How to digitize processes of all kinds?

The discussion and hype around the industrial internet was probably at its peak around 2015. At that time, Accenture released a report entitled “Winning with the Industrial Internet of Things”. It looked at IoT from the viewpoint of the competitiveness of nations. Finland ranked among the top three among the 20 industrialized countries after the US and Switzerland. Have we then taken up that opportunity?

Much has happened over the past few years. Still, it seems that the change has been slower than was thought then. Digitalization as such is not anymore questioned, its potential is understood. Whether it is then the slump of the famous hype curve, after which the right growth begins or is it crossing the Chasm –  however, there is still a lot of piloting,  testing solutions and looking for truly scalable systems.

The challenge of industrial digitalization is often the diversity of processes; There are many kinds of machines, equipment and processes. Machinery comes from many vendors and is of many ages.  It also tells something when a automation vendor catalog mentions that three hundred different devices or sensors can be connected to a  system. Good that there are solutions, but it also sounds complicated.

Absolute accurate measurement often requires special solutions, especially if the measurement data is used to control the process. Often, however, it would be enough to have trends or other more higher level information about the process, such as  utilization rates etc. Collecting such information could be easy by observing physical parameters such as motion or temperature with wireless sensors. The sensors are easy to attach and they sense the process data tirelessly. Such a sensor does not require any particular interface, it is enough to glue it to the machine.

So, could a lighter way of sensoring be the solution to bring digitalisation to all kinds of processes, even for  the gear in the picture?