Before working for Machine Design, I had worked primarily with U.S.-based engineering firms. I would say that my trip to Hannover Messe 2016 was my first encounter with the engineering world of another country. Besides dealing with different units and trying to do conversions in my head (1 kilometer equals 0.62 miles just in case you were wondering), the approach of engineering is different. Certain things that perhaps we do not do enough are standard procedures in Germany and vice versa. Yet the most promising thing I saw is how these two worlds are becoming one cohesive engineering world.
In my previous job, shipping in parts from across the seas was a hassle. The main problem was collaboration. There were times we could not get on the same page. There were several reasons why the two countries did not play well. Sometimes it was things like customs and shipping, things out of our control. The other problems were methodologies, different international standards, and design procedures. This is where I see the world of the Internet of Things coming into play. It goes by many names depending on whom you talk to: Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, Industrial IoT, or Manufacturing 2025. But regardless of the name, the fact that IoT depends on interconnectivity forces companies and countries to work together, to create joint standards, and to create one unified IoT world.
This is where collaboration becomes essential. The Internet of Things does not just mean interconnected devices, but also interconnected networks, job sites, and people. We will be able to monitor and affect job sites across the world. Organizations like Industrial Internet Consortium and conferences like Hannover Messe are important because they create universal standards and provide educational opportunities that will be necessary for companies as they build their IoT systems, to ensure we are all on the same playing field of connectivity.