IIoT promises to transform the industrial landscape. Customers expect the industrial product usage experience to match the retail, such as the Apple iPhone or Amazon shopping. So, when customers engage with machines, they expect equally intuitive and seamless experiences.
For example, a doctor’s interaction with a medical device that helps conduct surgeries is expected be as seamless as using an iPhone. Or, take the case of drilling operations in the outback of an oil field, every machine the operator works with is expected to be customized to the wear and tear conditions analyzed, designed, and manufactured for a particular work area or situation. Made once and used by all is a relic now.
With those being the expectations, how close are we to realizing the future? These are the trends of what’s to come in the next few quarters.
Trend 1: IT and Operational Technology (OT) is Converging, IIoT Is Playing the Matchmaker
Convergence means industrial machines and IT can now communicate with each other and with us less acrimoniously. This means machines won’t break down and cause delays, and front line executives will be freer to pursue greater aspirations. For decades, OT has been a closed loop system. There was stiff resistance (and there continues to be) to open up the factory floor data to the internet world. This is partly triggered by security fears. That mindset is changing at a fast pace.
IIoT is propelling this convergence with the wide availability of low power Ethernet and wireless communication devices. And, the introduction of standard protocols such as IEC 60950 and IoT-specific operating systems such as RTOS and RIOT.
Trend 2: IIOT is Enabling Product Manufacturers to Generate a New Line of Revenue Streams
IIoT has made software-controlled machine configurations more pervasive today. This is giving manufacturers immense flexibility to customize their offerings. As a result, product managers at both large and medium scale industries are developing niche service solutions for specific markets without having to develop a separate or unique product for those markets.
For the longest time, we’ve heard of mass individualization of products but haven’t been able to realize the potential until now. With software-enabled controls and a monitoring ability in place, manufacturers are beginning to build custom service offerings and are creating brand new revenue streams that just did not exist before. For instance, OTIS Elevators can sell a predictive maintenance package with each elevator sale. OTIS isn’t just product manufacturer now; it in turn has a bigger role to play in making a building smart and energy-efficient. As a result, OTIS can create avenues for a wider role as well as a new support-based revenue stream.
Being closely involved in the customer’s day-to-day life makes the product manufacturer more visible. This gives companies the chance to build a stronger brand loyalty by responding to product breakdowns more quickly and efficiently.
Trend 3: Robot Repair and Maintenance Is a Nascent Industry in the Making
The reach and applicability of the industrial robotics systems is becoming commonplace on factory floors. Simultaneously, robots are being deployed in industries such as healthcare, defense, industrial warehouses, mining, and more. These new robots as service agents are taking on tasks that demand high levels of repetitive work, physically demanding terrains, and remote environments.
The global industrial robotics market is expected to reach USD 79.58 Billion by 2022. The industry is evolving to new opportunities for robotics companies, technology providers, and systems integrators. New roles are being created that is driving the need for more human talent to train, repair and monitor the growing robotic workforce. Apart from this development, talent for developing AI and specific robotic technology, including robotic operating systems, are leading to create new opportunities for the human kind.