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The industrial IoT takeover from farm to fridge

An exciting part of the industrial internet of things is its impact on a wide variety of businesses and sectors — some more unexpected than others. Take a large dairy, for example. Contrary to whatever outdated image this may conjure, today’s large commercial dairies are very sophisticated operations. Like other large enterprises witnessing IoT technologies transform their industries, dairies are looking to find ways to use the new technologies to enhance their production efficiency and profitability.

Many enterprises today are focusing primarily on obtaining maintenance insights from their data. Dairy people, on the other hand, understand that IIoT dramatically increases the criticality of data generated throughout the plant and look for an even higher level of value from their data. In fact, large dairies today are reimagining their supply chains entirely through the use of data and IIoT technologies.

What’s cloud got to do with it?

The combination of IIoT and the cloud provides great value to consumers by allowing them to access information from any device, wherever they are. Cloud computing, however, can be of even more value to enterprises. Unorganized data sits in disconnected silos where it might otherwise be rendered useless. The intersection between IIoT and the cloud is the pen that connects these dots, enabling greater visibility across the entire supply chain.

From farm to fridge

For dairy operations, the cloud and IIoT enable greater flexibility and agility for supply chain management and can thus drive greater profitability. For example, if consumers are purchasing an unusually high amount of ice cream near the end of summer, dairy farms may understandably want to focus their efforts on ice cream production. But if a cold front hits the following week, the demand for yogurt may overtake the demand for ice cream in the absence of warmer weather. These aren’t atypical situations for dairy farms, which must then rapidly adjust their allocations to accommodate these unexpected shifts. Real-time data and analytics enable the dairy to reallocate its milk for yogurt production and de-emphasize ice cream production in direct response to the demand, or lack thereof.

Moreover, dairies can quickly identify and respond to product quality problems at any point along the supply chain. These insights are critical to limiting any potential recall, which not only improves overall production, but also protects public safety and upholds the dairy’s valuable brand.

What’s next?

Access to real-time data along each step in the chain allows businesses to better anticipate consumer and supplier dynamics, while making critical decisions more proactively. As you can see, dairy production is an interesting IIoT use case that isn’t really talked about all that much, given that much of the value IIoT provides depends on processes occurring in the background.

And in a world of rapid and promising technology advancements, just imagine what might come next. With the adoption of more connected consumer refrigerators, for example, the opportunity to use data from these consumer devices could help better anticipate consumer demand in newer and even more powerful ways. The key will be building out an edge computing infrastructure that can function as agilely as the rest of the network. It has to be simple to deploy, highly reliable, easily serviceable (think remote servicing) and able to protect the data that is critical to making this “transparent” supply chain work.

All IoT Agenda network contributors are responsible for the content and accuracy of their posts. Opinions are of the writers and do not necessarily convey the thoughts of IoT Agenda.

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Gary, an excellent post, thank you.
Neira Jones
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CISO need to be able to set strategic direction when it comes to cyber risk and information security overall. We have seen many times when the CISO roll falls under IT, they become powerless and lose the ability to influence change and set direction in support of true business objectives. Instead their focus is diverted in plugging in security gap unintentionally created by IT. It’s no fault of IT, they are operating under budget, without adequate resources and managing multiple priority projects – something is going to break, short cuts will be taken and you will have multiple security vulnerabilities. And, in these cases the CISO will then be forced to focus his or her attention on these things tactically instead of being able to have time to set strategic direction in support of business objectives and advance overall enterprise risk strategies. I also do believe that the CISO role should not be reporting into CIOs and absolutely agree that the CISO role should be elevated, in some cases, to an executive level on par with the CIO. As the CISO job description continues to demand technology knowledge, business acumen and cybersecurity skills. The CIO’s job description needs to demand more security acumen and the unwavering of security best practices into everything they do - no different than demanding developers to code securely not just for functionality. For the CIO, it’s no longer good enough just to keep IT cost flat and provide average level IT services to the business. The CIO and CISO both need to be on the same page and operate with the same goals and rigor around providing confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and system, part of IT Security Fundamentals. Information security needs to be a part of every IT professional's job. Hackers are constantly trying to compromise your networks, steal sensitive data, and overwhelm your systems. We all have a part in keeping our organization secure and if we all do our part, the CISO can finally execute as a business and risk function rather just an IT function at the level needed and demanded by the board, CEO and its customers.
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