We are in the midst of the Industry 4.0 revolution, which encompasses many technologies and business designs – including the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital business. IoT and Industry 4.0 together are set to create trillions in value. Its goal is to create value from the insights generated through assets connected across the product lifecycle, manufacturing and supply chain.
What is Industry 4.0 and How Will it Lead to the Rise of IoT Platforms?
Industry 4.0 introduces the concept of “smart factory,” which allows embedded systems and production facilities to connect and generate a digital convergence and make decentralized decisions. The embedded systems are simply IoT-enabled devices that communicate and cooperate with both equipment/machines and humans in real time via the wireless web.
Further, the adoption of Digital Twin technology is increasing – and Digital Twin is the future of an IoT-driven world. Digital Twin is a digital representation, or a virtual model, of a physical system that enables businesses to understand the architecture and operation and predict the performance of their equipment/machines. It helps enterprises reduce the operating cost and extend the life of machines and physical assets.
Industry 4.0 is the next wave of the industrial revolution, and is set to dramatically change how enterprises engage. With any major technological changes, however, there are challenges. These changes will bring consequences for IT departments. The IT team must satisfy two fundamentally different sets of requirements. First, they must maintain traditional IT systems, and second, they must develop and work on new technological areas related to Industry 4.0 and digital transformation.
The new wave leads to data security concerns, which are increased by integrating new systems and providing access to those systems. Sometimes, maintaining the integrity of processes with fewer human resources can become a barrier. There is also a lack of skillset in creating and implementing these systems, but that challenge can partly be overcome with the help of managed service providers.
Vendor Landscape – The Leading Industrial Organizations
The IoT vendor landscape is crowded, with a wide variety of IoT specialists, enterprise technology firms, public cloud vendors, global telecom service providers, and systems integrators. However, none of the industrial IoT platform providers to date are established, large-scale software technology vendors. The broad list of platform providers includes ABB, Bosch, GE, Hitachi, Schneider Electric, and Siemens. Industrial organizations such as General Electric (GE) and Bosch are building industrial IoT platforms that offer better functionalities, support, and ecosystems for large, complex assets, products, and infrastructure.
Recommendations for CIOs and Business Leaders
Below are some of the recommendations for the CIOs and business leaders who are planning to deploy IoT software platform:
- Enterprises’ initial focus remains on using IoT software platforms to connect the fragmented array of IoT-enabled sensors and devices. However, to reap the benefits from the IoT platform they must also look at a broad array of other functionalities such as data ingestion, app development and integration, user interface design, data management, security, and analytics functions.
- The IT department will deal with the consequences from this technological shift. While evaluating vendors, it is essential to factor in critical dynamics from the IT department such as scalability, security, and back-end integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP), CRM, or inventory systems.
- Subsequently, a single IoT software platform provider cannot cover all functional elements. Businesses must evaluate the breadth and depth of partner ecosystems in areas such as network management and telecom service providers, hardware and device vendors, gateway providers, and systems integration service providers.