Written By Rick O’Brien, President of SemperCon.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is on track to change the way businesses work. Enterprises are already going digital—employees are using mobile devices to access information, communicate and collaborate. Just as mobile devices and applications have become ubiquitous, cloud connected sensors, industrial devices, machinery and equipment are also being developed at a rapid rate.
Companies that depend on durable, physical goods to conduct business—from manufacturing, mining and agriculture to healthcare organizations, transportation and logistics—are already realizing the opportunity of the Industrial Internet of Things. In a recent survey of 450 businesses across the world, 30 percent indicated that they already adopted IoT technology. In another, half of the interviewed business leaders indicated IoT as a key priority in their strategic use of technology to win, serve and retain customers.
Whether a business serves consumers or other businesses, IIoT can help with more fully engaging customers, increasing productivity and simplifying internal processes. The productivity gains associated with IIoT enabled business models can be significant. Recent studies have estimated that manufacturers, for instance, can boost productivity as much as 30 percent and reduce maintenance costs by as much as 30 percent with IIoT. Businesses more interested in boosting customer value leverage IIoT solutions in order to commercialize industrial analytics and business intelligence. By taking a ‘big data’ approach and launching product-service hybrid offerings, significant value is extracted from IIoT.
Such solutions produce a large volume and variety of data that IT departments must be prepared to manage. The sheer volume and structure of data collected from hardware devices challenge conventional data storage methods. Businesses that require real-time business process support from IIoT systems will need to scale fast enough to transfer the entire collection of raw data being generated to and from a location.
Industrial IoT solutions’ administrative and user dashboards differ to some extent based on whether they are designed to drive new revenue or promote internal cost savings. Generally, system administrators should be able to control features, manage users, and access real time system diagnostics and reporting via a cloud-based dashboard. Alerts and notifications also play an integral role for IIoT solutions. Well configured user monitoring and alert functions allow business leaders and administrators to keep their fingers on the pulse of their business—supporting user adoption and customer utilization. When developing customer-facing solutions, convenience will be especially critical. Tech buyers value mobility and thus prefer IIoT solutions with mobile accessible user dashboards.
The user interfaces of IIoT apps must present data so that it’s both useful and immediately actionable. Data filtering, predictive and visual analytics can all be used to simplify IIoT data and enable smarter business decision making. Industrial IoT solutions must also grow smarter as users think of innovative ways to apply its business intelligence. Data service exchanges allow IT leaders to extract critical data points from a wider pool of devices and partner with third party data service providers to continuously evolve their IIoT offering.
We are still at a stage where few IT leaders understand the process of developing an Industrial IoT solution. The properties encapsulated above only brush the surface of meaningfully applying IIoT to businesses. This IIoT strategic planning checklist covers 50+ practical and technical IT requirements that should be evaluated when determining how IIoT can evolve your business processes and customer offering.
About the Author
Rick O’Brien is a serial entrepreneur with 20 years experience leading product development, marketing and sales for mobile, hardware and software technology startups and enterprises. Nearly eight years ago he launched Sempercon, a software development firm that specializes in building Internet of Things, mobile and web app solutions for enterprises and startups.