While the consumer IoT putters along, the industrial world is diving headlong into using connected devices. Here’s how mining equipment maker Joy Global plans to use near real-time remote analytics to squeeze more productivity out of equipment

Joy Global’s mining shovels are so massive that a good operator can load 400 tons of earth into a dump truck with just three swings. In the Internet of Things (IoT) world, that digging equipment is also kicking off two gigabytes of data every eight minutes.

And if a shovel operator takes four scoops to fill the truck? Thanks to all that data, Joy Global, by late April, plans to be able to spot that extra scoop within 10 seconds from a monitoring center more than 6,000 miles away from the mine site. The company will alert the mine’s manager, who can figure out the problem and get that shovel operator back working at peak capacity.

Joy Global’s plans point to what will become a rising arena of competition around IoT: Optimizing the performance of machines and the people who run them, in near real-time, and not just predicting and preventing things like when a machine might break down.

“We’ll be able to do, from 6,000 miles away, what we’re able to do today at the mine site,” said Joy Global CIO Mark Shaver, discussing the initiative at the Fusion CEO-CIO Symposium in Madison, Wis., on Wednesday. “Within 10 seconds, we’ll be able to say that the operator of that machine is not running at top efficiency.”

Joy Global sells the Joy and P&H brands of mining equipment. The company’s roots go back more than 100 years. Now, the company’s expanding into a new, technology-enhanced service offering it calls JoySmart Solutions, developed in a partnership with IBM. It’s all part of what Shaver called the company’s “smart, connected mine” strategy.

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