|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|September 14, 2015 11:45 AM EDT||
Industrial Internet of Things Creates Opportunities Across Industries
During the last two #IoTuesday Twitter sessions, our chats have centered on what it will take to capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT) opportunity and what the industry's collective responsibility is to break down barriers to adoption. Topics ranged from the evolution of the Industrial Internet to consumer IoT applications to the role of APIs and API management. And underlying all of this, how we move from today's connected devices and vertical siloes to a horizontal IoT marketplace with interconnectivity at its core. In this month's IoT chat we will be joined by Alex Bakker and Ron Exler, from analyst firm Saugatuck Technology, to continue the discussion on the evolution of IoT, blockers and opportunities.
The IoT takes advantage of increased machine-to-machine communication; cloud computing and vast networks of data-gathering sensors; is virtual, mobile and offers real-time connection; and it has the potential to make everything in our lives smarter, from cars to lights to cities. According to a new McKinsey report on IoT, its economic impact will reach $11 trillion a year by 2025 across various industries.
With this as a backdrop, it should come as no surprise that IoT has become one of the most hyped technologies in the market today. In the industrial Internet, industries ranging from agriculture, manufacturing, mining, oil and gas, to transportation and healthcare represent almost two-thirds of the world economy. And the IoT will fundamentally reshape these industries and change society through a new human-digital engagement. What are the implications when a smart car is interconnected with a smart city grid and they start talking to each other? More efficient traffic optimization is possible with stoplights evolving from fixed timers to proactively responding to changes in traffic flow, enabling drivers to be rerouted to areas with less congestion, not tied up with construction, making the entire ecosystem more performant and efficient.
Another example that drives home the critical role IoT can play is smart agriculture. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, food production must increase by 60% to feed a population expected to reach 9 billion in 2050. The basis of the agriculture industry is logistics, time-to-market and quality and with IoT a sensor in a tractor or tiller can become a data repository for the series of actions performed by machines.
The world's biggest agricultural machinery brands are turning to IoT to vastly increase the amount of food that can be produced. In many cases, they are leading in the area of innovation by creating an ecosystem with APIs designed to improve the interaction and efficiency across the ecosystem. The ability to improve the entire value chain from how crops are planted, fertilized, harvested and managed brings new meaning to the term farm to table. It is possible for agricultural companies and farmers to coordinate and optimize farm production in new ways by connecting farm equipment to geo-location data. The entire chain is impacted; tillers can inject fertilizer at precise depths while seeders can come up behind placing seeds directly in the fertilized soil. And the data collected can be used to improve the crop yield to feed the growing global population.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves, it is important to step back from the buzz and look at the blockers. To realize the full potential of the IoT, requires enterprises, digital citizens and governments to work together to take down obstacles.
Security and data privacy will continue to take center stage from the increased exposure to vulnerabilities, data breaches as a result of more connections and sharing of data to the always present threat of espionage. Policy makers continue to cast a wary eye, understanding the benefits that can be derived while trying to determine the government's role in protecting the security and privacy of citizens and their data. Connecting tens of billions of devices rapidly expands the potential attack surface for cyber-criminals. And the industrial Internet brings with it a requirement for new security frameworks to handle the convergence of the virtual and physical worlds on a global scale.
The concept of reliability, security and control also take on new meaning for the hardware and software systems underpinning the Industrial Internet vs. consumer IoT. Those companies that have been accustomed to building devices and software to address industrial industries know what it means to stand the test of time, while newer entrants focused on consumer devices and IoT have a different perspective. Although a consumer might react negatively at the inconvenience of his wearable failing that is nothing compared to the life and death scenario if a braking system fails. But in both cases entirely new business models will be possible as a result of smart, well-designed interconnected devices and software.
The lack of interoperability meanwhile results in more complexity and cost. We need to move from today's operational silo technology systems to fully functional digital ecosystems that make possible data sharing between machines across different manufacturers. In the Industrial Internet, interoperability also takes on a new meaning different from its consumer cousin, given the long-life of industrial machinery.
The IoT is not simply about operational cost savings or smart cities or smart agriculture or connected cars. It is what results when things become smarter to become an innovation engine for new business models, new products and new services. Follow us on Twitter and join the discussion as we explore this topic in our next #IoTuesday Twitter chat being held on August 18 at 1:00pm EDT.
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