With a plethora of technologies emerging in the last decade, while some have relatively matured and proven to be of potential, others are still in evolution. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has unquestionably triumphed. As is with any new technology introduction, it follows the law of diffusion innovation and the adoption of the technology by the industry follows the S-curve.
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According to Gartner’s hype cycle, the Internet of Things (IoT) was expected to become ubiquitous and hit a productivity plateau in a ten-year period from 2011.
Today, the prowess of IIoT has been leveraged across various industries and segments, and the energy industry is no exception. There have been various use cases identified and IIoT solutions applied to improve power plant equipment operating efficiency, thereby avoiding plant downtime and also decreasing accidents. The conventional method of scheduled maintenance is flawed in a way that if done too early, it’s a waste of money, and if done too late, it’s a waste of component life. With the introduction of 5G, IIoT coupled with edge computing has resolved the challenge of latency and given the power to compute at source, thereby giving actionable intelligence and significantly improving the processes and personnel’s occupational safety.
Monitoring of power plant assets is crucial in governing its performance. As renewable energy sources are quite intermittent in nature and have a problem of instantaneous mismatch, being able to monitor times of peak load and peak demand and using energy storage technologies to provide power during peak demand is a complex mechanism. Monitoring equipment efficiency with real-time data and getting prompt actionable insights becomes crucial in a successful power plant operation.
The IIoT has numerous applications in energy generation, transmission, and distribution chain. With grid modernization gaining traction, we are at the junction of a challenge. Although IIoT is becoming more cost-effective over time, it still has a long way to go before reaching economies of scale. IoT is fundamentally about the automation, communication, and networking of devices with embedded intelligence, and it will require a significant investment to bring them into the realm of traditional systems.