IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2018 - 7

manufacturing industry to embrace new technologies to
[9] on wireless sensor networks, [10] on cloud computing,
remain competitive and meet user demands. The Internet
and [11] on big data. These papers have provided good
of Things (IoT), which has great potential in transforming
technical reviews; however, while economic aspects play
the manufacturing sector [2], has attracted tremendous
a vital role in technical advancements and transformaattention from both academia and industry.
tion, discussions on them are largely missing. Moreover,
The IoT envisions the seamless interconnection of the
the manufacturing sector has its own domain-specific
physical world and cyberspace and their pervasive presproblems to be addressed when leveraging the power of
ence around us [3]. It extends the Internet into the physical
the IoT.
realm through the widespread deployment of spatially distributed devices with embedded identification (ID), sensBackground and Enabling Technologies
ing, and actuation capabilities [4], [5]. The embedding of
The wide adoption of the IoT in manufacturing has a close
tiny electronics into physical objects and networking them
relationship with the development of IoT technologies. There
make them intelligent and seamlessly integrated within the
are some core technologies that play vital roles in the IoT
resulting cyberphysical infrastructure. Thus, the IoT can
and can benefit the manufacturing industry tremendously.
enable a greatly enhanced horizontal integration of the various manufacturing resources/capabilities used in different
Radio-Frequency Identification
stages of manufacturing and business-planning processes.
Radio-frequency ID (RFID) uses electromagnetic fields to
Additionally, it can allow a vertical
transfer data for the automated
integration at different hierarchical
identification and tracking of tags
system levels [6]. This provides
attached to objects [12]. RFID sysunprecedented opportunities for
tems consist of RFID tags and readThe IoT envisions
existing or whole new manufacturers. The tags attached to the objects
the seamless
ing services and applications to
hold information about the objects,
leverage such advanced interconwhile readers can decipher such
interconnection of the
nections. For example, the connecinformation (including the unique
physical world and the
tivity bet ween smart machines,
IDs) without requiring a line of sight
warehousing systems, and producand report it to the enterprise inforcyberspace and their
tion facilities will enable them to
mation system. Therefore, the readpervasive presence
autonomously exchange informaers can indirectly track the physical
around us.
tion, trigger actions, and control
movement of the tags in real time
each other independently [6].
and thereby that of the objects to
Furthermore, the pervasive senswhich the tags are attached. In
ing ability of IoT systems gives rise
manufacturing, RFID can be adoptto a generation of huge and diverse volumes of data, which
ed in supply-chain management [13], production scheduling
can be utilized to assist optimal decision making on vari[14], parts/vehicle tracking, and so on.
ous aspects of manufacturing activities. The manufacturing data sets are still growing rapidly because the density
Wireless Sensor Networks
of sensing and actuation coverage is still in the early stages
Wireless sensor networks (WSNs) are composed of spatially
of development, and many more IoT devices will be
distributed autonomous nodes that can sense the environdeployed [7]. Cloud computing and big data technology are
ment, conduct computations, and communicate with other
essential and play fundamental roles in managing huge
nodes [9]. The sensor nodes operate in a self-organized,
amounts of manufacturing resources, and they provide
decentralized manner that maintains the best connectivity
highly elastic and scalable services to users, such as the
as long as possible and sends their data via multihop
powerful capabilities for storing, processing, and visualizspreading to the base station. They have to cooperate and
ing manufacturing big data [8]. The results from big data
use collaborative signal- and information-processing techanalytics allow manufacturers to better capture business
niques to fulfill their tasks since a single node is not always
opportunities, readily adapt to changes, and deal with uncapable of sensing the whole environment. However, indicertainty promptly.
vidual nodes are tiny, energy-constrained devices with weak
This article provides an overview of key issues in IoTprocessors and a small amount of memory, which exerts
enabled manufacturing and discusses some potential
significant influence on the design and implementation of
applications. Here, we do not distinguish the IoT from
WSNs. WSNs have a wide prospect of applications in varicyberphysical systems and adopt the IoT as a general conous scenarios of sensing-based manufacturing decision
cept, even though they do have some differences. Also, it
making, with obvious advantages such as flexible deployshould be noted that the research issues discussed are
ment and configuration and convenient wireless integration.
representative rather than complete. Some survey papers
RFID and WSNs represent two complementary technolon the IoT's core technologies can be referenced, such as
ogies [15]. RFID can be used to discover and identify
Ja nua r y 2 01 8

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2018

Contents
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