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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Are Companies Ready For It?

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT): Are Companies Ready For It?

Are Companies Ready For the Industrial Internet of Things?

We’ve all heard about how the consumer version of the internet of things (IoT) will impact our lives. Smart devices in our homes, cars, and cities are already beginning to send and receive data to each other, allowing for unprecedented integration with consumer technologies.

But the implications of this revolution of connectivity extend way behind just smartphones and your home. In fact, it’s about to be applied on an industrial scale to everything from aerospace to mining in ways that people can hardly imagine.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) will pull data from millions of tiny sensors on every piece of industrial equipment fathomable. Companies will harness this data in real-time to create insights and efficiencies on a crazy scale: GE estimates it will help to generate a $10-$15 trillion increase in global GDP over the next 20 years.

But can companies handle the IIoT?

While this all sounds great in theory, the reality is that the transition to a useful IIoT is going to be an ongoing challenge. Very different types of data need to be captured and integrated, and companies will need to find ways to turn huge amounts of data into focused insights.

Bit Stew, from GE Digital, recently commissioned a survey of top IT execs to see if their respective companies were ready for the IIoT.

The survey found that only 30% of companies are currently early adopters of the IIoT, while the other 70% are still in the planning phase. Perhaps more importantly, top IT execs identified the potential barriers to their companies adopting the IIoT, as well as the opportunities that the IIoT can unlock for their operations:

Opportunities

  • 80% of senior IT executives view improving operating efficiency and uptime as the top benefits that IIoT will bring.
  • Other benefits identified: improved operating costs, better uptime, improved asset performance management, and knowledge transfer in the workplace.
  • Larger organizations (1,000+ employees) found improving uptime to be a more compelling benefit than smaller organizations.
  • 70% say that having proven capabilities for data modeling and mapping were more important for a IIoT platform than any other feature.

Barriers to Adoption

  • 64% of senior IT executives said that integrating data from disparate sources and formats, and extracting business value from that data, is the biggest challenge the IIoT presents.
  • Meanwhile, 36% say limited access to the right skills and expertise is the problem.
  • Larger organizations (1,000+ employees) were more likely to struggle with traditional database management and analytics tools (34% vs 12%).
  • 87% say that the overwhelming volume and veracity of data will result in losing valuable business insights.
  • 33% say that businesses without a data management strategy will become marginalized, obsolete, or disappear.

Why is industrial data so complicated?

Industrial data comes from a variety of source types and is often messy. Combine this with its complexity, and that it comes in massive volumes and varied frequencies, and the situation is quite a quagmire for any aspiring adopter.

To enter a truly connected world where data about everything is analyzed instantaneously on an industrial scale, we must first solve these issues around data. It’s only then that the IIoT will show its true potential for business.

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