Research from global satellite communications services provider Inmarsat reveals the rapid ascendency of the industrial IoT (IIoT), along with its capacity to boost revenues and the obstacles that exist to greater adoption.
Overall, businesses expect the IIoT to boost revenues by a total of $154 million.
The survey, conducted by market researchers Vanson Bourne, focused on understanding the ways that the IIoT is being adopted by organisations from the agriculture, energy, maritime, mining, and transport sectors, and the role of satellite connectivity as an IIoT enabler.
Seven hundred and fifty respondents from across the globe, with a combined turnover of $1.16 trillion, offered insights into their use of, attitude to, and predictions for the future of the IIoT within their organisations and industries.
The research found that IIoT adoption is accelerating rapidly. With over one-fifth of businesses reporting full adoption and a further quarter claiming they are in the trial stages of IIoT deployment.
Among IIoT drivers, identifying cost savings (45 percent), monitoring productivity (44 percent), improving health and safety (42 percent), and monitoring environmental changes (40 percent) are the most significant, according to the survey’s respondents. However, energy and mining showed lower levels of adoption than the transport and maritime sectors.
Skills and security
A lack of in-house skills was cited as the top barrier to IIoT deployment, with many organisations identifying a need for greater expertise in security (56 percent), data analysis (48 percent) and technical support (42 percent). On top of this, many feel they lack the strategic know-how to develop, manage, and deploy IIoT solutions, found the survey.
Seventy-four percent of businesses are now using external partners to bridge the skills gap and implement IIoT strategies.
External cyber attacks ranked highest when it came to the security challenges associated with IIoT solutions, with 50 percent of participants citing them as a major concern. Given the risks, 45 percent of businesses are focused on training employees in IIoT security and 65 percent recognise that their cybersecurity practices should be stronger.
Investment in IIoT technologies is certainly on the up, found the survey. Overall, eight percent of IT budget has been designated for the IIoT over the next three years. Businesses expect this to create a significant ROI, including a 10 percent reduction in costs and five percent increase in turnover.
However, the report warns that the varying levels of investment threaten the potential of the IIoT to revolutionise the global supply chain, saying that, “If one link in the chain does not have sufficient capacity to gather and transfer data, that can interrupt the flow of information and dramatically reduce the efficiency of the supply chain.”
Generally, the larger the organisation, the greater the proportion of IT budget that will be invested, suggesting that companies that some might assume to be less agile than others are actually committing themselves most to the technology.
Commenting on the findings, Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise, said:
Data generated by IIoT infrastructure is expected particularly to bring greater transparency to the global supply chain, allowing businesses to automate processes, reduce operational waste, and speed up the rate of production, leading to higher revenues and lower costs.
“However, many businesses are struggling with security, skills, and connectivity challenges in large scale IIoT deployments. Over half (56 percent) require additional cybersecurity skills and 34 percent don’t yet have access to the connectivity they need.”
Internet of Business says
IIoT adoption is ultimately leading to better decision-making, increased internal visibility of data, and greater supply chain insight.
However, organisations need to focus on developing data strategies to foster effective sharing, analysis and security, to ensure that they achieve their goals.
For many businesses, the IIoT has become a key differentiator against their competitors, allowing them to demonstrate innovation, insight, and effectiveness that others may struggle to match.
As companies across manufacturing, agriculture, energy, maritime, mining, transport, and other sectors, strive to implement IIoT technologies effectively, they must overcome the skills gaps and security challenges that come with them – identifying suitable partners that understand their business needs and ethos, and which can provide the right technology to match.