Forget Consumer IoT—Industrial IoT Will Be The Revolution

Danielle Beurteaux

Recent big news in the IoT-sphere isn’t about intelligent toasters or sentient vacuum cleaners. It’s about the Industrial Internet of Things, which is about to blow us out of the water. Tom  Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, recently renamed his latest company C3 IoT (previously known as C3, the firm focused on energy), with a broadened aim to provide enterprise-level software to a broader range of industries, from utilities to aerospace.

Computer maker Dell also recently launched an industrial IoT environment PC, and GE and Tata Consultancy Services partnered and will start off with GE’s industrial cloud, Predix, which GE launched last summer.

Research from Accenture claims that IIoT could increase GDPs in 20 economies by a total of $10.6 trillion by the year 2030 . That’s based on current IIoT investment trends; with more investment, the potential growth is even greater.

A white paper by IDC and sponsored by SAP, “IoT and Digital Transformation: A Tale of Four Industries,” looked at manufacturing, healthcare, retail, and consumer products and found that “business benefits from IIoT will be realized at different speeds and on different scales.”

They’re calling it Industrie 4.0 in Germany, but regardless of the name, getting from where we are today to a future of ubiquitous IIoT has some hurdles, according to Kai Goerlich, idea director of thought leadership at SAP. Will we be ready?

SAP: How will we make a living?

KG: The last digitization was largely driven by telecommunications. We could view mobility as the first wave of IoT. The difference now is the mobility connected people, and IoT is connecting everything into a large grid, mesh, whatever you want to call it. The danger is job loss. The World Economic Forum had a graph; in highly automated countries, job loss won’t be that high, about a 10% risk. But the U.S. has a 30 % risk. The U.S. is still relatively service heavy with many people in functions as compared to Germany, which has already automated a lot.

IIoT, or Industrie 4.0, in my opinion will lead to a total redefinition of how markets run and economic production without humans. Automation poses the risk that we automate so fast that society can’t adapt. It took us 60 years from the 40’s and 50’s to fully automate operations, and now within 20 years, we have the Internet and mobile. It’s really a very fast speed; within a short lifetime two or three revolutions and our systems are not fast enough to react to it.

SAP: Will business models change?

KG: IIoT is a big game changer for business models. We’re taking out some of the in-between process in the value chain with direct one-to-one consumer sales. The old economy was run on the old sequential value chain. Digitization completely wiped out the value chain.

SAP: How important are data and interoperability?

KG: On the good side, with more sensors in all devices, we could make more sense out of the world. If we can exchange data, have more data points, our picture of the world may be more real time and realistic than in the past. That needs interoperability—make things work together and data exchange and create insights.

The real money is where data is, you can already see this happening. All use cases are basically on the data level. It will be totally ambient; in 20 years everything will talk to us. IoT was invented around 2000, but it won’t be used for much longer. Industries are already defining it differently—remote maintenance, connected, etc.

IIoT will digitize physical assets and make everything connected. Estimates put savings at 50% of fixed assets costs, that’s a big sum. If you just take the top 10 companies in each industry, there’s a lot of money in it. A lot of savings in sharing products and lifecycle maintenance.

For more insight on how IoT is impacting real-world businesses, see The Internet Of Things And Digital Transformation: A Tale Of Four Industries.

 


Danielle Beurteaux

About Danielle Beurteaux

Danielle Beurteaux is a New York–based writer who covers business, technology, and philanthropy. Her work has appeared in The New York Times and on Popular Mechanics, CNN, and Institutional Investor's Alpha, among other outlets.