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Business leaders see new income streams from IIoT.

IIoT could add trillions of dollars to global economy

DUBAI, February 16, 2016

The optimised production processes that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) heralds could add trillions of dollars to the global economy and significantly improve long-term job growth by 2030, a report.

However, while 84 per cent of global business leaders are confident that they could create new income streams from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), 73 percent still hadn’t made concrete plans to do so, added the report entitled “Making the most of the Industrial Internet of Things in the manufacturing industry” from Accenture, a multinational management consulting services company.

Only seven per cent had developed a comprehensive strategy backed by matching investments,

Furthermore, the pace at which manufacturers progress towards smart production will vary greatly, though careful planning can accelerate it.

Companies that successfully extract value from any new technology are not only detailed forward planners, but they also follow a roadmap flexible enough to allow them to change course when circumstances require it and pursue alternative routes to their ultimate destination, said Accenture.

Smart factories on a large scale— distributed, self-organizing, highly automated, and demand-driven—are still years away. But some basic building blocks of smart production are already here. Embedded sensors and control mechanisms now power most shop-floor machinery.

And thanks to the convergence of Operational Technology (OT) with IT, these machines are increasingly connected with production management, manufacturing execution, logistics and enterprise planning systems.

As a result, manufacturers have timely and continuous visibility into the production process. By applying advanced analytics to the data their systems generate, they can also identify and predict performance bottlenecks and make smarter decisions about how to improve factory operations, manage workforce and supply chain risks, and enhance the product design process.

According to Accenture, in the future, manufacturers will reap even greater rewards from the highly automated, end-to-end integration of production that the IIoT enables.

Incoming parts and materials will interact automatically with intelligent machines, driving the cost-effective assembly of customized products.

New product and service offerings that augment physical products with services will tap into new revenue streams. And enhanced connectivity will significantly strengthen customer relationships.

New functionalities

Thanks to the greater visibility, more efficient data utilization, and tighter integration of underlying systems that the IIoT delivers, manufacturers will be able to boost production efficiency and increase both workforce flexibility and product quality, according to the report.

In time, the IIoT will also facilitate the creation of entirely new functionalities: products, processes and services that open new revenue streams, transform business models and drive measurably better outcomes for customers.

According to Accenture, the IIoT will enable industries that collectively account for almost two-thirds of global output to benefit as much from digital transformation as the media and software sectors already have done.

All this will, of course, take time, Accenture highlighted in the report.

The pace of progress

The rate at which manufacturers progress towards smart production can be accelerated by considering the following key factors:

Level of investment

All these transformations come at a price. Modernizing, retrofitting equipment and any new facilities can be a costly proposition. The key to success will be solid business cases, based on a set of use cases, so that the return on investments can be easily identified and measured.

Ability to align OT and IT

Manufacturers that have started the alignment process will be better positioned to take full advantage of intelligent technologies. But some may organize operations, planning and engineering separately, which will make it difficult to integrate processes even if they’ve already adopted technologies that make it easier to integrate supporting IT systems.

Many traditional OT systems are proprietary and closed so significant investment will be needed to facilitate their participation in a larger, open IT ecosystem. It will also be critical to define governance between OT and IT (especially on security policy) early in the process.

Affinity for technology change

Manufacturers will have to embrace new technologies and change their processes in order to reap the benefits of the IIoT. They will require infrastructure that enables them to commit both people and equipment.

Cloud services can accelerate delivery of new types of applications and add-on services. Connected equipment, devices and wearables can help people interact with their machines and work together in new and different ways. Manufacturers who embrace these new technologies quickly and easily will be better positioned to compete.

Speed to reskill workforce

More complex skills such as equipment development, maintenance and repair will be more in demand. New technologies will, of course, allow manufacturers to harvest talent globally and round the clock. But their ability to manage the re-skilling and retraining of their workforce will be a critical determinant of how swiftly they adopt these technologies.

And the use of workforce enablement devices such as wearables, which guide workers remotely based on their experience level, will gain traction.

Agility in deploying industrial security solutions

As industrial environments move to open protocols, wireless sensors and connected operators, and as OT and IT systems integrate, security issues will be amplified. What’s more, resolving them can’t wait for the next software patch. Traditional field devices will need replacing with more sophisticated solutions. And increased vigilance around security will be paramount. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: manufacturing | Accenture | Industrial Internet of Things | IIoT |

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