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What is the Industrial Internet of Things?

The industrial internet of things is the network of industrial devices connected by communication technologies that result in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver data. Simply put, Industrial Internet of Things refers to smart machines and devices a business uses that are connected to the internet and provide real time data and analytics. It brings together machines, analytics, and the people that make it all work. It can be as advanced as a fully automated mass production line that tracks maintenance, productivity and even ordering and shipping information across a huge, multi-layered network. This data can be used to improve existing work practices and business processes as well as creating entirely new ways of doing things.

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PLM: Where It Began, Where It's Going

Product lifecycle management, or PLM, is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception through end-stage disposal. It is sometimes considered one of four information technology cornerstones for a manufacturer, alongside customer relationship management (CRM), supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP).

The PLM concept began in the mid-1980s when American Motors Corporation (AMC), intent on establishing a competitive advantage over the auto industry giants of the time, put its focus on using technology to speed the product development process. Although AMC was ultimately acquired by one of those giants, its innovations were integrated into modern manufacturing tech and have played an invaluable role there ever since.

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A New Age Approach to Traditional Manufacturing Issues

As the virtual world collides with real-world manufacturing issues, the winners will be those who successfully navigate the challenges of both the technology and the people who will operate it. That was the central theme of the 2018 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS), presented by CFE Media and Hannover Messe USA and sponsored by Siemens, SAP, Advantech, Beckhoff, Infor, Stratus, UL, Universal Robots, and Lapp.

The half-day thought leadership event that took place Sept. 12 as part of IMTS 2018 in Chicago drew a full house of manufacturing leaders looking to navigate the challenges faced in an age of robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

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