IllumeTALK, Episode 7: Industrial IoT Transforms Manufacturing from Plant Floor to Lighting

Monday, February 25, 2019 By Niki Schillero

In this episode of IllumeTALK, Industrial IoT and Augmented Reality expert, Marci Maynard discusses how advancements in technology are empowering manufacturers to operate smarter, faster and stronger. 

It's clear that Industry 4.0 is a game changer, and that businesses need to be equipped to beat competitors in their local market, as well as worldwide. Get more details on how Industrial IoT and Augmented Reality are making it all possible.

Learn more about Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0 and Augmented Reality by listening to Episode 7 of IllumeTALK now:

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Aaron Woloszyn (AW): Hello everyone and welcome to another episode of IllumeTALK. I recently had the chance to sit down with Marci Maynard, who’s an industrial IoT and AR expert to talk about what’s happening in the industrial world when it comes to these technologies. She has a lot of experience in this space and we covered a lot of content. I think it’s one of our most interesting episodes yet.

Let’s get into it!

Marci, good morning. How are ya?

Marci Maynard (MM): Good morning. It's great to be here. Thank you for having me.

AW: It’s a pleasure! So, you met a fellow Illumetek employee at a networking event last year. And based on our conversation earlier today it sounds like you're pretty involved. Can you tell me a little bit about the organizations that you're involved in?

MM: Sure. So, I actually met Kate, from here at Illumetek. She is the marketing director, correct?

AW: Sales and Marketing Director.

MM: Sales and Marketing Director. Okay. So, first I just have to like give kudos to Kate because she's awesome, I love her!

AW: She is pretty awesome.

MM: I'm so excited that I had the opportunity to meet her at an event. The event was Factur, out of Cleveland, although I'm involved with Factur out of Columbus, OH. Factur focuses mostly on manufacturers. So, it’s sales folks or marketing folks from the manufacturing space.

AW: Okay.

MM: And we get together and do one-on-ones and trade tips and trade connections and trade networks and it's a great place to be.

The second place that I'm highly involved in is Women in Manufacturing. So, Women in Manufacturing has 1200 members throughout the United States – 16 states is where they're located in. They're headquartered out of Cleveland, OH, Independence specifically, and I am working on developing a second chapter for Women in Manufacturing.

AW: That's awesome!

MM: It's very exciting! So, for 2019 that's one of our initiatives. So, there's currently a chapter that resides out of Cleveland. And so, that would be for kind of the northern part of the state. And then we would develop a chapter that would be located for the southern part of the state, which would be like Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati.

AW: Awesome. That's very exciting news!

MM: It's very great.

AW: Can you tell me a little bit about the Women in Manufacturing trip you went on? I know we covered it briefly this morning when I was introducing you to some people here, but it was pretty interesting.

MM: Yeah. So, we went to Master Tool out of Indianapolis during the Summit for Women in Manufacturing. So the tour which was a really great experience and that's a significant part of what Women in Manufacturing does. So, we go to different manufacturers and tour the plants, and then it's also a networking opportunity at the same time. But we get an opportunity to really get a deep dive or an inside look at that company. So, as we were talking about this morning in the meeting, it was a really fun tour.

So that trip was really good.

AW: And the main point of these trips, especially for Women in Manufacturing, correct me if I’m wrong, very educational.

MM: So it's a two-fold. It's networking and then it's dissemination of information to everybody who's involved in the organization. So we talked even on the tour, and this might lead into the next point, we talked a lot about our workforce development and how that particular plant is really struggling and getting the folks that they need in to be able to run their operation. And kind of the V.P. of Operations is actually who gave us our tour and he provided a lot of information on, kind of, his thoughts and ideas around workforce development.

So it's not just learning about what's on the shop floor, but it's really like a transfer of knowledge through the process, too.

AW: Very cool, very cool. And this facility was undergoing, like a lighting retrofit as well as part of their…?

MM: That's correct. I believe the project was done, finalized at the end of 2018. The biggest thing, they were actually very excited about it. Because within under two years the ROI was going to pay for itself. And I think for a company even their size, when they can invest and see an ROI in under two years, like that’s a big deal. And then we talked about this morning as well, safety is a huge piece for them, right?

AW:  Safety, especially in industrial and manufacturing areas, lighting plays a huge part. Everybody thinks you have to hard hats, and glasses, and vests and all of this stuff.

MM: And hard-toed shoes.

