By Stephen Mellor, CTO of Industry IoT Consortium
How IIC members turn wind resistance into wind assistance
The Industry IoT Consortium was founded 2014-03-27 by five global companies (AT&T, Cisco, GE, Intel and IBM). These companies understood that the industrial internet market and technological ecosystem was too wide and too deep for any one company to dominate. A consortium was established, and within five years 250 organizations joined. An ecosystem was created and a market for Industrial IoT had been established.
Today’s Industrial Internet of Things
Today, the industrial internet covers multiple verticals from manufacturing (whose products are placed into every vertical) to retail (which is normally considered to be merely point-of-sale, but can be connected to global supply chains, changing the business requirements significantly). It is deep in that multiple layers—from control of actuators through connectivity via gateways to big data and artificial intelligence to the business application—are needed.
Five to seven years ago, analysts were predicting massive growth in the Industrial Internet of Things market. As soon as one analyst firm published a report predicting 30 billion devices connected by 2025; another would predict 40 billion devices by 2030. Expectations were high. Riding the hype was essential. The market was viral.
Where is Industrial IoT?
In 2015, McKinsey & Company published a comprehensive report examining different vertical markets. It, too, predicted great things. But the market has not grown as much as expected. Why? One reason is technological evolution. “Industrial IoT” is no longer fresh-faced and youthful. IIoT is now an adult. IIoT knows that it needs artificial intelligence, digital twin, trustworthiness, and machine learning, connected supply chains and …
More significantly, projects and programs have become stuck in “pilot purgatory”. As McKinsey & Company write, “Pilot purgatory sounds like a hectic aviator schedule, but with the internet of things, it signals pilot programs traveling at a snail’s pace–if at all.”
There are other reasons than just the inability to scale projects. In 2021, McKinsey and Company followed up the 2015 report with another that discussed why the market had not grown as much as had been expected. They identified ‘tailwinds’, such as performance of connectivity and technology, and ‘headwinds’, such as ‘installation’, which applies more in consumer markets than in industrial ones.
Of those they identified, three stand out for industrial verticals: trustworthiness, interoperability and talent. (Trustworthiness is the combination of cybersecurity, privacy and confidentiality, in their terms).
How can we turn these headwinds into tailwinds? One approach is to apply a trick used by birds, cycling teams and trucking convoys. They have one of their number take the lead and the rest follow along in the slipstream. Over the last eight years, the IIC has taken the lead and published a good deal of material, from the Industrial Internet Security Framework, in 2015, to Endpoint Security Best Practices in 2018, and the Trustworthiness Framework published in 2021. And that’s just for one topic! All this information provides a map of the topic area and turns a headwind into a tailwind.
But digging your way through all this material is itself a tailwind. The latest version of the Security Framework is 173-pages long. The Endpoint Security Best Practices is 12 pages and the Trustworthiness Framework another 59, for a total of 244 pages. Suddenly, what looked like a tailwind looks like a lot of work when all you want to know is how to secure your communications.
Frameworks such as the Security Framework and the Trustworthiness Framework are maps; it would be helpful have directions, focused specifically on a particular technology, best practice or approach. And this is where digital transformation enablers come in.
Join us for our next Blog: Leveraging Digital Transformation Enablers as a tailwind.