The Crucial Role of IoT in Industrial Automation - Importance & Impact

January 20, 2023
The Crucial Role of IoT in Industrial Automation - Importance & Impact


The Internet of Things (IoT) has completely transformed how we work and live. It has created a new era of connectivity, where devices and machines can communicate with each other to create a more efficient and productive environment. IoT has significantly impacted industrial automation, allowing businesses to optimize processes, cut costs, and increase safety and security.

This article thoroughly explains how IoT-based automation affects industries and how it might change our operations. In addition, we will examine the benefits, uses, difficulties, and potential future developments of IoT in industrial automation.

Advantages of IoT in Industrial automation

The advent of IoT-based automation in industries has elevated the manufacturing sector in multiple ways. A few of them are discussed below:

Increased Efficiency and Productivity

Using connected equipment and machines that can interact with one another and share data in real time is one of the critical ways the Internet of Things (IoT) has resulted in significant advancements. It enables improved collaboration and coordination between many systems and processes, which leads to quicker and more effective decisions.

Predictive maintenance is one-way IoT has improved efficiency and production in industrial automation. Machines and equipment can have IoT sensors added to track their performance and predict when they are most likely to break down.

It reduces downtime and guarantees that the machines always operate efficiently by enabling businesses to schedule maintenance and repairs before an issue arises.

Improved decision-making through data analysis

IoT devices and sensors can collect large amounts of data from machines and processes, which can then be analyzed to gain valuable insights and improve decision-making.

IoT facilitates better decision-making by giving producers real-time access to production data. Companies can immediately identify and address any issues that arise by tracking and analyzing data from machines and devices, which reduces waste and boosts productivity.

Advanced analytics techniques like machine learning and AI can be combined with IoT data to uncover patterns and insights that would be challenging or impossible to spot manually. As a result, businesses are better equipped to forecast future demand, optimize production schedules, and find fresh growth prospects.

Reduced downtime and maintenance costs

The installation of IoT sensors on machinery and equipment allows for performance monitoring and failure prediction. As a result, businesses can plan maintenance and repairs ahead of time rather than wait for a machine to malfunction.

Machines are less likely to break down suddenly thanks to this proactive maintenance method, enabling businesses to schedule maintenance around their production schedule, minimizing disturbance to their operations.

IoT also provides remote monitoring and control of equipment, allowing businesses to recognize and resolve any concerns even when not on-site. It can help reduce downtime by allowing companies to address problems quickly and remotely rather than wait for a technician to arrive on-site.

Enhanced Safety and Security

IoT in industrial automation has also significantly improved safety and security in industries. It has accomplished this, among other things, by offering real-time monitoring and management of equipment and procedures. Companies can identify and handle any possible safety risks before they become an issue by continuously gathering and analyzing device data.

IoT sensors can also monitor environmental factors like temperature, humidity, and gas concentrations and notify operators if anything changes that could be dangerous. By doing so, accidents can be avoided, and workers' health and safety can be preserved.

Application of IoT in Industrial Automation

The improvements in industrial automation that IoT has been able to bring about are a direct result of the implementation of technologies or technical methodologies such as

Predictive Maintenance

Predictive maintenance is a methodology that tracks the quality of equipment in real-time and spots possible problems before they arise. It does this by using sensors, smart devices, and analytics. As a result, the ability to do maintenance proactively rather than reactively can help reduce maintenance expenditures and equipment downtime. Predictive maintenance can also be helpful when a failure of complicated or necessary equipment could have negative consequences.

Smart Manufacturing

Intelligent manufacturing refers to IoT technologies to optimize and improve manufacturing processes. IoT connectivity solutions installed at the factory level transmit data from sensors and machines to the cloud. These data are examined, merged with relevant information, and then shared with related personnel with authorization.

This data flow is made possible by IoT technology, which uses both wired and wireless communication. It also makes it possible to monitor and manage processes remotely and instantly alter production schedules in real time as needed.

Supply Chain Management

IoT technologies can improve supply chain management by providing real-time visibility into inventory levels, shipping status, and other logistics information. For example, IoT devices and sensors can be placed on products and shipping containers to track their location and status in real-time.

It allows companies to monitor the progress of their products throughout the supply chain, from manufacturer to end customer. It enables companies to quickly and efficiently identify and address any issues, such as delays or stockouts.

IoT can also be used to improve logistics and transportation management. For example, IoT-enabled sensors on vehicles can collect data on location, fuel consumption, and other factors, which can be used to optimize routes, reduce fuel consumption, and improve delivery times.

Quality control and inspection

IoT is used in various ways to improve quality control and inspection in industrial automation. One of the main ways is using connected devices and sensors to collect data in real-time. This data can be analyzed to identify any issues or defects in the manufacturing process and to ensure that products meet the required quality standards.

