The term ‘industrial Internet of Things’ covers a diverse set of enterprises and pulls in a mix of brownfield and greenfield operations. Within those operations, the needs of continuous processes vary from those of discrete manufacturing. The willingness, ability or practicality of applying new technology also varies across differing sizes of enterprise. We look at the emerging patterns of adoption of the industrial Internet of Things across this wide range of industry types and sizes.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a thumbnail term that covers a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) use cases, emerging or maturing at industrial enterprises, which pull in a mix of brownfield and greenfield operations. IIoT applications contain all the basic building blocks of any IoT application. They coexist and integrate with existing industrial automation, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), asset management, manufacturing execution systems (MESes), and machine-to-machine communication across a range of industries, including process and discrete manufacturing, as well as material processing. IIoT is indicative of the increases in integration of these industrial processes to support wider digital transformation that are occurring apace across almost all industrial enterprises globally. It also highlights the intersection of operational technology (OT) and IT, which are converging, but are often culturally and/or organizationally distinct parts of enterprises.

When analyzing the adoption of IIoT, it is important to consider the wide diversity of applications and the ability for an industrial enterprise to adopt them based on type and sizes of industry. A greenfield discrete manufacturing mega-factory differs greatly from a small family-run oil well – and from a 10-person precision engineering company. At the most basic level of abstraction, all companies can, in theory, benefit from more detailed instrumentation and analysis of their processes, but their decision-making approaches to IIoT, and hence their implementation, will differ greatly. OT disciplines face pressure from advances in IT, and some choose to proactively seek out solutions, while others select from advances offered by existing providers.

In general, the adoption path for IIoT in large companies begins with predictive maintenance and quality management projects with clear practical ROI at scale. This leads to the potential injection of IoT features into end products, where suitable. For product OEMs, this, in turn, can enable a change from a product focus to service focus, and potentially alter the core business model. The drive for ‘everything as a service’ is common across all types of IoT and enterprise in general, but specific industries differ regarding where the best place to engage as an IIoT provider is, and where this pattern of adoption will have an impact.

This Technology & Business Insight report that explores adoption rates and the maturity of the Industrial Internet of Things represents a holistic perspective on the Internet of Things market in the enterprise IT space. This, and similar emerging markets, evolve quickly, though, so 451 Research offers additional services that provide critical marketplace updates. These updated reports and perspectives are presented on a daily basis via the company’s core intelligence service, 451 Research Market Insight.

The full report includes:

  • Importance of unifying IT and OT: Large industrial enterprises are continuing to evolve into hybrid operating technology (OT)/IT companies, where unifying IT and OT operations is key to successful industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) implementations.
  • Discrete manufacturers are earlier adopters: By the nature of their products are more likely to apply IoT principles to their output as well as to line manufacturing.
  • Opportunity for service providers: Small and medium industrial firms are presently underserved in the IIoT ecosystem. There is an opportunity for IIoT packaged services, in this long tail, for those with no IT department.

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