Today, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is ushering in a new era of productivity and efficiency for industries across the globe. Yet, despite decades of use among some industrial players, IIoT can still seem like an emerging technology.
As is often the case with the adoption of new technologies, the road to acceptance has been long. However, while some challenges continue to exist for engineers, the number of IIoT deployments is steadily growing. So, where does that leave IIoT and what does the future hold for IoT systems overall?
A slow start to adoption
Given its revolutionary impact on manufacturing, IIoT was initially anticipated to be rapidly adopted within the industrial space. In 2015, industry analysts predicted that come 2020, the market for connected devices would be anywhere between 50 billion and 100 billion units. Today, the forecast has fallen to a more conservative 20 billion or 30 billion units. The drop in expectations comes, in part, as one of IIoT’s prime uses – predictive maintenance – has proved much harder to scale than manufacturers initially expected.
Manufacturers struggled to integrate the new technology into their existing operational systems. As a result, in 2018, a survey of more than 600 high-tech executives by Bain & Company revealed that industrial clients were less enthused about predictive maintenance than they were just two years ago.
This kind of levelling of expectations is nothing new in the world of emerging technologies, but with 90% of businesses still in the planning phase, early predictions appear to have really missed the mark.
Current expectations and the future of IIoT
Despite initial growing pains, most industry analysts and pundits alike remain optimistic about the future of IIoT adoption. In particular, Gartner, Inc. forecasts that the enterprise and automotive IoT market will grow 21% to 5.8 billion endpoints in 2020. While by the end of 2019, it will be up 21.5%, with 4.8 billion endpoints expected to be in use.
According to the report, building automation will be the segment with the largest growth rate in 2020 (42%), followed by the automotive and healthcare sectors (31% and 29% respectively).
So far, their predictions appear to be holding true. IoT.nxt’s Terje Moen, having overseen the implementation of our unique technology solution across multiple verticals, notes that Smart Buildings solutions – to facilitate effective, efficient building management – stands out as the most in-demand amongst client ecosystems.
But, what exactly is an ‘endpoint’?
What is an IoT endpoint?
Essentially, an endpoint is a physical computing device that performs a task as an integral part of the interconnected ecosystem. These can be simple sensors or embedded devices within more complex environments. So, in the case of IoT, endpoints are the things that are connected to each other.
Examples of endpoints could include:
- Smart Meters
- Machinery, e.g. washing machine
The challenges facing IIoT adoption today
Ultimately, IoT extends beyond the commercial applications we talk about so frequently, or the smart devices changing the way we live. The technology being rolled out has huge potential and is set to change where and how businesses function in the future. So why isn’t it being adopted quicker? It comes down to a number of challenges, but what truly stands in the way of IoT adoption – particularly within the industrial space – are these five key factors:
1. Complexity of the technology
As is the case with the internet itself, IoT can be difficult to comprehend given it’s flattening effect. So, while the technology may be alluring for manufacturers it is so broad in scope that it can be hard for many companies to utilise at scale. Consequently, navigating the intricacies of IoT is holding some enterprises back in the planning phase of deployment. With roughly 3,000 IoT startups globally, it can also be difficult for manufacturers to choose an appropriate solution provider.
2. Lack of standards leading to ‘too many’
A lack of clearly defined standards has lead to the development of too many. Currently, there are over 400 standards – and growing. When you look across different vertical markets, this list grows even more as applications become increasingly more niche. For manufacturers, this serves to only generate confusion and take up more time in the initial development phase of implementation.
3. Security and privacy implications
Arguably one of the greatest concerns among customers is security and privacy. Increased connectivity and data sharing can give way to network vulnerabilities, cyber-crime and data breaches. So, since IoT devices communicate automatically, security as well as privacy are core concerns among manufacturers.
4. Expense and ROI concerns
Implementing IoT infrastructure is typically expensive, making ROI crucial for most corporations. For businesses, the cost of buying, installing and maintaining a robust IoT solution can be hard to justify. Especially since, in most instances, IoT solutions take years to fully establish. Companies want to know they will get good returns from such a huge investment and that in itself can be difficult to determine.
5. System integration and data overload
Many IIoT solutions are custom made or vendor-defined, this can pose a challenge for manufacturers as the data being collected may not be easily accessible or understandable. For data insights to be effective, the information collected by IIoT needs to be relevant to the customer and not overload them with unnecessary information.
Breaking barriers with bespoke IIoT solutions
IoT.nxt’s bespoke RaptorTM software offers smart solutions to the problems currently hindering the widespread adoption of IIoT technologies. From enabling smart control at the edge to activating true interoperability throughout your ecosystem, RaptorTM offers a unique solution to many of the issues manufacturers associate with IIoT technologies.
A true end-to-end provider
IoT.nxt understands the complexities manufacturers face in establishing IIoT technologies within their existing systems and procedures. So, we work directly with your business to develop strategies and implementation roadmaps that align with your business goals. No two businesses are the same and we’re focused on solving the unique industry challenges of individual clients.
No rip and replace
A lack of standards in the IIoT market has left many corporations cautious of IoT integration for fear it will waste time ripping and replacing their existing systems. Yet, IoT.nxt overlays it’s solution onto any device, process, or system to ensure seamless integration. Better still, our agnostic technology reduces unnecessary downtime by integrating seamlessly with current legacy systems.
Since the IoT.nxt solutions exist concurrently with existing systems, the cost and implementation time typically associated with IIoT technologies does not apply. We can reduce associated costs by implementing our solution in slices, with little to no disruption to existing systems. Whether it’s a building, farm or base station, our RaptorTM software is geared towards rapid deployment.
Ensured data security
With IoT.nxt, manufacturers don’t have to turn away from smart IIoT technology due to security concerns. We protect what isn’t seen, granting peace of mind while simultaneously monitoring and collecting data to optimise connected assets.
As our Solution Design Engineer, Zahir Mamoojee, says “The RaptorTM enables these benefits by acting as a single gateway to the IoT cloud. By gearing security efforts towards that single gateway, it is possible to secure your information that has been transmitted to the cloud.”
Bespoke data generation
RaptorTM was designed with a specific set of protocol to only generate relevant data insights applicable to you and your systems. Our solution will set thresholds to alert you when there are anomalies, instead of just offering endless streams of data. No matter how rugged or remote the landscape, we can action change where it matters most to your business.
The best of IIoT with IoT.nxt solutions
While the technology landscape will always be blurry, companies that make IIoT a corporate initiative today can start moving toward greater successes in the near future. From schools to base stations, the IoT.nxt solution unlocks real-time, condition-based monitoring, predictive maintenance and self-healing system design. Optimise every corner of your ecosystem and opt for a true end-to-end provider.
Speak with our expert team today to see how we could help your operations.