IIoT and the road to data monetization

The implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is bringing benefits to organizations in two key areas: operational improvements and data monetization. A new…

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Bob Slevin

February 20, 20204 minute read

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The implementation of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is bringing benefits to organizations in two key areas: operational improvements and data monetization. A new report from IDG shows that companies understand the value in their IIoT data and have begun to look at how that data can be exploited to drive new revenue through new products and services. However, there are still major challenges and barriers ahead.

IIoT monetization: The holy grail of digital transformation?

According to IDG, 99% of respondents were either considering, planning, piloting or implementing IIoT systems. Of those, 44%­–almost half–were focusing their IIoT investment towards data monetization.

In addition, 84% thought their monetization investment will increase in the next year. It seems that this increased investment comes from organizations are already seeing positive results. In fact, the survey respondents felt that they had achieved the most success from IIoT in ‘creating new revenue streams through new products and services’–fully 59% reported they had achieved this to a great extent.

IIoT monetization: It starts with data

Given the focus on data monetization, it’s no surprise to find that IDG’s respondents found analytics to be the most valuable capability of an IIoT solution. As I’ve mentioned in another article, exploiting this industrial data to advance the development of new products and services through the use of a digital twin is not easy. Interestingly, the next four most valued capabilities found in an IIoT solution are focused on data integration and management.

While data management capabilities are seen as the most valuable, they represent some of the biggest barriers to successful IIoT implementation. When asked, respondents placed security at the top of the list of barriers but data integration was very close behind.

IDG stated: “Right behind security challenges are integration and aggregation roadblocks. Most IT projects take place in the context of legacy environments, and IIoT is no exception. Integrating with legacy applications and systems is daunting to 32% of respondents. Effective IIoT systems, however, also must correlate data from multiple IIoT sources and devices, which poses an integration challenge to 30% of the survey.”

So, while progress is being made towards data monetization dealing with the vast volumes of IIoT data, integrating it with data from other operational and external sources, and creating a single data model for analytics remains a significant challenge.

IIoT security: The Internet of Things has an identity problem

According to the IDG report, protecting the security of IIoT devices (45%) ranks first, followed by managing secure access to IIoT devices (34%).

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come from this survey is awareness of the importance of effective identity management. An incredible 92% of respondents admitted it was challenging to manage the authentication and authorization of interactions with IIoT devices throughout their life cycle; 46% found it “very” or “extremely” challenging.

It’s not just the volume and variety of IIoT devices. Organizations are building digital ecosystems of which their devices are only one component. This is an integrated environment of people, systems and things. Security means the ability to securely manage all the interactions and relationships of every actor in your environment. That’s why we’re seeing more and more organizations deploy an identity-driven IIoT platform that can secure and manage an IIoT infrastructure at scale.

In a recent blog post, my colleague Tom Leeson stated: “While technology, [such as IIoT] is an essential component of Industry 4.0, it’s not the only one. Organizational culture is equally vital but it’s important to understand that these are not two separate entities. Moving to a flatter, collaborative model where decisions are devolved to the most appropriate people means ensuring that the data they create is captured and can quickly be turned into actionable insight”.

As I’ve mentioned in an article for Manufacturing Leadership Council, managing these complex industrial IoT ecosystems is not for the faint of heart. It takes an identity-centric, zero-trust approach to ensure critical IIoT devices and their associated data streams are protected from tampering or misuse. So, if your organization’s industrial IoT deployments are beginning to resemble a three-ring circus, find a big enough platform to corral and govern them all.

Learn more

If you’d like to know more about how an identity-driven IIoT platform can help monetize data within your organization, visit our website or get the Identity of Things Explained guide to learn how a strong identity of things (IDoT) foundation identifies and manages IoT connections to solve it.

Download your copy of the IDG Marketpulse report: IIoT presents opportunities and challenges.

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Bob Slevin

Bob Slevin is the Director of Product Marketing for IoT at OpenText. Bob is an Internet of Things (IoT) architect and evangelist with more than 25 years’ experience in telecommunications spanning Military and Private sectors. He has collaborated with partners to deploy millions of connected devices across business and consumer markets. An IoT thought leader with an MBA in Technology Management, Bob is focused on identifying business challenges and building innovative solutions to improve operational efficiencies, drive growth and mitigate risks.

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