Top 5 Challenges to Implementing an IIoT System
Shawn Wasserman posted on August 12, 2016 |
A recent study by the Genpact Research Institute explains that a whopping 81 percent of executives think a critical part of their organization’s success is the successful adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Too bad that only a quarter of all executives have a cohesive IIoT strategy. What’s worse, only half are actively looking to develop a strategy, and just under a third think it will take over a year to develop one.

In this report, Genpact tries to make sense of what is holding industry back when adopting the IIoT. To determine this, they interviewed 173 senior executives from manufacturing companies around the world.

So what is stopping the adoption of the IIoT? Many of the answers from executives are to be expected:

  • Risks of data security (cited by 37 percent of respondents)
  • The technology skill gap (cited by 35 percent of respondents)
  • Legacy concerns (cited by 34 percent of respondents)
  • Data quality (cited by 34 percent of respondents)
  • Privacy (cited by 33 percent of respondents)

What is surprising is that so many respondents cite legacy systems as one of their challenges to adopting the IIoT.

One issue that plagues the manufacturing industry, which currently affects the IoT industry, was a lack of standard communication protocol. Back in the day, if you bought a Siemens control system, your plant was forced to purchase other equipment operating on Siemens. This is no longer the case, as a lot of current equipment will communicate with rival control systems from ABB, Honeywell and Siemens.

The challenge of connecting a manufacturing control system to the Internet of Things (IoT), or replacing it with the IoT, will therefore need to offer the organizations significant improvements before they risk recreating a communication problem that’s already been solved.

This hints at a sixth reason why manufacturers have no plans to adopt IoT: Their control system is already good enough.

The challenge to the widespread adoption of the IoT on the factory floor doesn't come from ignorance or mistrust of technology, but the opposite. Manufacturing has led to connectivity of multiple devices as well as remote monitoring and control, making existing legacy systems robust and reliable. Modern IoT systems have to offer definable, reliable improvements over well-proven and highly refined existing systems. Controlling a machine tool with an iPad is simply not enough to make people buy in.

Given the challenge of connecting a control system to the IoT, and the potential security risks this might open up, how big must the benefits have to be before manufacturers take a risk?

Respondents say that the opportunities to scale up their organizations and introduce agility to their operations are reasons to change with the times.

But manufacturers shouldn’t limit themselves to connecting just their plants to the IoT. They might also look to connect their products and design process to the IoT. This can open up many other areas of opportunity, like discovering new avenues to monetize and providing the design team with use case and manufacturing feedback to help guide future products.
(Image courtesy of Genpact Research Institute.)
(Image courtesy of Genpact Research Institute.)

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