Getting IntoThe IIoT Game

The good news is that technologies enabling the connected enterprise are evolving rapidly. The bad news ...

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The good news is that technologies enabling the connected enterprise are evolving rapidly, with daily releases of new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solutions — smart devices, intelligent controllers, industrial systems and applications. The bad news is that this can seemingly make capital investment decisions more challenging than ever.

Even though legacy systems and aging equipment can be costly to operate, prone to breakdowns, and susceptible to cybersecurity intrusions, many executives resist replacements or upgrades. For example, most manufacturers are not technologically ready to leverage the IIoT. Only 23 percent report that their network infrastructure is currently capable of IIoT machine-to-machine communications, and just 25 percent report that their network is capable of machine-to-enterprise communications.

Yet as competitors in every industry embrace IIoT technologies — boosting productivity, responding rapidly to customer requests, improving EHS performance, extending equipment life, etc. — sitting on the sidelines creates a performance gap that only increases over time. To stay in the game, you’ll need to develop a strategic investment plan for building your own connected enterprise by taking the following steps:

  1. Conduct a lifecycle analysis of your equipment, devices, systems, and software.
  2. Prioritize your automation modernization needs (critical requirements and biggest risks) and goals (operational improvements and IIoT intelligence to support informed business decisions).
  3. Assess migration options that leverage and enhance legacy equipment and devices.
  4. Select custom solutions or pre-configured systems that address needs, goals, and budgets.
  5. Implement and improve.

Most companies find that ROI from initial upgrades quickly fund more initiatives, and eventually deliver a seamless convergence of operations and information, increasing efficiency and productivity across the enterprise. Some 72 percent of manufacturers report that application of IIoT technologies to operations increased productivity in the past year, and 69 percent report that it increased profitability. Tose with capable IIoT infrastructures enjoyed the largest productivity and profit increases.

Beth Parkinson is the Market Development Director - Connected Enterprise at Rockwell Automation. To read this post in its entirety and find out more about Rockwell Automation's Connected Enterprise offerings, click here.