IIoT / Digitalization / Smart Manufacturing

Will this be the year that your enterprise makes the IIoT leap?

Thomas Wilk explores the impact of the digital transformation.

By Thomas Wilk, chief editor

For the second January in a row, we’re using this lead issue to look ahead at the industry conversations likely to follow over the next 11 months. Like last year, there’s still no bigger buzz than the impact that digital transformation and the industrial internet is having both on work and on the people who do work.

I’m writing this note on the 10-year anniversary of the launch of the iPhone, which marks a genuine milestone in the history of both internet-enabled communications and mobile computing. As the iPhone evolved and the iPad emerged, savvier organizations and IT workers caught on early to the opportunities available to digitize operations. For example, a close friend who works in commercial real estate directed his teams early on to rethink his organization’s processes as each new Apple device launched, reducing business friction in the field and moving toward nearly paperless operations.

Our coverage of the IIoT last year was anchored by a review of how organizations were collaborating to develop common industrial IoT vocabularies, as well as an evaluation of how ready asset-intensive organizations are to adopt IIoT technologies into their operations.

In this issue, Jason Kasper of LNS Research charts how far industry has come in the past 12–18 months, focusing on the impact that digital transformation is having on asset lifecycle management. Specifically, Kasper sees industry moving in 2017 toward the wider adoption of smart connected assets and prescriptive analytics to manage asset health and generate operational efficiencies.

Many other contributors this month round out the digital conversation:

  • IFS CTO Dan Matthews identifies three myths that cause organizations to hesitate on IoT projects.
  • Skkynet’s Bob McIlvride examines how to combine in-house skills with outside expertise to build systems that enable deeper data-driven insights into your assets.
  • Bruce Hawkins and Scott Bruni review the foundational IIoT steps that plant teams can take, noting that roughly 60% of the instrumentation needed for critical assets often already exists.
  • Tech Toolbox’s Sheila Kennedy surveys the network security solutions landscape in an age of IT-OT convergence.
  • Jeff Shiver of People and Processes outlines six steps that can improve the speed and quality of cultural change in your organization.
  • Finally, in her Big Picture Interview, Bentley Systems’ Anne-Marie Walters looks ahead to the role that 3D modeling will play in the internet-enabled asset management landscape.

This issue also marks the first column from our newest regular contributor, Richard “Doc” Palmer, with the launch of new monthly department “Palmer’s Planning Corner.” Doc leaves a positive impact wherever he turns his gaze, and we’re thrilled to begin sharing his insights with you.