied to logistics and replenishment.

Some consumers might be familiar with the benefits of the smart grid for monitoring electricity flowing to their homes. That same concept can be applied in industrial settings – a large lighting system in a busy warehouse, for example. By installing networked controls that can adjust as occupancy and even local weather patterns fluctuate, businesses can better monitor and reduce their energy consumption.

Likewise, a factory that installs vibration sensors on its motors and pumps would be able to detect a problem before something breaks and avoid a costly shutdown. In healthcare, where costs continue to rise, Bluetooth technology and sensors are already being put to use to track drugs in hospitals and to ensure they are being administered to patients correctly.

Building a Partner Ecosystem

Industry players such as Broadcom know that successful adoption of industrial IoT requires a rich network of partners to help companies put together all the pieces of the puzzle. From board makers who can integrate wireless radios, to developers who can write software applications and to service providers who connect things to mobile devices and the cloud, IoT requires team effort.

For industrial and commercial customers, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, some may want to start with a Wi-Fi-enabled chipset on a board and add their own custom software, while others might want something that has hardware and software together. Still others might require specialized devices and services that have specific security features or can meet quality guarantees in extreme environments.

In order to meet the needs all of the players in industrial IoT, interoperability needs to be top priority. Already, there are organizations working toward industry-wide standards that aim to unify the IoT, including the Industrial Internet Consortium.

Broadcom is not only helping to drive the connectivity piece of the puzzle but also enable the ecosystem of suppliers, integrators and service providers that can make industrial IoT so much bigger than just a collection of disparate, networked “things.”

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