The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) continues to be a hot topic of discussion throughout the manufacturing community. With the promises it offers and the potential to streamline processes, many manufacturers are excited about this concept. However in a new report released by Genpact Research Institute, 81% of business executives strongly believe that the adoption of the IIoT will be vital for their companies future success. Unfortunately it has been found that only 25% have a concise IIoT strategy while other businesses don’t have a clear plan in place.
173 senior executives from manufacturing companies around the world participated in this new study. From the data, it still seems as though many manufacturers can’t find the right map to help them take advantage of what the IIoT has to offer. Some are concerned about opening up more of their business to the internet, while other struggle with aging equipment. We will be walking you through the main points of this new report to get a better handle on where exactly the IIoT stands in the current manufacturing industry.
Out of the 25% of business that have a clear cut IIoT strategy, only 24% of these companies are happy with the execution of their strategy. Generally, high tech companies are seeing slightly better results when compared to older, more traditional businesses. One of the main things holding these businesses back is data security at 51% and privacy at 39%. Privacy and cyber security have stayed on the top of the list of concerns ever since the IIoT’s inception.
The reason for concern is simple. If businesses connect more of their systems and servers to the internet, the easier it will be for cyber criminals to access this information. With cyber security lacking not only in manufacturing but around the world, spanning from major governments down to the individual level, businesses are not confident in their ability to protect their private information.
Beyond cyber security, 36% of participants are struggling with legacy systems that are not inherently able to connect with other systems via the IIoT. There are sensors and new motors that can be implemented into these legacy systems but they do not come cheap and are less reliable than newer equipment. Many businesses don’t have the capital on hand to throw away these older machines and purchase and entire facilities worth of new equipment. There is the potential that the IIoT enabled machinery could provide a decent ROI, but the initial investment could be out of reach.
Another serious concern is insufficient skills among IT staff and the inability to do fast experiments at 34%. The skills gas has been spoken about a lot, especially in manufacturing. The average age of an employee working in a manufacturing facility continues to rise and a majority of younger generations like millennials aren’t actively seeking a career in manufacturing. As manufacturing becomes more connected, these businesses need the skills millennials and other tech-savvy generations have to offer. This lack of interest is mainly blamed on the stigma that is associated with manufacturing as they perceive the industry to be ‘dark, dangerous and dirty’ work. However, as this report shows, IT skills are high up on the list of what manufacturers need in their workforce.
With the IIoT promising manufacturers the ability to grow and innovative like never before, businesses can’t ignore this concept. Yet the immaturity of the technology is holding back companies as they wait and see how other businesses implement their systems before they act. This could prove to be either a great idea or one that could leave them behind the curve for years to come. Those companies that act now could have a head start on the 4th industrial revolution but could face unexpected hurtles alone as they would be the pioneers in essentially unexplored territory. As the IIoT continues to mature, cyber security becomes more reliable and businesses cultivate the right IT skill set, one thing is certain, connectivity will inevitably be the manufacturers greatest tool.