What a Difference a Year Makes, Here and in IoT

This is my first anniversary at OpenText – and what a year it’s been. I’ve travelled the world and met some amazing people doing some amazing things. Special mention has to go to the 2016 Enterprise World, OpenText’s flagship event, and the IDC Manufacturing Summit  in Lisbon where we discussed the role of Digital Transformation in the sector.

But, let’s talk about the Internet of Things (IoT). I wrote a blog in early 2016 predicting that it would be the year that IoT went mainstream in manufacturing and I thought it might be good – unlike so many other analyst predictions – to go back and take a look at just how right I was!

A year back, my argument was that IoT was customer experiencebeginning the move from theory to practice. Organizations were building IoT ecosystems that would fundamentally change the way they operated. My particular interest is the Industrial Internet of Things – or Industry 4.0 – which is about enabling manufacturers to work smarter and attain business goals such as:

  • Doing more with less by increasing the use of smart data to power business efficiencies
  • Open up new market opportunities that were previously inaccessible before disruptive technology was available
  • Grow their business by increasing to value of their product through full life support by enhancing products with added life long services
  • Increasing quality of product through real time and virtual monitoring and predictive maintenance and thus retain customer loyalty for life.

Glance at recent research and my predictions are looking pretty good. According to McKinsey, the economic impact of IoT applications could be as much as $11 trillion by 2025 – up to $3.7 trillion of which will happen within factory environments. By 2019, says IDC, 75% of manufacturing value chains will undergo an operating model transformationwith digitally connected processesthat improve responsiveness and productivity by 15%.

More impressively, Tata Consulting has found that manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014. Indeed, OpenText’s own 2017 research has shown that 38% of European manufacturers surveyed have already implemented IoT solutions with another 48% planning to within the next twelve months. Look out for more on this in a future blog.

One company I highlighted as a great example of how IoT is already beginning to change everything was Tesla. I had the luck to test drive the Tesla S on its introduction to the UK and the motoring and customer experience was like no other. It demonstrated functionality and capability that are real differentiators for the industry. Add to that a very unique go to market, service and ownership model this car is an automotive game changer in so many ways. Now, Tesla says it’s pretty close to having a driverless car that can travel from New York to Los Angeles without any human intervention.

This is an incredible example of how quickly things have progressed in such a short period of time – and it’s only one of many. We are now at the stage where it is easy to point to factories that are already moving away from traditional centralized production process to an integrated, highly automated network of devices and machines. Companies are already beginning to create flexible production processes to move from mass production to individual runs that can be achieved cost-effectively and just in time to unique customer demands.

So, we’ve made a great start but I’m not sure we can call IoT mainstream just yet. As the World Economic Forum points out, there are still some important challenges to be overcome:

  • How to assure the interoperability of systems
  • How to guarantee real-time control and predictability, when thousands of devices communicate at the same time
  • How to prevent disruptors, or competitors, taking control of highly networked production systems
  • How to determine the benefit or return on investment in IoT technologies

This echoes exactly my thoughts.

You can watch a webinar here that I held in partnership with The Manufacturer magazine in the UK. At the time, I made the point that organizations had to take much greater control of their data. By adding the technology that collects that data and channeling it through an Enterprise Information Management (EIM) system like OpenText, they have been presented with suites of information on which to base much smarter and faster business decisions. To this I’d add the need to for a powerful and easy-to-use analytics engine  that can deliver both predictive and operational insight into the vast amounts of data created within any IoT ecosystem.

Placing IoT at the heart of business strategy is also essential – and companies that have done this are starting to reap the rewards. One of my first engagements when I joined OpenText last year was to take in the inaugural IoTTechExpo Conference in London. Patrick Bass, CEO of ThyssenKrupp NA, gave an excellent presentation of how successful transformation projects need to be part of your business strategy. One year on,  Andreas Schirenbeck, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Elevators spoke about how IoT is now transforming their industry. I’ll come back to this in another blog soon.

So, I’m going to take credit for being half right! The trend towards IoT implementation is coming on in leaps and bounds but, while organizations focus on building the interoperability of networks and devices, they must also make sure they have a platform to ensure they mazimise the value in their data and information.

Fourth Industrial Revolution: A Digital Transformation – watch the 30 minute webinar from OpenText and The Manufacturer here

And, if you’d like to wish me a happy anniversary, you can send me a tweet!

Tom Leeson

Tom is Industry Marketing Strategist for the Manufacturing Sector globally. An Engineer by Trade, and Mathematician by Education, Tom’s entire career has been spent in Engineering, Manufacturing and IT helping customers digitally transform their business and their manufacturing sector. With Industry 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things, Manufacturing lives in exciting times, so there is much to talk about.

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