A survey of manufacturing companies’ attitudes to IoT has thrown up an interesting disconnect between their perceptions of the importance and impact of IoT and their plans for implementation and exploitation.
The survey was undertaken by French company Infor, which bills itself as a company that “builds beautiful business applications with last mile functionality and scientific insights for select industries delivered as a cloud service.” It was sent to C-level officers and plant managers in 12 countries. However the sample was rather small, only 137 responses were received and 89 percent of those came from North America.
With those caveats the survey found IoT to have no priority for 48 percent of respondents, and in the top three priorities for only 28 percent. Only 10 percent claimed to have an IoT program in place, and 38 had no current plans to adopt IoT. Yet only 16 percent said there was no demand for IoT in their business.
Despite this, all seemed to believe that they needed to do something significant about IoT sooner rather than later. In response to the question “What would be your top three concerns if your business were not to implement an IoT strategy in the next three years?” the responses were as follows:
- Competitors utilising IoT will gain a productivity and cost advantage (31 percent)
- New innovative services will emerge in the market and we might not be able to catch up (29 percent)
- Might be asked to engage in projects we cannot fulfil (18 percent)
And respondents seemed to have some fairly clear ideas on the potential benefits of IoT. Only three percent could see no benefits and responses were fairly evenly distributed between: machine and equipment utilization; productivity; insight and decision making; plant floor automation; product quality; safety & security; new service and new revenue streams.
All respondents were at some stages of readiness: “We have hardware an software in place and are fully equipped to deliver on IoT” (22 percent); “We have smart devices and sensors capturing data but no means of connecting data to business applications” (36 percent); “We are capturing big data from devices and sensors, but no smart business systems for analytics or alerting” (42 percent).
Given these results it’s perhaps not surprising that Andrew Kinder, VP industry and solution strategy at Infor, concluded: “Our advice would be to look at the device data you are already collecting — most plant equipment is already instrumented — and ask what questions could you answer if only you could collect it, apply analytics and distribute the insight quickly to the right decision maker? Even better, who outside your organisation would want to purchase the information only you can provide?