In the last 15 years the Internet has completely changed business to consumer industries such as retail, media and finance. In the next decade the Internet of Things revolution will continue to change our world but with different industries. These industries include energy, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and other industrial sectors. The Industrial Internet of Things will change how people work and how machines and humans interact.
The Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT will increase the reach of the internet in unprecedented ways. It will allow us to monitor and control aspects of the physical world such as machines, factories and infrastructure which will potentially have a similar impact on the world as the first Industrial Revolution did. However, the IIoT is still in its infancy, many factors must play out before IIoT reaches the capacity of the first Industrial Revolution.
To assess the conditions that must exist for the IIoT revolution the World Economic Forum's IT Governors launched an research initiative to evaluate the current environment. This research developed a framework and conducted numerous focus groups, interviews, and surveys with experts. The following is their findings on the current industrial Internet of Things landscape and the trajectory of this trend.
Industrial Internet of Things Research Overview
The extensive research concludes that IIot is indeed a disruptive force. Just like the Internet Revolution created a thousands of new companies such as Facebook and Google, the Industrial internet will change many current industries. Just like with the internet revolution the majority of organizations today cannot fathom the changes to come and ignore impeding risk of being left behind.
The Benefits of Industrial Internet
The value that's created by the IIot will be in the massive volumes of data collected from connected products, the increased ability to make automated decisions and take actions in real time. The core business opportunities will be concentrated in the four following areas:
1. Greatly improved operation efficiency, such as imported uptime and asset utilization, through predictive maintenance and remote management.
2. Newly connected ecosystems that fuse software platforms that blur traditional boundaries.
3. The appearance of an outcome economy, powered by software-drive services, innovations in hardware, and the increased visibility into processes, customers, products, and partners.
4. A partnership between humans and machines which will result in unprecedented levels of productivity.
The research shows that the Industrial Internet will increase growth in productivity by presenting new opportunities to people to upgrade their skills and take on new types of jobs that will be created. A large majority of executives surveyed believe that the growing use of digital labor in the form of smart sensors, intelligent assistants and robots will transform skills and focus of the workforce of the future.
What Preparations Should My Business Take to be Ready for the IIoT?
To capitalize on short term and long term opportunities that will result in the upcoming changes researchers recommend taking the following actions:
1. A Growing Importance of Security
Technology providers need to start to inventory and share their best security practices. Ideally they should establish a global security commons. Providers should strive to combine their efforts to demonstrate the security measures that are crucial to our future. With more data there is the risk of greater data breeches. Focus on taking measures to create a culture of security in which the whole organizations takes this issue seriously.
2. Implement a Future Minded Business Strategy
Organizations should consider their current business strategy which is mostly likely NOT taking full advantage of the latest developments in the Industrial Internet. Business leaders will need to identify consultants and partners who will help them develop future minded strategies. Companies that are completely new to the Industrial Internet will need to identify one or two relevant pathfinder applications that will be piloted in the next 6 months to create the necessary momentum and learning.
3. Consider the societal implications of digital infrastructure
Large companies will need to push policy makers to re-examine current data protection regulations in order to increase security and streamline these regulations. Often government organizations are not at the forefront of technological innovation so businesses must be wary of the necessity of increased security legislation.
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