How IoT Data Insights Are Unleashing New Possibilities in Manufacturing

BrandPost By Michael Belfiore
May 14, 2019
AnalyticsInternet of ThingsManufacturing Industry

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Credit: iStock

Mobile phone manufacturer Ericsson estimates that 22 billion devices will connect to the internet by 2022. The vast majority of them, 18 billion, will connect to the Internet of Things, or the IoT. Smart speakers, appliances, and other home IoT devices are already changing the lives of consumers around the world.

At the same time, however, companies are only just beginning to harness all the data coming out of the industrial robots, assembly lines, sensors, and other equipment they operate. The payoff for doing so is potentially enormous as it can lead to better products, more efficient businesses, and a lot more. But there’s a crucial bottleneck for realizing those benefits: finding the right signals in the noise of all that data.

This gap between the data already streaming out of factories and other workplaces and the ability to make sense of it represents an opportunity. Here’s how two manufacturers are closing that gap to boost the bottom line.

Bread and Robots

Home appliance maker SharkNinja has met the IoT data challenge with the help of insights delivered by data visualization tools in the Domo platform. “We were having a problem knowing what was going on with a vacuum robot in a consumer’s home,” explains Rob Drew, Global Vice President of IT for SharkNinja. “We had the data in our IoT platform, but to get to 20 robots, to look at that data, took about six days.”

Today, thanks to Domo, the SharkNinja team can crunch numbers on 200,000 robots in the same amount of time. Insights into what each robot does and when, whether it’s malfunctioning and why, and more helps engineers build better products that last longer, benefiting consumers and helping to increase loyalty. Drew calls the results “pretty amazing.” Among the many insights SharkNinja engineers gained: Robots tend to work the same hours as people, few robots in Texas suggested an untapped market, and how often robots get stuck when attempting to clean a room.

Even a business seemingly as low-tech as a bakery can benefit from meaningful IoT data. For example, Rhodes Bake-N-Serv has improved the quality of its rolls and breads that consumers bake themselves with the help of data from its machines.

“It’s been a really big problem not having machines that can communicate or store information,” says Ty Tolman, Process Improvement Manager at Rhodes. With the help of Domo, “We’ve been able to pull it out of those machines and visualize it.”

Now Tolman and his team can see where quality falls short and what to do to fix it. “Before, it wasn’t visible,” he says. “It was on paper in a filing drawer.”

Finding the Signal in the IoT Noise

IoT data represents a significant new business opportunity for manufacturers, even those in areas not usually thought of as high-tech—but only if managers can extract meaning from hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of data points. Until recently, this task has been extraordinarily difficult and time-consuming.

Fortunately, data visualization tools such as those provided by Domo make the task easy by quickly surfacing insights from IoT data, helping decision-makers move their businesses forward.

Learn more about how insights from IoT data can improve your manufacturing business at