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Intel Factories Provide an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Blueprint

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What do Intel factories, fish farms, vineyards and restaurants have in common?

The answer: They are all environments that are rife with opportunities to apply IIoT technology to drive efficiencies in material usage, product quality, customer experience and more. Before I demonstrate how Intel IT is deploying IIoT technology in Intel’s factories around the world, let’s look at a few examples of how other businesses are using IIoT to transform their processes and outcomes.

IIoT Examples Across the Business Spectrum

Build a Better Fish Farm. Fish farmers are using IIoT technology to improve many aspects of aquaculture, including feeding efficiency, tracking fish growth, detecting diseases and establishing environmental monitoring and control. Sensors and cameras can use information like feeding behaviors and swimming patterns to help fish farmers decide when and how much to feed fish—leading to more efficient feeding practices. Advanced disease detection can enable farmers to identify problems earlier, giving them more time to adapt management practices and limit losses.[1]

Never Run Out of Inventory Again. Great customer service is the hallmark of a great restaurant or bar. Imagine a customer’s frustration when they find out that their favorite on-tap beer just ran out. Imagine the consternation of the manager in learning that last week’s estimate about how much beer was needed was inaccurate. IIoT technology and AI can change all that. Sensors installed throughout the inventory, on shelves, on barrels or keg flow valves, etc. can help bars and breweries know—without estimating—whether a specific type of beer is running out. Algorithms can use historic consumption data to quickly and accurately predict how much beer the bar will need for the coming weekend.[1]

Raise the Best Grapes Ever. There are few things more pastoral than looking out over acres of neatly tended grape vines, wending over rolling hills. But behind that peaceful vista is a lot of work and worry. Are the vines getting enough (or too much) water? What is the optimal time to spray for weeds or bugs to minimize harmful chemicals? Will it freeze tonight? What is the soil composition? IIoT sensors installed throughout the fields can constantly gather detailed metrics that can help vintners answer these questions and more. Vintners can use IoT remote monitoring to gather data about air temperature, humidity, soil moisture, soil temperature and atmospheric pressure. These real-time data can help reduce manual labor and increase plant health.[2]

The Perfect Concrete Pour. 404 million cubic yards of ready-mixed concrete were poured in the US in 2022.[3] But sometimes concrete work can be more of an art than a science—temperature and humidity can substantially affect how long concrete takes to cure. And installing the rest of the infrastructure on the concrete too early or too late can be a costly mistake. Construction companies can use IIoT sensors to remotely and continuously monitor the concrete’s moisture levels, helping to ensure high-quality results and optimized project completion timelines.[4]

Standardized IIoT in Intel’s Global Factories

Now that I’ve piqued your interest in IIoT, let’s take a look at how it’s playing out in Intel’s factories. Our main focus is the philosophy of using simple technology to address a bigger situation in our industry: aging equipment. Much of the older, but still healthy, factory equipment we use wasn’t built with connectivity in mind and lacks the necessary connected sensors. Without IIoT technology, Intel would have to purchase entirely new factory equipment to obtain the necessary telemetric information to drive efficiency improvements resulting from data analysis and AI.

To avoid this costly approach, we have built a standardized and inexpensive IIoT infrastructure using Intel® IoT Gateways equipped with Intel® CPUs. The gateways enable us to use automation to connect devices and data. The result is an efficient, data-driven factory environment that embodies smart manufacturing.

This standardized IIoT infrastructure is highly scalable and has numerous business benefits:

  • Scrap avoidance
  • Fewer excursions
  • Cost savings
  • Less unscheduled downtime

Although we have many IIoT use cases across the factory environment, here are three proven use cases that I hope will inspire other manufacturers to adopt a similar approach.

Predicting Pump Motor Failure. We deploy vibration sensors on pumps to enable continuous vibration monitoring, which can detect early marginal excess vibration signals. We use these signals to predict when pump motors might fail. Over four years, the estimated return on investment is hundreds of thousands of dollars across several pumps.

Predicting Blower Failure. Similar to the pump scenario, we attach vibration sensors to blowers to identify signals when a blower is about to fail. Since the installation of the sensors, we have prevented many cases of blower failure. The estimated avoidance value to Intel is in the millions.

Optimizing Expensive Material Usage. The assembly and test manufacturing process uses chemicals that are scarce, expensive and difficult to purchase. We deployed sensors to constantly monitor chemical flow rate and have seen a significant reduction in chemical waste that has translated into considerable savings on material purchases.

Ready to Explore IIoT in Your Environment?

As you can see, IIoT technology—including Intel IoT Gateways and Intel processors, machine learning, AI and analytics—is a powerful tool that connects the unconnected, delivering real-time intelligence at the edge.  

To learn more, I encourage you to read the IT@Intel white paper, “Expanding Low-Cost IIoT Manufacturing Use Cases” and then start thinking outside the box—how can YOU use IIoT to transform YOUR business?


[1] The Fish Site, March 2023, “The rise of AI in aquaculture.”

[2] Nation’s Restaurant News, May 2023, “Confused about the ‘Internet of Things’? Here’s how IoT is changing restaurant tech forever.”

[3] Farmer’s Hive, “Metrics never before seen in real-time.”

[4] Concrete Financial Insights, 2022, “US Concrete Industry Data.”

[5] IoT For All, March 2023, “5 Unique Applications of IoT in Construction.”


1 Comment

excellent blog Duncan, great way to share the commonality of all such IOT solutions from complex MFG environments to bars and restaurants... they all need data to make informed decisions and our standard and easy to implement IOT platform shows how it can be done at low cost.