Even though the current extent of industrial IoT implementation is far out shadowed by that of the consumer space, Industrial IoT investments are seeing huge growth. Two key areas are driving this growth: smart factories and smart transport & logistics.
By connecting machinery and tools, the Industrial IIoT enables manufacturing companies to improve real time production control. The data generated by Industrial IoT devices allows companies to greatly optimise production, improve delivery quality, introduce predictive maintenance, automate their supply chain and much more.
Despite the tough economic climate of 2020, saw a small growth in investments in smart factories, as well as in the smart transport & logistics area, while further and much more significant growth is expected by 2025. Overall, the smart factory market is expected to exceed €100 billion by 2025, with strong investments in platforms, predictive solutions, and remote monitoring. The European market will see Germany in the lead both in the smart factories, and smart transport sectors.
Low-cost sensors and 5G networks will further improve the diffusion of Industrial IoT. Improved communication between autonomous vehicles/robots, artificial intelligence, and machinery, combined with increased computing power and very low latency, is expected to increase not only the efficiency of plants, but also their safety. The ability to create high-density private networks will enable a wider deployment of the Industrial IoT, as well as the connection of a significant number of nodes.
The constant growth of connected devices and their heterogeneity requires bold security management of setup and maintenance policies of both devices and networks. Organisations need to adopt micro-segmented environments, which are stable and ready to react to both traditional and new dangerous technologies and techniques, thus reducing the probability that new types of attacks will be successful. The analysis of IoT architecture, of industrial components and of entire infrastructures will help companies to eliminate existing vulnerabilities, and threats in advance. Companies still need to remember this is not just a technological problem and strong investments in employee training and education will be crucial.
In recent years Industrial Internet of Things technologies have been adopted to improve the efficiency of factories and logistics centres, and during the pandemic new investments have been directed primarily towards improving worker safety. In the long term, however, IIoT solutions are expected to involve more and more final consumers.
The success of so-called “connected products” is accelerating investments towards solutions that implement the collection and processing of consumer usage data. This is influencing the design, production and distribution processes of IoT-connected products enabling the creation of value-added services and facilitating the ability to remotely update and maintain devices.