Editor's Desk

By Michael Hughes

Writing the future

If mathematics is, as Galileo once claimed, the language with which God wrote the universe, then big data and the Internet of Things will be the language enterprises use to create the successful business models of the future.

This special edition of Industrial Engineer tackles those worlds of big data and the IoT. It comes at a fortuitous time as IISE embarks on its new and improved journey as the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. After all, ISEs are the ones most qualified to make sure all those sensors and systems connect appropriately, gather the right data, and enable new decision-making tools that lead to effective, not willy-nilly, change.

Our four features tackle various aspects of how big data and the IoT will drive value creation, from business to public service to education.

George F. Brown Jr.’s article, “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” examines how the IoT will offer manufacturers new strategic opportunities in business-to-business markets. Inki Kim, Gül E. Okudan Kremer and Brennan Cornell follow with a method of using sentiment analysis to incorporate online reviews into the feedback loop for multigeneration product design. Kim Patel, Sekar Sundararajan, Charalambos Marangos and Emory W. Zimmers Jr. show how big data analysis uncovered the real cost drivers for a transportation maintenance agency. And Kaibo Liu culls information from a special panel at last year’s IIE Annual Conference & Expo to help our academic community design new industrial data analytics courses.

The rest of the issue plays out in a similar vein: The Front Line includes an interview with a Gartner researcher about how the IoT will enable better and faster decisions, along with stories about using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals to improve public transit and how big data is improving vaccine manufacturing. Columnist Paul Engle tackles big data from a management perspective. And Tools & Technologies examines a supply chain tracking solution.

So turn the pages and figure out how ones, zeros, sensors and systems can drive value creation for your organization.

Michael Hughes is managing editor of IIE. Reach him at mhughes@iienet.org or (770) 349-1110.