AW: Hard-toed shoes. But, you know, if you can’t see where you’re going that’s a bigger issue.

MM: Yeah. Not only that, but just seeing the specific piece that you’re working on, right? And all the details of that. They had a lot of drill bits and pieces that they did, and things that they created. And so, the detail of that inside the machinery is important.

AW: Agreed. Let’s kind of move into that direction then. Let’s talk a little bit about industrial IoT. Tell me a bit about the history of IoT in the manufacturing market.

MM: So, IoT (which is Internet of Things) is new to the world within like the last five years.

AW: It is, yeah.

MM: So, like we talked about this morning, and this might help people who are listening to this: IoT is like Nest. So Nest in the home is a way to control your temperature inside your home and that's in the physical world. It makes it IoT when you connect it to the digital world. So, because it's connected to an application and it's not where you just go over and turn the temperature manually up and down, that's what makes it an IoT device.

AW: That might be the best explanation I've heard of IoT.

MM: Yeah, because it's really simple, right?

AW: And it’s easy to understand.

MM: Yeah. And people get it, right? Because it's something that they've either used or that they've seen other people use in the marketplace. So, industrial IoT is the same exact concept. You're taking things in the physical world and attaching it to the digital world. And we're doing that through the control panels on pieces of equipment. So, we're pulling data out of those control panels and we're attaching it to a dashboard or a mash up within a platform so that a plant manager or someone who oversees operations can fully understand what's happening within their plant.

AW: That's very cool. You know, you can monitor all of your machines.

MM: Yes. And so we've got things like uptime, downtime, vibration analytics for if something isn't running.

AW: Almost like a preventative kind of thing.

MM: Correct. If something isn't running correctly the cost savings can be immense.

AW: Oh, I bet! The downtime in a big manufacturing plant has got to be – got to cost so much money.

MM: Right. So like we talked this morning, the cost is about thirty-six hundred dollars a month. So you could see how you could quickly get an ROI on a product like that.

AW: Do you feel that, at least on the manufacturing side of things, that they are typically faster to adopt this new technology?

MM: Well so, as we talked, again, this morning about this, I think that the reason that manufacturers are adopting more quickly, maybe, than other industries like retail…

AW: Right…

MM: that they have to. This is a world market changer, right? We are in industry 4.0, which means that the world as a whole is transitioning. So, things are going from just being in the physical world to also now being in the digital world. So, years ago they talked about, well not that many years ago, but enough years ago they talked about big data, right? This is what – this is feeding into big data.

It's when you're pulling a massive amount of data off of things that exist in the physical world and making that information makes sense.

AW: Not just pulling data to pull data, you're actually using the data to make decisions to be more efficient.

MM: To make your company, your organization, your plant smarter, faster, cheaper, stronger – all those things you want to be because you've got to beat the competition. And you've got to beat the competition not just in your local market. You have to beat the competition worldwide.

AW: And you don’t want to be left behind by not adopting tech.

MM: Or made obsolete.

AW: Or made obsolete, which would be even worse.

AW: So given what we just spoke about, how has this new technology brought value to the C&I, the commercial and industrial, the manufacturing market? What have you seen?

MM: So, really what it's doing is allowing plant managers and folks who are in operations to understand what's going on in their facility at a level that they've never been able to understand before. Another example that we've already spoken about that I think is good to talk about here is how IoT is even coming to the vehicle level. So, like a Mercedes-Benz is no longer a piece of equipment that you just drive off the lot and it's no longer connected. It's now a very connected piece of equipment that that manufacturer can drive a multitude of information about, right?  And that can feed into design. It can feed into production. It can feed into development. It can feed into future enhancements, right? There's a multitude of things that you can gain from just having access to this information.

AW: Yeah, there’s two way communication between the company and its machines.

MM: Right.

AW: I think Tesla kind of does the same thing, where they do, like over the air updates to their vehicles and owners don't even know it.

MM: And this is happening not just in the auto industry, it's happening across pretty much every industry that manufactures something. You know, I think another piece to talk about here that's good is augmented reality. Like. we started the conversation with augmented reality allows for manufacturers to train at a much more cost effective rate using some sort of glass, you know like a hollow lens or something that allows for augmented reality information to be implanted on goggles that you're wearing. And so, you don't have to pull supervisors or other folks off of the line to instruct someone or train someone in what it is that you're teaching them to do. Another piece, like we talked about allows for people to use A.R., a technician on site that maybe gets paid 35 or 40 dollars an hour can communicate with a resident expert back at the office, who maybe gets like a hundred dollars an hour, and then there's a cost savings to that company.

