Key findings from the Industry of Things World Survey Report 2015
To measure the actual impact of the Internet of Things (IoT) on businesses today, in spring 2015, the Industry of Things World team gathered the opinions of hundreds of professionals around the globe. Maria Relaki, Director of Product & Content at we.CONECT Global Leaders, shares some of the key insights the study found.
From January to April 2015, the Industry of Things World team conducted a survey with the aim of charting the opinions of 738 IoT and Industry 4.0 managers from international companies in different industries such as manufacturing, automotive, logistics and supply chain, and production, among others. The survey aimed to examine the efforts and investment activities that are being allocated into IoT, gauge industry trends, and gain an overview of the IoT market.
Although many of the results of the Industry of Things World Survey Report 2015 were to be expected, like the fact that 76% of the respondents say that IoT technologies have an impact on their businesses and that one of their biggest challenges is how to capitalize on the opportunities arising, there are also a number of striking findings.
For example, in response to the question of what the respondents consider as the biggest opportunity that IoT presents to their companies, about a third selected the answer, “gaining competitive advantage”. On the other hand, however, when asked about the budgets allocated to IoT projects, 27% of those surveyed say that there is no budget whatsoever in their companies at the moment.
Relaki explains the reason behind this surprising disconnect, “Everyone does see the high importance of Industry 4.0 and IoT. That’s a given. But while people understand the relevance on an individual level and can foresee the coming shift, the current budgets do not match up. In other words, businesses need to rethink their strategies.”
This point is reinforced by the survey’s findings that as much as 40% of businesses are only just planning to implement IoT enabled projects within the next 12 months. Twenty-eight percent already have IoT enabling technologies in place, while a tenth of respondents believe that IoT is not relevant for their companies at all.
Furthermore, the survey reveals that the ownership of IoT-related projects – as well as the little budget that is invested into them – is often held by companies’ research and development teams rather than by IT production or engineering. According to Relaki, this may reflect the fact that many companies have yet to arrive at the implementation stage.
“While it is clear in theory that IoT will make things more cost-effective, quicker, and more efficient throughout every process in the company, the potential return on investment is for many not clear yet, as it will only be evident in the medium to long term,” she says.
When asked what sets early adopters apart from the laggards, Relaki responds that a decisive factor for companies is the presence of an innovative and forward-looking leadership.
The need for a standard platform
Because the area of the Industrial Internet and IoT remains a relatively new frontier for the majority of businesses, there is a shortage of real-life case studies on the topic. Furthermore, while a handful of companies may already be working on implementations, it is unlikely that they are seeing any concrete results yet. According to Relaki, this lack of certainty is among the barriers that are keeping enterprises and their managers from getting on board on IoT investment and implementation.
“We are faced with different technologies, different protocols, different manufacturers, and different networks. The whole point is to bring them all together, and you need standard interfaces for that.”
“When you look at large companies like Siemens, SAP, Microsoft, and Intel, for instance, these are huge businesses that need to drastically change their ways of thinking and operating – and that takes time, and a lot of investment. I’d like to see the positive side of things, that changes are being made, but it might still take a lot of time to get there.”
Another significant barrier that Relaki refers to is the lack of standards, especially in the development of manufacturing applications with relation to the Industrial Internet.
“It’s all great and good to have the possibility and the technology to connect machines to each other. But we are faced with different technologies, different protocols, different manufacturers, and different networks. The whole point is to bring them all together, and you need standard interfaces for that.”
Relaki notes that there are a number of associations and groups forming that are working on IoT standards, protocols and testbeds, such as the Industrial Internet Consortium, W3C, the OPC Foundation, the Internet of Things Alliance and IEEE. However, they have tended to operate separately from each other rather than coming together and treating it as a common project.
“I think standards will play a big role. The interesting question is how it’s going to be done,” she remarks.
Industry of Things World 2015
Organized by we.CONECT Global Leaders, Industry of Things World 2015 is a strategic conference that aims to gather stakeholders from a variety of industries who play an active role in developing the industrial Internet. Scheduled to take place in Berlin from September 21 to 22, 2015, one of the distinguishing features of the two-day program is its focus on real-life case studies.
Among the conference’s keynote speakers who will share their experiences in realizing and capitalizing on IoT in their businesses are Filippo Passerini, CIO of Procter & Gamble; Moshe Rappoport, Executive Technology Briefer at IBM Research; Rolf Riemenschneider, Head of Sector Internet of Things at DG Connect of the European Commission; Thomas Hahn, Chief Software Expert at the Research and Technology Center of Siemens, and many more.
To find out more about the agenda and speakers of Industry of Things World 2015, visit www.industryofthingsworld.com/.
Download the full survey report.
Maria Relaki works as Director of Product & Content at we.CONECT Global Leaders and is responsible for the Industry of Things World global event series.
Image credit: asharkyu / Shutterstock.com