The reason for concern is simple. If businesses connect more of their systems and servers to the internet, the easier it will be for cyber criminals to access this information. With cyber security lacking not only in manufacturing but around the world, spanning from major governments down to the individual level, businesses are not confident in their ability to protect their private information.
Beyond cyber security, 36% of participants are struggling with legacy systems that are not inherently able to connect with other systems via the IIoT. There are sensors and new motors that can be implemented into these legacy systems but they do not come cheap and are less reliable than newer equipment. Many businesses don’t have the capital on hand to throw away these older machines and purchase and entire facilities worth of new equipment. There is the potential that the IIoT enabled machinery could provide a decent ROI, but the initial investment could be out of reach.
Another serious concern is insufficient skills among IT staff and the inability to do fast experiments at 34%. The skills gas has been spoken about a lot, especially in manufacturing. The average age of an employee working in a manufacturing facility continues to rise and a majority of younger generations like millennials aren’t actively seeking a career in manufacturing. As manufacturing becomes more connected, these businesses need the skills millennials and other tech-savvy generations have to offer. This lack of interest is mainly blamed on the stigma that is associated with manufacturing as they perceive the industry to be ‘dark, dangerous and dirty’ work. However, as this report shows, IT skills are high up on the list of what manufacturers need in their workforce.
With the IIoT promising manufacturers the ability to grow and innovative like never before, businesses can’t ignore this concept. Yet the immaturity of the technology is holding back companies as they wait and see how other businesses implement their systems before they act. This could prove to be either a great idea or one that could leave them behind the curve for years to come. Those companies that act now could have a head start on the 4th industrial revolution but could face unexpected hurtles alone as they would be the pioneers in essentially unexplored territory. As the IIoT continues to mature, cyber security becomes more reliable and businesses cultivate the right IT skill set, one thing is certain, connectivity will inevitably be the manufacturers greatest tool.
The industrial Internet opens the doors to increased manufacturing around the world, especially in developing countries. Information gathered from connected devices can be used to guide people through processes where they might not have experience, such as a developing factory or a new company. As more nations and organizations gain the skills and knowledge to be more efficient in their areas, the entire global economy will develop.
In essence, the industrial Internet helps power the world and makes everything more productive. Even if your organization doesn’t work directly with manufacturing or production, it can still feel the force of the industrial Internet. The basic premise of the industrial Internet is to collect information, store it, and then sort it in an accessible and efficient way. This same principle can be applied to large-scale jet engines just as it can be to customer satisfaction in a start-up.
The industrial Internet shows how innovation and efficiency can have a huge impact around the world and right in our own organizations. By applying similar principles in your workplace, you can increase efficiency and enjoy the benefits of technological innovation.