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McKinsey report: IIoT, edge can help enterprises get through Coronavirus crisis

IIoT, edge computing can help enterprises

There are near-term advantages to using IIoT and edge computing systems, and they are all the more important now. This is one of the takeaways from a report by management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. examining how the whole of IIoT under coronavirus conditions carves out ways that edge systems can help businesses in the near term.

Remote sensors and controls, big data and machine learning, and low-latency wireless communications can improve employees’ safety, shielding them as much as practical from workplace accidents and coronavirus infection, according to McKinsey. It might go without saying, but keeping experienced personnel healthy and on the job, at least in essential businesses, is critical at the moment.

IIoT systems can be used to physically track employees on the floor to keep them as distant from each other as possible. Monitored patterns can inform new factory layouts and shift changes, for example.

They also can be used for remote collaboration and asset control. Video and vision systems can enable remote human analysis, oversight, and operation of production equipment.

Inventory control and waste reduction, esoteric concepts for most people until they could not find toilet paper, can deliver savings when augmented by IIoT infrastructure.

McKinsey estimates that manufacturers can cut their inventories 10% to 35% with controls optimized through edge systems. And cutting waste can chop waste by 20 percent.

Costs can be cut and labor productivity can be boosted through digital performance management and remote assistance, both optimized by IIoT software and hardware.

Labor productivity can boom 20 percent to 40 percent, according to McKinsey, by deploying IIoT dashboards for systems performance. Dashboards can increase operational transparency by informing factory-floor discussions and backing up human expertise and insights.

And offering field personnel advanced and reliable remote assistance can cut field service costs 10% to 40%. by reducing the number and frequency of people needed on site for a problem or upgrade.

McKinsey also looked at the issue of pricing and found significant near-term advantages to using edge systems.

It is safe to say that businesses have rarely had to deal with price volatility on the scale they face now. Fuel prices have sunk to levels once thought only theoretical. On the other hand, virus-related materials and goods can now be found on the black market.

IIoT systems can help calculate the enormous number of inputs and market trends by delivering dynamic pricing optimization, according to the consulting firm. McKinsey says using optimization software can bring revenue up five percent to eight percent.

The company recommends moving rapidly to install off-the-shelf networking products. Some businesses are idled and have the time to make upgrades. Some also can take advantage of low-interest loans and government grants to finance work. And larger companies are still sitting on enormous cash reserves, providing customers some flexibility in negotiating prices and financing terms for products.

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