Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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From the editor: The tip of the IIoT iceberg


March 18, 2016
By Alyssa Dalton


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Mar. 18, 2016 – I usually wake up to a dozen different market reports in my inbox during any given week. Sometimes they are completely irrelevant and are automatically deleted, and other times I file them away to use as reference material for future articles. Earlier this year, I came across a report that instantly flagged my attention.

A MarketsandMarkets report noted that the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is expected to reach US$151.01 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of 8.03 per cent between 2015 and 2020. Yes, billion. That’s one heck of a forecast. For comparison purposes, similar reports project that the machine safety and artificial intelligence markets will reach $4.98 and $5.05 billion, respectively, by 2020. What a massive difference.

In a world where manufacturers must maximize their investments, IIoT will allow companies to collect and analyze real-time data, identify potential machine failures in advance, better manage assets, and reduce costs — all with the goal of becoming more efficient and nimble. The fast emerging field of IIoT is poised to disrupt current technologies and processes across industries while creating new market opportunities and business models, notes the agency. Translation — in terms of the possibility and opportunity of IIoT, we’re just hitting the tip of the iceberg.

In case you’re wondering, 2014 is the base year used for the study and the forecast period is between 2015 and 2020. (What’s fun to think about is how IIoT will look a decade after 2020 — but that is a whole other conversation for another day.)

Released this past January, Industrial IoT Market by Industry Vertical (Manufacturing, Energy & Power, Oil & Gas, Metals & Mining, Healthcare, & Agriculture), Technology (Sensors, Networking Technology, DCS, & Others), Software, & Geography – Global Forecast to 2020 lists several key factors driving the IIoT market, including technological advancements in semiconductor and electronics, evolution of Cloud computing, standardization of IPv6, advancements in wireless networks, and government support.

“The manufacturing sector is witnessing a transformation through the implementation of the smart factory concept and factory automation technologies. Government initiatives such as Industrie 4.0 in Germany and Plan Industriel in France are expected to drive the IIoT solutions in Europe. Moreover, leading manufacturing countries such as the U.S., China, and India are expected to further expand their manufacturing industries and deploy smart manufacturing technologies to increase this sector’s contribution to their national GDPs,” notes the study.

At the end of April, I will be travelling to Germany for Hannover Messe, the world’s largest trade fair for industrial technology, where the smart factory, the Cloud, the Connected Enterprise, Big Data and Industry 4.0 will be the talk of the show floor. It’s no doubt the pivotal fourth industrial revolution is upon us, but how we approach and take advantage of its landscape is key.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our Hannover Messe coverage in our June issue.

This column was originally published in the March/April 2016 issue of Manufacturing AUTOMATION.