Reducing energy costs and increasing security – two of the reasons why industry is turning to the Industrial Internet of Things, according to the latest report from Strategy Analytics.
Monitoring machines and increasing their lifespan, optimizing processes and supply chains and ultimately developing new business models using big data, machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI): The Internet of Things (IoT) offers companies many opportunities. In industry, applications in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) such as asset tracking, predictive maintenance and digital twins are high on the agenda. What challenges and advantages do companies identify and what have they already implemented? The latest IIoT report from Strategy Analytics shows that the IIoT is gaining ground in industry, but it’s not yet mainstream.
PROMISING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE IIOT
For the report, Strategy Analytics surveyed 1,200 companies in the UK, the US, Germany and France. According to the market researchers, the opportunities and advantages offered by the IIoT are promising: The IIoT can replace manual processes with automatic, digital ones. This makes stocktaking superfluous if the management software is always up to date anyway. Networked devices or machines report in time for maintenance. Breakdowns occur less frequently and errors are rectified more quickly. Productivity and production quality increase. With digital twins, IT managers use virtual machines to test innovations first so that they don’t disrupt live operation. And finally, the new technology also helps to optimize the material flow: With asset tracking, users know in advance whether the urgently required material or raw material delivery will arrive on time and can optionally adjust the production process.
SIX REASONS WHY COMPANIES HESITATE
So why do companies hesitate when it comes to implementing an IIoT solution? The market researchers have identified six reasons.
1. Manufacturing companies like to hold on to their machine inventory. Even if the machinery is so outdated - as long as everything does its job, nothing is replaced, because the purchasing costs are enormous.
2. Wired network solutions are favored, because they are considered to be more secure against breakdowns and external attacks and can easily be connected to other company IT systems.
3. An IIoT project has to be financed. Those in favor suggest experimenting with proof of concept and trial runs. They show the advantages and make a concrete cost-benefit calculation possible.
4. The IT skills required to carry out an IIoT project are lacking. That includes know-how about system architecture and production environment, hardware as well as their implementation, as well as about servers and analysis tools.
5. The fact that the IoT providers market is still not consolidated makes it difficult to find the right solution. Companies face a multitude of technologies and options.
6. The security of an IoT solution affects all the components, from the device to the entire workflow to data storage, processing and analysis. Protecting the production line is the top priority. In the worst-case scenario, attackers could intervene in the production process and bring it to a standstill.
FIRST STEPS TOWARDS THE IIOT
But how does the IIoT actually prove its worth for companies that are already using it? The market researchers identified three specific applications:
- The technology is used to switch light, heating or air conditioning on and off.
- It tracks and monitors machines, materials and raw materials, thus protecting them from wear, damage or theft.
- Networked machines help to control and optimize the production chain.
This means that, so far, two thirds of the companies surveyed are using IIoT to reduce costs. In order to address the concerns regarding security and costs, providers need to give comprehensive support, from selecting and implementing the right solution, to operating it according to individual needs. The applications should be both easy and quick to use and secure.
And Telekom offers complete end-to-end solutions here, in other words, consulting, sensors, connectivity and device management, solutions and services, all from a single source. One advantage of the solution is that existing machines can also be easily retrofitted with mobile communications. Experienced experts advise companies on their path to the IIoT. They start with a proof of concept and eventually test their IIoT solution in a field test. This step by step approach means costs remain in view and the benefits in focus. And Deutsche Telekom guarantees data protection and data security, according to the strict rules of the EU’s GDPR.
IoT Marketing Communication Manager
Pamela Buchwald has been part of the Telekom cosmos since 2016 and is very familiar with the Internet of Things. From general IoT trends to industry know-how and connected mobility, the blog highlights exciting topics related to connected things.