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Market Insight

Industrial IoT: leaders and laggards

October 22, 2019

Alex West Alex West Senior Principal Analyst, Industrial Technology, IHS Markit

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As in any field, there are leaders and laggards when it comes to the global implementation of industrial internet of things (IIoT) solutions.

Utilizing industrial Big Data analytics, automation technologies, and machine-to-machine communication, IIoT solutions yield operational intelligence that can be deployed to enhance industrial and manufacturing processes.

For companies that install IIoT solutions, effective IIoT implementation leads to a virtuous circle of increased efficiency, improved product quality, shorter manufacturing cycles, lower operating costs, and greater visibility into the industrial supply chain for more accurate forecasting and targeted production.

Winning industries, regions, and markets

Within the increasingly broad array of industries that have integrated some form of IIoT into their operations or production, two stand out for being on the forefront of IIoT implementation, IHS Markit | Technology believes.   

The first is the oil and gas industry, where investment in IIoT solutions has accelerated since the 2015 commodity price collapse, with oil and gas companies developing a greater focus on cost reduction and investing in technologies that have supported reduced extraction costs. IIoT can also help with pipeline monitoring and asset maintenance, boosting the overall efficiency, accuracy, and safety of oil and gas operations.

The second standout industry is the power-generation space, where leading energy companies have utilized condition monitoring to determine the current health of equipment and to keep close watch on critical resources.

With an ongoing focus on domestic productivity, many regions have looked to foster a digital culture among their manufacturing base. Regionally, Asia Pacific is the world leader in IIoT implementation, buoyed by abundant greenfield opportunities sprinkled throughout the continent’s industrial spectrum. The Chinese government has been especially supportive of its manufacturers—the “Made in China 2025” government blueprint to upgrade the manufacturing capabilities of Chinese industries is a clear example. 

In comparison, the Americas lag the rest of the world, weighed down by concerns on cybersecurity and the ability to collect data. With the first issue, US industrial firms fear that exposure to outside systems following IIoT implementation will leave them open to cyberattacks, potentially resulting in the loss of physical assets as well as company prestige and reputation. With the second, not only has a large installed base of equipment been deployed in a region with limited greenfield investment that does not support connectivity, the equipment coexists alongside older networks that do not support transmission of data. To this end, the ability of American companies to collect their data for analysis is a greater challenge.

A younger workforce, or larger companies

Two other patterns could be discerned on IIoT advocacy and viability. The IIoT finds favor more readily among a younger workforce, which is less resistant to the idea of implementing IIoT solutions. And IIoT implementation is easier among large companies, which possess both the financial resources at their disposal and a large employee talent pool from which they can draw the necessary skill set to run IIoT solutions.

Smaller companies, while often more successful than their larger competitors in introducing proof-of-concept successful projects, usually ended up struggling, lacking the requisite capabilities to fully deploy IIoT into their operations.  

For more information on IHS Markit | Technology research on the industrial IoT, visit our website and go to the Industrial IoT, Software & Communications research category, under the Manufacturing Technology research service.  IHS Markit | Technology is now a part of Informa Tech.

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