Following a significant amount of activity surrounding the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) over the past 18 months, 2017 is tipped to be the year when many companies will look to create robust business cases for adoption.
Over the past 18 months, a wide range of discrete IoT initiatives, products and test cases have come to light; however, the concept and associated technologies have yet to become widely adopted by most manufacturers – large and small alike.
That could be set change, though, according to Jason Andersen, vice president of business line management for global fault tolerant computer servers and software company, Stratus Technologies.
The Manufacturer recently sat down with Andersen, who had this to say: “Many organisations have conducted pilots, and most have seen positive results. The coming year will be largely focused on taking what has been learnt in a single test cell case or department, and applying it into real-world production lines. That’s far more challenging.
“Successful implementation requires a robust, detailed and clear business case, laying out the costs, return on investment, timeline and tangible benefits. Ultimately, the cost of a pilot is going to be considerably lower than production deployment, and that cost needs to be justified.
“I believe – and already I’m starting to see – that 2017 will see executives and senior management teams sit down and discuss what IoT means to their business – past, present and future. As we move out of 2017 and into 2018, I expect to see those business cases result in adoption on a wide spectrum.”
Who is leading the IoT charge?
One of Stratus’ large clients are an American company operating in the oil and gas sector. As a phase one pilot, it took the decision to upgrade the infrastructure and connectivity between each of its many compression stations.
Phase two built upon phase one by overlaying cloud-based real-time analytics and making that data available to the wider organisation. In Andersen’s words, the company is relatively “leading-edge”; most businesses are only now looking at starting phase one or coming to the end and considering moving into phase two, he added.
“In terms of those which are leading the pack, you have the high-end and the high-volume, then there’s everyone in between. Many businesses operating in the high-end space have been actively exploring IoT for some time, mainly because the value of efficiency is that much higher.
“On the high-volume side, if you are moving a million widgets a week through a process line and IoT technology can see save you a quarter of a penny per widget, that saving can add up and fast. In the middle is where companies appear to be lagging currently.”