Most businesses aren't ready for the industrial IoT: report

Executives around the world are expecting big things from the industrial internet of things (IIoT), according to a report released today by the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network.

But most of them aren’t ready for it.

BPI said 52% of executives at large companies expect the IIoT to have a “significant or major” impact on their industry within three years, and 41% of executives at all companies have similar expectations. Moreover, 55% of those polled said the IIoT is already gaining adoption within their industries, either in pilot programs or larger-scale deployments.

But only 1.5% of respondents at large companies said they “have a clear vision with implementation well underway,” while 57% are beginning to implement IIoT systems, have launched pilots or plan to move forward as they plot their strategies.

The report was based on a survey of 350 executives around the world from companies such as Airbus, Philips Lighting, Whirlpool and Hitachi. It was developed by the BPI Network in partnership with the CMO Council, Penton’s IoT Institute and The Nerdery, a digital strategy and software engineering firm.

“For industrial companies, staying competitive requires embracing IIoT,” said Brian Buntz, editor of IoT Institute, in a press release. “There really is no plan B. Implementing IIoT, however, means not just navigating uncharted waters, but also keeping track of an array of technologies, workforce challenges, security concerns and unprecedented business considerations.”

Of those polled, 35% said they plan to focus their IoT investments on new products and services, followed by customer touchpoints (29%) and manufacturing (23%). The top benefits of the IIoT were seen to be more cost-efficient operations (47% of respondents), product and service differentiation (36%) and improved customer engagement and satisfaction (34%).

Security and data privacy were viewed as top concerns in the segment, followed by the cost and complexity of IIoT adoption.

While some analysts are skeptical about how large a role 5G will play in the IoT, most agree that the IIoT will begin to gain significant traction over the next few years as connectivity comes to a wide variety of devices. Overall, wireless sensing, tracking and control equipment and associated services will reach $35 billion over the next five years for industrial automation, agriculture, construction and related markets, market research firm On World predicted a few months ago.