History is happening: Have we reached the IIoT tipping point?

April 23, 2018
Thomas Wilk says when it comes to the IIoT, 'wait for it' is not an effective strategy.

Welcome to Plant Services’ special issue on the industrial internet of things, or IIoT!

This year the Plant Services editors are taking the opportunity in April and September to bring you front-to-back coverage of a single industry topic. And as a colleague noted recently, there just aren’t many shake-ups in the maintenance and reliability field, but we are living through one now in the form of Industry 4.0.

In this spirit, each article and column in this special issue touches in some way on how internet-enabled technologies are enhancing our ability to operate safely and profitably even as they introduce new risks, especially in the form of cybersecurity.

Admittedly, for a few years now the term “IIoT” has held more promise than substance for the average facility, as the buzz surrounding it outpaced the number of use cases and success stories. However it feels like we’re at a tipping point this time: more and more organizations are discovering how less expensive sensors, cheaper processing power, and a new generation of mobile natives entering the workforce are combining to drive new value and opportunity.

From the Editor

This article is part of our monthly From the Editor column. Read more from Thomas Wilk.

In fact the value of the IIoT is expected to exceed $1.9 trillion over the next decade, and a large chunk of that new value or opportunity will be realized by you. Increased asset uptime and plant throughput via PdM, improved planning and scheduling, a smarter, more streamlined supply chain – these are the areas where digitalization is having a strong impact, and when it comes to the IIoT, “wait for it” is no longer an effective strategy. You and your coworkers have a unique opportunity to help stake out a digital path forward for your facility, and your competitors are catching up.

Our coverage this month is led by a cover story by ARC Advisory Group’s Greg Gorbach and Valentijn de Leeuw, who map out the four dimensions that teams should consider when developing a digital strategy. Other features address the two most common questions we’ve heard from plant teams regarding the IIoT: how do we apply digital technology to legacy assets, and how do we keep network intruders out?
The issue also includes several first-hand accounts of digital MRO projects that are generating benefits for their organizations, and a special Asset Manager column from David Berger which includes a reader survey on IIoT project challenges. (To take the survey, click here.)

Finally, this editor’s note was the last article written for this special issue, and I went back and forth on the headline:

  • “You can’t spell ‘history’ without ‘IT’ and ‘OT’ ”? Too much wordplay.
  • “Don’t believe the hype”? Catchy, but we’re past the hype phase for IIoT.
  • “Stairway to IIoT”? It does reference a Plant...

In the end though, it made sense to go with a line from Hamilton. The IIoT is both the new normal and Wilder West.

Do not throw away your shot.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

Sponsored Recommendations

Arc Flash Prevention: What You Need to Know

March 28, 2024
Download to learn: how an arc flash forms and common causes, safety recommendations to help prevent arc flash exposure (including the use of lockout tagout and energy isolating...

Reduce engineering time by 50%

March 28, 2024
Learn how smart value chain applications are made possible by moving from manually-intensive CAD-based drafting packages to modern CAE software.

Filter Monitoring with Rittal's Blue e Air Conditioner

March 28, 2024
Steve Sullivan, Training Supervisor for Rittal North America, provides an overview of the filter monitoring capabilities of the Blue e line of industrial air conditioners.

Limitations of MERV Ratings for Dust Collector Filters

Feb. 23, 2024
It can be complicated and confusing to select the safest and most efficient dust collector filters for your facility. For the HVAC industry, MERV ratings are king. But MERV ratings...