By Terri Foudray, ConvIOT® CEO and Founder

The Internet of Things has created an explosion of data – more sensors creating more data on the factory floor than ever. So many manufacturers look to the Cloud to improve efficiency and performance in their production lines. We see this especially in industries such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, paint & coatings and food & beverage. But is a Cloud-only approach enough to get the results you’re looking for? We see Cloud as only part of a bigger picture.

• The cloud is essential for long-term organizational learning. A tsunami of data is constantly being created from machines, people and processes. Not all of it can, or should, be processed at the moment it is created. The Cloud allows companies to analyze large amounts of data and look at what happened after the fact, and apply Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Business Intelligence that predict and improve processes. The data isn’t used in real time, but later. The only problem is that as data ages it becomes less valuable – it’s several steps away from the factory floor. So, it’s important to add a real-time learning and acting component to squeeze out that last inch of productivity and efficiency.

• Edge computing adds always-on immediacy and low-cost management. The Edge adds the essential real-time element to Cloud. Unlike Cloud, the Edge is deeply embedded right into the manufacturing process, always present, taking the pulse of the entire organization in the moment. And the Edge applies Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Business Intelligence right to the point of need, so companies can take predictive and prescriptive action, rather than just react. The Edge also eliminates the need to transport volumes of data to the Cloud.

In our experience, we see some manufacturers start with a cloud-based IoT strategy, and then have to unwind their cloud-only approach when they see it’s not providing everything they need – that last inch of productivity. A few start with Edge. But whether you have included Edge in your strategy or not, you will. Remember that like Cloud, Edge isn’t a particular thing – it’s a strategy. Using an Edge strategy helps you see and automate action now, while Cloud helps you avoid mistakes or inefficiency in the future. They work together for a more efficient and productive approach to real-time factory floor management. So, call the experts before you get too far and we’ll show you how to blend Cloud and Edge together to get the greatest productivity with the least waste.

To learn more, hear what IoT and Edge pioneer Perry Lea has to say [ ]