IoT is the growing network of connected products that is changing manufacturing at a scope comparable to the Industrial Revolution. IoT is inevitably changing how engineers design products. While the mechanical engineer of the future needs the same foundation of technical skills and savvy for creative problem-solving as always, additional characteristics will soon be necessary.
The Smart Product Mechanical Engineer
WHAT IS IoT?
By now you’ve probably heard the hype surrounding the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart products.
In a way, it’s analogous to the dawn of the desktop computer.
Maybe the notion that computers would populate desks seemed implausible at first, but the new technology had significant impacts in time – everyone has some kind of desktop or portable device today.
The Internet of Things may feel like an overused term, but it has real benefits for engineers, businesses, and consumers.
IoT introduces countless opportunities to disrupt the status quo across top industries with reimagined products.
It offers enormous quantities of product performance data, functions that improve consumer experiences, predictive maintenance possibilities, and new service lines, each paving new avenues for engineers to design better products.
In an increasingly connected world, engineers are uniquely positioned to steer the course of innovation by embracing IoT.
Any product directly used by a consumer is part of the consumer IoT. Some consumer products are already widely used, such as fitness tracking devices, smart watches, and home products. It’s predicted that in 2016, 33% of adults will use some form of IoT in their home, as a wearable, or in their car, and this group is only expected to grow.
The Industrial IoT includes any product used by a company to deliver a good or service, such as factory machinery or industrial vehicles. The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) unlocks new opportunities for better product design, improved customer satisfaction, increased uptime, and additional streams of revenue.
Why Does IoT Matter?
A massive network of disruptive smart products will require learning new skills and adapting to changing industries, but the payoff will be great for engineers, businesses, and consumers. As a mechanical engineer, you will most immediately gain from closed loop design, while benefits such as increased consumer value, predictive maintenance, and new service lines ultimately involve the bigger picture of IoT for business operations.