Most companies are unprepared for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), even though they acknowledge the future of their business depends on it, according to a new report.
Fifty-two percent of large-enterprise executives surveyed by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network expect IIoT to significantly impact business performance and competitiveness in the next three years. However, only 1.5 percent said they have implementation well underway.
The report, “The Impact of Connectedness on Competitiveness,” was based on a survey of 350 global executives, including leaders at Airbus, Embraer, Philips Lighting, Whirlpool and Hitachi.
The lag in IIoT readiness, despite a widespread belief that it will greatly improve operational efficiency, uptime and enterprise growth, sets the stage for a shift among IIoT leaders, the report said.
“That dichotomy suggests we are experiencing the lull before the storm of IIoT transformation,” Dave Murray, head of thought leadership for the BPI Network, said in a statement. “This is an opportunity for real competitive differentiation and advancement.”
The Future of IIoT
Juniper Research predicts there will be more than 46 billion connected IoT devices, sensors and actuators by 2021 -- a 200 percent increase from 2016.
According to Accenture, IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
"The tidal wave that is connectedness and IIoT is building rapidly and it is unavoidable,” Chris Locher, vice president of software development at The Nerdery, said in a statement. "The challenge of the IIoT revolution is that it is accompanied by a great deal of white noise and confusion. How will companies capture those opportunities? How do companies avoid the risk of a failing at an IIoT initiative? How do you find employees with the skill to do it?”
Some 31 percent of executives surveyed said their organizations face a “major skill gap” in IIoT readiness, while another 31 percent said their talent gap is “large, but improving somewhat.”
Just 12 percent of respondents gave their company an “excellent” rating in their capacity to develop and deploy applications that use real-time insights and systems monitoring.
Succeeding in IIoT
The key to moving confidently toward IIoT, Locher suggests, is starting with small, focused efforts or bringing in experts to start building the required skills, behaviors and business models.
Large-scale integrators and other channel partners will be among the biggest IIoT beneficiaries over the next several years, the study predicts. They will likely play a significant role in planning and implementing IIoT at many companies due to the gaps in technical skills and management know-how.
Although less than 2 percent of executives surveyed have an IIoT plan well underway, the majority of respondents are at least moving in that direction. Fifty-seven percent said they are beginning implementation, have pilots underway, or are committed and in the planning stages.
More than one-third (35 percent) of respondents plan to focus their IIoT investments on new products and services, followed by customer touchpoints (29 percent) and manufacturing (23 percent).