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Why All This IoT Heel-Dragging?
Two impediments are keeping the Internet of Things from truly disrupting industrial companies.
Increasing Sophistication in IoT Data Collection
• Companies collecting IoT data on entire work cells or production lines rather than individual machine components or individual machines increased by 17 percent. • This, in turn, enables more advanced use cases, which helps explain a 30 percent increase in the use of IoT technology to support asset performance management. • Respondents using the IoT to monitor their customers' equipment saw a 10 percent increase, potentially signaling transformational approaches to field service management.
I predict we may see two waves of IoT investment, the first focused on enabling more thorough and strategic data collection, with a second wave (or series of subsequent waves) focused on making more complete use of the data collected. For example, in the early stages, data collected about customer equipment may help manufacturers troubleshoot, but at later stages, it could drive an automated field service value chain in which the equipment sends its own work orders.
In time, I also believe these sensors will support servitized business models, as manufacturers may charge a customer for productivity and outcomes—duty cycles, products manufactured, hours of operation—rather than for a discrete product. There's no stopping the move toward greater interplay of the IoT and business systems. There are some obstacles in the road, however, including a hazy vision of how to build a viable use case based on different company needs.
There is a role for software and technology vendors to play along this journey as well. Enterprise software vendors must deliver simple and predictable pathways for IoT data to travel through the core transactional systems that underpin companies and automate processes or provide actionable analysis. Once these two barriers are overcome, we'll see a much greater surge in IoT adoption as part of a revenue-generating business strategy.
As CTO of IFS in North America, Rick Veague has responsibility for the company's product and industry solutions offered to customers and partners throughout the United States and Canada. Rick joined IFS in 1999, and has held positions developing, marketing and delivering high-value business applications, including ERP, FSM, EAM and MRO solutions.
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