The industrial internet of things (IIoT) is big news. And it’s set to add around half a trillion dollars to the UK economy by 2030. But just what exactly is it?
Also known as the Industrial Internet, the fourth industrial revolution, and Industry 4.0, the IIoT harnesses industrial technologies, processes, physical objects, and services to create an interconnected system that monitors and shares information. And, just like the internet did in the 1990s, the IIoT is set to change the world as we know it.
With modern technologies (e.g. cloud, big-data, sensors, automation, etc.) primed to capture and communicate data like never before, ultimately, the IIoT will lead to improved problem-solving, greater efficiencies, superior business intelligence, and cost savings.
Here are just some of the benefits of the IIoT
- Reduced downtime. The bringing together of operational and informational technology can lead to improved insights and reduced downtime. Moreover, predictive maintenance can generate savings of up to 12% over scheduled repairs, leading to a 30% reduction in maintenance costs and a 70% cut in downtime from equipment breakdowns.
- Boost productivity. The Industrial Internet, in its very essence, creates a system that integrates complex machines, software programs, and sensors to analyse data better and increase productivity.
- Better customer service. The IIoT provides deep insights in real time; allowing businesses to predict the cost risk and performance of assets. And, by acting on this information, companies can react faster and improve customer service.
- Improved quality. Quality problems can be identified sooner, resulting in fewer bad parts or products and speedier fixes.
- Reduced staff costs. As technologies improve, it will be able to deliver better levels of quality, performance, and productivity. As such, organisations will need less human supervision and intervention.
- New revenue streams. Freed from the burden of repetitive, mundane tasks, your valuable programmers, technicians, engineers and IT staff are free to prioritise elsewhere and – with improved businesses insights available – get on with work that drives improvement and opens up new opportunities.
What can you do to stay competitive and get ready for the fourth industrial revolution?
Conduct an audit
A robust inventory of your current technologies, data, and processes is essential when it comes to identifying what you need, and which legacy arrangements can be used to support your future vision.
Develop a strategy
While most companies are aware of the IIoL, and the impact is could have on their organisation, the reality is that the majority haven’t yet developed a comprehensive strategy. Get ahead of the competition by putting a plan in place to establish how your business will redesign its operating model for the IIoT and set out the goals you want to achieve.
Once you have established a plan, invest now in the skills, training, processes, and organisational changes that make the IIoT possible. While it is understandable that business leaders might want to follow the trend rather than be a trailblazer, this approach could see you lose out to those brave enough to seize new opportunities first.
Aim for interoperability
One factor slowing down the advancement of the IIoT is a lack of interoperability between devices and systems. Different protocols and architectures cause headaches for most IT departments, so, rather than cobbling different applications together, consider using an integrated service manager solution to make large-scale improvements to your organisation.
Move to the cloud
Despite developments in the cloud giving SMEs access to previously unaffordable software, security concerns have thwarted its adoption, with many businesses preferring to keep their business-critical information in a relatively closed environment. But it’s impossible to obtain the benefits of IIoT without making the switch. Moreover, with robust encryption now available, could-based SaaS is very often safer than storing your valuable data on site.
Improve access to information
Industry 4.0 doesn’t follow conventional operational patterns. Instead, more and more employees will be working flexibly and remotely. And this applies to more than just engineers. As such, instant access to real-time company data is crucial – anytime, anywhere, from any device.
While the IIoT promises to deliver enormous benefits, as with any technological evolution, it will also cause disruption. So, it’s vital that service-led companies act now to capitalise on improved operational performance – or risk being left behind.
To find out more about how we can help your business prepare for the IIoT, speak to a member of our team on 01942 261 671 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.