2018 is here. We had welcomed it and look forward to the opportunities it will bring. Let’s dive in a little bit to review the tendencies that characterized the past couple of years, and see what is awaiting us in the Industrial IoT Year of 2018.

It’s all about the money…

The predictions, quoted for several years now, for the global IoT market to reach $6T in 2021 are perhaps somewhat exaggerated, but the tendency is clear. When talking about the Industrial IoT (IIoT) market in particular the numbers are different, but still, in the past few years, we’ve seen substantial growth in the amounts invested in IIoT companies (startups in particular). Investments in Industrial IoT are growing at a steady rate of 5%, and will continue to do so according to Growth Enabler.

Global Investment Trends

What to expect in 2018 – IIoT Trends

In the same spirit, big corporations will acquire and invest in small ones. 2018 will see more new products coming to market, and as a result of the growing variety, standards will rise. This upcoming year will see unexpected partnerships and increased merger and acquisition activity, as the large technology companies seek innovation inside and outside their organizations. Check out below some of the leading names published in a recent AGC report.

Most Active Acquirers & Investors 2014-2017

As per market share, industrial manufacturing is predicted to increase from $472B in 2014 to $890B in global IoT spending:

gLOBAL IoT Market Share by Sub-Sector

Platforms – “Let’s start now with what we have”

When the hype was at its very beginning, we could watch the big industrial firms such as GE and Siemens at one end, and technology conglomerates such as IBM and SAP at the other end, take on the challenge of trying to win market share. As solution providers it seemed important to wait and see who was taking the lead.

The trend now is not to develop on the platform, but more of an integrated sort of solution. The infrastructure will be less of an operating system – it will solve the issues related to data silos, but won’t require running on a specific platform. We already see more and more customers choosing cloud platforms, Azure in particular. Whereas a few years back the question of the platform seemed crucial, now there’s no need to wait for it – rather, it is “let’s start now with what we have”.

POCs phase is over – time to show ROI

As with every emerging technology, there is a necessary phase of Proof of Concept (POC). We believe that with more and more references, this phase is over, and the era of ROI is at our doorstep. Business cases and ROI will be critical for IIoT pilots and adoption in 2018. The year 2017 was about exploring IIoT and led to the explosion of proof of concepts and pilot implementations. While the trend of exploring different solutions will continue into 2018, we assure our customers that adopting the right solutions will bring real business value to the table.

The analytics has proved itself – 2018 is the time of Operations

With this and other fine tuning, the “analytics” is solved. The real challenge for the coming year is to align operations with maintenance. IT and OT teams will collaborate to guarantee successful IIoT deployments. IIoT deployments will start forcing a closer engagement between IT and operations technology (OT) teams. The new solutions know how to make sense of the data. What is now needed is a change of paradigm where Operations and Maintenance work according to newly defined workflows in order to fully exploit the IIoT solutions. Read more in our previous blog here.

Last but not least: Security

Security is a concern that cannot be overlooked. The diverse environments that are involved raise the chances of breaches. Citing a recent paper by Woodside Capital Partners, “The Industrial Internet Consortium (“IIC”), founded by AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, Intel, and IBM, is a global, member supported organization that promotes the accelerated growth of the Industrial Internet of Things by coordinating ecosystem initiatives to securely connect, control and integrate assets and systems of assets with people, processes and data using common architectures, interoperability and open standards to deliver transformational business and societal outcomes across industries and public infrastructure”. The challenge is not to give in to the security threats, but to be aware of the risks while moving on and continuing to invest in the new technologies.

To conclude – an interesting year is ahead. Stay abreast of the technology and be part of the transformation in your industry!

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