There is no escaping the barrage of industry news and research on the Industrial IoT. The Industrial Internet revolution is here and promises to open up new opportunities for value from improving asset performance, customer service and operational efficiency to finding additional revenue opportunities through new product and service offerings.
And as the Industrial Internet continues to gain momentum in the marketplace, conversations are increasing around key areas that companies need to address to be successful and capitalize on the benefits that the IoT presents for competitive advantage and revenue potential. Today, senior executives are gathering in San Diego, CA for Industry of Things World USA to address many of these areas such as how to monetize the Industrial Internet and leverage IoT to boost the bottom line; changing business models; defining strategy for all of the data coming from connected products and devices; tackling the issue of data privacy and security; operational challenges; developing secure ecosystems; industry standards and more.
It is clear that most recognize the advantages of leveraging the IoT in industrial settings. In a recent Industry of Things World USA survey, more than 200 leaders from manufacturers across various industries were surveyed and the majority of respondents revealed that gaining competitive advantage and opening up new revenue channels are the biggest opportunities for IoT. IoT implementation was also cited as high on their company’s agenda and strategic outlook for the next five years.
However, the survey also revealed that companies struggle with implementing IoT projects and highlighted these top three challenges:
1. Uncertain ROI/lack of business case
2. Data security and privacy concerns
3. Lack of skilled workers to support new IoT products and services
For those on the IoT journey, the challenges may seem daunting. There are many strategic choices that must be made including reassessing design principles for product development now that smart, connected products involve sensors and connectivity; and taking a more comprehensive look at organizational and technology infrastructure and its ability to support an IoT strategy. And while the survey highlighted that many companies have in-house capabilities to implement IoT projects, many turn to external partners* for support implementing IoT projects.
Implementing an IoT strategy affects every corner of an organization from both an operational and structural standpoint. Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter and PTC CEO Jim Hepplemann, who are co-presenting a special keynote at the Industry of Things World USA event, have collaborated in a multi-year research project to understand the impact of smart, connected products on the market. They co-authored a Harvard Business Review article “How Smart Connected Products are Transforming Companies” that addresses how smart connected products and the IoT are impacting companies’ strategy and overall organizational structure. In this article, they highlight how smart, connected products change the work of virtually every function within the company and also identify entirely new emerging functions such as a unified data organization, Dev-ops and customer success management to address some of the challenges that the IoT presents.
The Industrial Internet is transforming the manufacturing industry and the number of connected industrial devices grows each day. For market adoption to continue to accelerate, the need for discussions and insights on these key topics will continue as organizations look for best practices and successful use cases to refine their IoT strategy and execution.
*PTC is listed in the survey as one of the top three companies implementing IoT technologies successfully.