One example of how IoT is used in quality control is using machine vision systems. These systems use cameras and image processing algorithms to inspect products for defects, such as cracks, scratches, or misalignment. The data collected by these systems can be analyzed to identify patterns and trends, which can then be used to improve the manufacturing process and reduce defects.

Additionally, IoT can improve communication and coordination between different stakeholders in the manufacturing process, such as operators, engineers, and quality control personnel. As a result, it allows for faster and more accurate decision-making and increased efficiency in the manufacturing process.

Future trends and developments in IoT automation

Advancements in sensor technology

Sensors are essential for collecting data and enabling communication between devices and systems; therefore, the advancement in sensor technology leads to more accurate and reliable data collection and communication.

One of the most notable advancements in sensor technology is the development of ultra-low power sensors, which can operate for long periods without needing to be recharged or replaced. In addition, it allows for the deployment of sensors in remote and hard-to-reach locations, such as in industrial machinery or the field.

Another advancement in sensor technology is the development of miniature sensors, which are smaller in size and can be integrated into devices and machines more easily. It allows for more efficient and cost-effective deployment of sensors, as well as the ability to place them in tight spaces and hard-to-reach locations where traditional sensors might not fit.

Additionally, the development of multi-sensor devices, which can collect multiple types of data, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and more, is also considered an advancement in sensor technology. It allows for more comprehensive monitoring and analysis of machines and processes, providing valuable insights and enabling better decision-making.

Advancements in the development of AI and Machine Learning

AI and ML technologies enable the analysis of large amounts of data collected by IoT devices, leading to new insights and improved decision-making. Another advancement in AI and ML is the development of deep learning algorithms, which enable the analysis of unstructured data, such as images and audio.

It can be used to perform image recognition and natural language processing. In addition, it can be used in industrial automation for quality control and predictive maintenance tasks, allowing for faster and faultless outcomes.

AI and ML help us with explainable algorithms. Therefore, it provides transparency and interpretability for decision-making, allowing us to understand the insights better. Furthermore, it enables the integration of AI and ML into the decision-making process of industrial automation systems.

Furthermore, the development of distributed AI and ML systems that enable the collaboration of multiple devices and systems allows for better scalability and robustness of the systems. It enables the integration of artificial intelligence into the entire industrial automation process.

Edge computing and fog computing

Edge computing refers to the ability to process and analyze data at the edge of a network. It means you can analyze data where it is generated rather than in a centralized location. As a result, it allows for faster processing and decision-making, as data does not need to be transmitted to a central location before being analyzed.

Edge computing is particularly useful in industrial automation as it enables real-time analysis of data from machines and devices, which can be used for tasks such as predictive maintenance and quality control.

Fog computing or fog networking is an extension of edge computing. It analyses data between the edge and the cloud or at the edge of a network. It allows for even faster processing and decision-making, as data can be analyzed before it reaches the cloud.

Fog computing is particularly useful in industrial automation as it enables real-time data analysis from machines and devices, even in remote and hard-to-reach locations.

Furthermore, Edge computing and fog computing enable the scalability and robustness of IoT systems in industrial automation. The data processing is distributed among multiple devices and systems, reducing the dependence on a centralized location and allowing for the integration of IoT systems into the entire industrial automation process.

5G and other high-speed communication technologies

5G, the fifth generation of mobile networks, offers faster data transmission speeds, lower latency, and improved reliability compared to previous generations of mobile networks. In addition, it allows for more efficient and effective communication between devices and systems. It enables the deployment of more IoT devices and sensors, leading to more comprehensive monitoring and analysis of machines and processes.

Other high-speed communication technologies such as Li-Fi (light-based communication), Zigbee, and LoRaWAN offer faster and more reliable data transmission than traditional communication technologies such as WiFi and Bluetooth. These technologies are designed for low-power and low-data rate applications.

They are particularly suitable for industrial automation, as they can communicate with devices and machines in remote and hard-to-reach locations and enable deploying more IoT devices and sensors.


The Internet of Things (IoT) is a powerful technology that has the potential to revolutionize industrial automation. By providing real-time monitoring and control of machines and processes, collecting and analyzing data, and improving decision-making, IoT can increase efficiency, productivity, safety, and security in industrial automation.

Advancements in sensor technology, AI and ML, Edge computing and fog computing, and 5G and other high-speed communication technologies enable smoother IoT integration into industrial automation. It leads to even more comprehensive monitoring and analysis of machines and processes and enables quick judgements for processes.

However, as with any new technology, there are also implications. Ethical concerns such as data privacy, security, and job displacement must be addressed. But with the right approach and regulations, these concerns can be mitigated.

Overall, IoT in industrial automation has the potential to bring significant benefits to companies and society as a whole. Therefore, it is essential to continue investing in research and development to fully realize IoT's potential in industrial automation. By embracing this technology, companies can improve their operations, increase productivity and efficiency, and ultimately create a more promising future.