AW: Yeah, I can't imagine the amount of efficiencies this is creating.

MM: Yeah, it's just – it’s huge. It's a big deal. And there's ways to draw, the user interface is awesome and you can draw on the screen and all kinds of things, and so annotations, things like that. Yeah, the technology is just allowing for, again like we already talked about smarter, faster, cheaper, stronger companies, and that's what we're looking to build.

AW: What would you say are some of the biggest hurdles you see when it comes to adopting this kind of tech, this kind of IoT, from the manufacturer's point of view?

MM: Well, from the manufacturer's point of view is that it's not uncomplicated technology. And most of the manufacturers don't have resident IoT engineers on staff. And I mean a few do. When you start to get into the world-sized organizations, you know manufacturers, but the manufacturers that are more just stateside don't have that kind of resource in-house. With our expertise, our combined expertise, we can go in and offer things to manufacturers that they don't have in-house to allow them to more fully understand how to get this implemented into their plants. And they don't have to be the expert. We become their resident engineers, their resident experts into implementing this process into their systems.

AW: So, let's say someone has a facility and they're looking to bring in, you know, IoT, new efficiencies, kind of that overall control. What – you know, whether it be lighting or their machinery – what are some steps you would suggest that they take?

MM: Talk to people who are the experts. Because the thing about technology is that a GM or a V.P., Senior V.P. of Operations, they have their own world, with their own set of problems, with their own things that they have to attack every single day. And the capacity to be able to also attack these technology issues, whether it be lighting, whether it be industrial IoT, isn't within their space or capacity or timeframe or all of those things. So, they really need that expert, that resident expert, to come in and offer up the pieces, the steps, of how to get them from A-to-Z. And also to walk them through that. And so, the initial steps are just connecting into a resident expert and then the next steps are understanding it, so through demonstrations and educational pieces – I have all kinds of presentations that I can provide information around what is industrial IoT, what is industry 4.0, how is it affecting the world. I have all of those white papers behind me. And then once we've kind of created an understanding, then the next steps are walking through implementation. So figuring out exactly what pieces of equipment they have, what assets are on the floor, and then how we're going to connect up to those – what data we want to derive from it. So creating that plan and then actually implementation.

AW: Right. So, basically finding the right partner with the expertise, having them help you come up with you know, “what’s your goal?

MM: Strategy.

AW: Strategy. What’s your goal? Strategy, etc. And then figuring out what ways best work for the end user to actually accomplish those goals.

MM: Yeah. So like a piece of what we can even offer is creating a smart manufacturing strategy plan for that manufacturer so that they know kind of like the next one to five years, what is their roadmap? What does the architecture of the system look like? Where are they headed? How is it going tie into multiple enterprise level systems? And are we going to move into smart connected products? And things like that so we can help them develop that roadmap, as well.

AW: Awesome. So let's talk about 2019. What are you most excited about this year?

MM: So this year, 2019, is going to be a huge year for a lot of people who combine technology and engineering on multiple levels. So we've talked about, you know, even with Illumetek, we've talked about several opportunities where we can connect IoT into lighting, and the information that we can derive from it. We've talked about, you know, how just gathering information and then putting it in a way that makes sense for people to be able to easily make major decisions that affect the outcome of a company or the outcome of production for a company is a big deal for 2019. And so there's a lot of excitement around it because I think we're just going to see an explosion. That’s going to be fun to watch. And fun to be involved in.

AW: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Marci, I think that's a good spot to stop.

MM: I have had a really great time!

AW: I'm glad! I appreciate you making the trip up here to talk with me today.

MM: I value our relationship that we've built with Illumetek. I think there's going to be a lot of great things that are going to come this year with the relationship and I appreciate the time.

AW: I agree. Well, thank you again and I will see you very soon!

MM: Sounds great. Thanks!

AW: And thank you all for listening to another episode of IllumeTALK. As always, you can reach out to anyone here at Illumetek on LinkedIn, or by going to our website,

And to stay on top of the latest IllumeTALK podcast news, be sure to follow us on Instagram, @IllumeTALK.

IllumeTALK is a production Front Porch Media. I'd like to thank our producer, Brigid Coyne, audio engineers Dave Douglas and Eric Koltnow. To learn more about this and other podcasts, visit

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