The global IIoT platform landscape continues to expand and is projected to considerably grow between 2022 and 2027, according to a Forrester study. In 2021, we saw steady growth and diversification of adoption strategies. Moving forward, this year’s trends show that industrial software will continue to be the go-to place when it comes to an accelerated journey from prototype to deployment or business outcomes related to speed and scale. Industrial solutions combining IoT & AI, specifically, are on the rise. They hold the promise for more visibility and profitability across the value chain.
Using an IIoT platform to consolidate and tackle data challenges has become common practice, with data democratisation and a clear focus on user experience being the norm. These bundles of hardware and software capabilities are increasingly utilised to connect devices and industrial machines over the internet with the ultimate goal of shaping business strategies and outcomes.
Whitepaper: Utilising IoT & AI in Industrial Manufacturing
Let’s have a look at the main drivers behind industrial IoT adoption in manufacturing for 2022:
Developing AI at the IIoT Edge
Storing, managing, and analysing the massive volumes of data generated by industrial equipment remains a key challenge for manufacturers. Many use cases require that data be streamed continuously. Yet the IoT technology to manage these massive amounts is often lacking. Specifically, mission-critical use cases such as condition monitoring or asset tracking require a steady inflow of edge data. But there is simply not enough time to move that data to the cloud or a data center for analyses. Also, to achieve maximum accuracy and transparency, industrial systems need to respond within highly precise control loops and latency requirements.
The recent shift towards edge computing is making it necessary for IIoT platforms to focus more on enabling solutions for the intelligent edge. Creating a robust data strategy and data management workflows are part of this development. And industrial IoT platforms are changing to accommodate these processes. Further, there is a need to approach IoT architectures differently. AI capabilities need to become available as close to the data source as possible. Once these are covered, industrial manufacturers are well-positioned to manage real-time events.
Industrial manufacturers will increasingly turn to IIoT platform vendors who can oversee their IIoT use cases and manage their edge infrastructure.
What we can glean from these developments is the fact that industrial manufacturers are pressed to seek solutions that extend beyond their core competencies. This calls for platform vendors who are providing extensive support and know-how. At times, this is coupled with offerings such as hardware components. It is becoming clear that solely putting a software platform on the market and expecting self-service is not enough. Vendors are increasingly asked to consult on integrated solutions as well.
A Shift towards Persona-based IIoT
To support industrial specialists in their different roles, persona-based IIoT has now entered the world of industrial IoT platforms. More and more platforms are offering workflows and dashboards that can be customised depending on the user type and level of know-how. At times, persona-based IIoT even means that the UI itself is different depending on whether the user is an IoT engineer, a business analyst, a data scientist, or an app developer. Each of these provides the necessary tools to perform the tasks critical to the role and generate insight.
Find out more about our project in persona-based industrial UI
The shift towards persona-based IIoT is also impacting employee metrics. There are clearly defined KPIs for roles at different levels of seniority and expertise. This adds extra transparency to the mix. Now everyone from maintenance technicians to plant managers have access to the same metrics and data. Such levels of visibility also improve the situation with remote collaboration and skill siloes. There is no knowledge hoarding in one department and know-how shortage in another but a continuous flow of information.
The greatest advantage of persona-based IoT is the shift towards greater autonomy and a democratisation of operations. While processes run autonomously and are transparent to all, the skilled workforce can invest time in prediction and optimisation.
Among other things, persona-based IIoT helps companies save resources spent in supervision and control. At the same time, this approach allows manufacturers to free up resources for optimisation and strategising. Avoiding bottlenecks in knowledge management, making sure that expert allocation pays off, and predicting shortages in the skilled workforce are additional advantages of this novel trend.
More Service Instead of Technology
It is often the case that the debates surrounding Industry 4.0 and digital transformation place an emphasis on IoT technology. There is much talk about the most effective tools, the most impressive AI solutions in predictive maintenance, and the most reliable condition monitoring or asset tracking app. These are often brought up in connection with strategies for achieving true innovation and remaining competitive in a volatile business landscape.
Attitudes are changing, however. This year, we will be seeing more focus on actual application scenarios and fully-fledged solutions that extend beyond selling tech. IoT technology, for all the excitement and promise it brings along, cannot be the starting point when it comes to solving real and complex problems on the shop floor. Rather, the tech has to be supplemented with a thorough understanding of the challenges a manufacturer is facing and a strategy to overcome these challenges.
IIoT platform providers will be focusing more on offering comprehensive support and not simply a self-service solution.
A major focus for IIoT platforms will be providing excellent support and consultancy services to clients. Platform providers will be expected to do better than only selling the tech. So we will be seeing an increasing shift from tech to solutions. The services that come with an IIoT platform will come to the forefront of efforts in the industry. This will include anything from app development support to vendor assistance with device configuration and connectivity. Platform vendors may begin to extend their offerings all the way to more comprehensive consultancy services. The bottom line: less focus on putting the tech together and more thought into how to provide true value to the customer.
About Record Evolution
We are a Data Science & IoT team based in Frankfurt am Main, committed to helping companies of all sizes to innovate at scale. So we’ve built an easy-to-use industrial IoT platform allowing for rapid development cycles and enabling everyone to benefit from the powers of IoT and AI.