The defining features of an Industrial IoT Smartwatch

Requirements for the Industrial IoT and relevant smartwatch capabilities

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) drives disruptions in different domains such as consumer technology, enterprise applications, healthcare, or manufacturing and logistics. Industrial IoT (IIoT) forms a subset of IoT and focuses on specialized industrial requirements.

 

Benson Chan has written an excellent post about the differences between IoT and IIoT. His main point is that although IoT and Industrial IoT share common technologies like sensors, cloud platforms, connectivity and analytics, they differ in many ways due to the specific requirements of the industrial world. The main parameters that distinguish IoT from Industrial IoT include:

 

  • Security
  • Interoperability
  • Scalability
  • Precision
  • Programmability
  • Low latency
  • Reliability
  • Resilience
  • Automation
  • Serviceability

WORKERBASE provides an IIoT smartwatch made for Industrial settings

 

In this post I will explain the main features of the WORKERBASE IIoT smartwatch according to the defining IIoT categories and will explain the smart watch features for industrial use.

 

Security

Security is critical for IIoT solutions, as businesses can not allow security incidents to impact their manufacturing processes. The WORKERBASE system has many built-in security features, ranging from a resilient system architecture with isolated runtime containers, enterprise-grade authentication mechanisms to a management console which provides the end-to-end management of apps, i.e. users are not allowed to install apps by themselves.

 

Interoperability

The smartwatch connects to the WORKERBASE cloud-based backend which is interoperable with existing business applications. For example, ERP or MES systems can be integrated through a REST API or SOAP webservices. Tasks from legacy operational technologies (OT) can be shown on the smartwatch. Alarms from existing SCADA systems or machines can be integrated via M2M protocols such as OPC UA or MQTT and can be shown on the alarm app. The WORKERBASE smartwatch not only co-exist with existing systems, but provides a powerful extension which enables real-time workflows on the smartwatch with data from existing OT systems.

 

Scalability

The entire WORKERBASE system is built to scale. The event-based system architecture allows the integration of hundreds of sensors and devices. In addition, the WORKERBASE API supports data import from multiple systems and data export to e.g. analytics and business intelligence systems.

 

Precision and Accuracy

Manual work on the shopfloor must be organized as efficient as possible and thus requires high levels of precision and accuracy. The WORKERBASE smartwatch has an integrated industrial barcode scanner offering high volume, high speed scanning in milliseconds. Compared to barcode scanning applications e.g. on a smartphone, the industrial barcode scanner boosts productivity. Compared to traditional barcode scanning devices, the wearable scanner is always with the worker and can provide accurate and precise scanning capabilities at anytime. For example, the picking app running on the smartwatch provides an efficient alternative to pick-by-vision solutions such as google glass.

 

Programmability

The WORKEBRASE system offers manufacturing apps running on the Industrial smartwatch. With the WORKERBASE app builder, there is no source code programming required to build apps. Apps can easily be set up by configuring pre-built function blocks – by only using a webbrowser. The functions include many features ranging from text display, checklists, approval buttons, voice commands to barcode scanning and taking pictures. The system offers capabilities for frequent reconfigurations. If your industrial process changes, you are able to re-program the respective workflow app in minutes, rather than days or weeks. With that you gain flexibility and can adapt your manual work processes to changing requirements.

 

Low latency

Many companies are constantly improving their production system towards full automation. However, as most industrial processes still require human workers to interact with machines and to make decisions, the integration of humans into IIoT processes is important. The WORKERBASE smartwatch provides a wearable interface to operational processes: alerts on the smartwatch, checklists for corrective actions and apps with instant feedback allow to implement real time workflows. Delays in decision-making are reduced and the productivity of workers is increased. With the kanban pull system app you are able to implement a kanban system in short time.

 

Reliability

Industrial IoT solutions must operate reliably and support high availability. The WORKEBASE system provides high availability with battery times lasting at least one shift. The smartwatch is hardened for industrial settings and incorporates hard-buttons for glove operation.

 

Resilience

The WORKERBASE system is designed with resilience in mind. All smartwatches can be interchanged between users. At the same time, the smartwatches provide a personalized working environment. All apps for a specific site are pre-installed on all smartwatches. Workers pick a certain device, login with their credentials and are prompted with their personalized working environment displaying all apps they are allowed to see. In case workers have to switch devices during operations, they simply can pick a new device, log in and are again prompted with their personal environment on a different device. Thus the risk of device breakdowns can be minimized, a simple device swap nearly allows  non-stop operations.

 

Automation

In contrast to consumer smartwatches, the WORKERBASE smartwatch can be integrated with existing manufacturing system. It offers interfaces to multiple devices and provides multi-user workflows. These capabilities allow an efficient setup of automation processes, where e.g. Bob orders replenishment from a tablet computer, Jennifer accepts the order request with her smartwatch and Mike gets the transport request on a forklift management system. In addition, human-robot collaboration is supported.  For example, autonomous intelligent vehicles (AIVs) can be configured to interoperate with the smartwatch. It is possible to enable transport requests from humans or display AIV alarms on the smartwatch.

 

Serviceability

The WORKERBASE backend application provides functions to make the administration of the system very straightforward. This includes e.g. device management functions to get an overview about all logged-in users, to see details about all rolled-out devices, installed apps, battery status as well as over-the-air updates for software management.

Start now and optimize manual work processes in Industrial IoT

To drive the digital transformation in Industrial IoT, the WORKERBASE smartwatch offers functions which are essential for “industrial readiness”. To fully leverage the Industrial IoT, the inclusion of manual work processes is recommended. It is important to not only focus on IT systems, but also carefully think about how to integrate human work into the mix, e.g. via voice commands. Wearable devices and especially smartwatches are a pragmatic approach to ensure that IIoT solutions are designed for the requirements of human workers.

 

Do you want to start using smartwatches in the Industrial IoT? Please let us know and send us a message!