At IMTS, the IIoT Is Clearly at Hand

IMTS is a prime example of how the IIoT and digitalization have changed manufacturing.


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Perhaps the most important product at IMTS is the one most visitors already have in their hands or in their pockets—a smart phone or other mobile device. That is because this mobile device is connected to the internet, and so are a great many of the machines, machine accessories, measuring devices, software systems and other equipment generating data from the show floor. This pervasive, web-enabled connectedness is the so-called Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IMTS is a prime example of how the IIoT and digitalization have changed the manufacturing industry. 

Of course, the real value of collecting and sharing data lies in that it ultimately reaches someone who can use it to take action or make a decision. Whatever the circumstances, taking the right action at the right time is the smart thing to do. In a nutshell, this is what “smart manufacturing” is—using data shared on a network to get desired results when it counts. Clearly, the one product most likely to link critical action with the authorized and responsible agent will be some sort of internet-enabled device. Your smart phone or tablet is what brings the world of the IIoT to life.

This simple conceptual framework is the key to understanding and evaluating the IIoT, Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing and digitalized products of all sorts on display at IMTS. Does the product represent a new way to generate data, analyze data, deliver data or act on data? It is important to explore how the product fits into this flow. Putting new technology into this overarching context will help you assess its significance and determine your readiness to benefit from it.

Many buying teams at IMTS include a person with an information technology (IT) background or responsibility. Consider this, though: anyone at IMTS with a smart phone or tablet is in IT.