“Analytics is to data what refining is to oil: The process that turns the resource into a valuable product,” says the opening paragraph of a new survey report, Industrial Analytics Report 2016/17, initiated and governed by the Digital Analytics Association e.V. Germany (DAAG). The report provides a good overview of how executives in Europe and around the world, representing leading manufacturers, system integrators, automation tool vendors, and other institutions, view the value of IIoT analytics, and how this new application space will continue to expand.
The rapid growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is already precipitating a deluge of data, and manufacturers are anticipating much more to come. As they experience this mounting wave, they also recognize the need to extract value from it. Thus, a majority of respondents to the survey said that industrial analytics will become crucially important over the next five years. That value will be due, they believe, to increased revenue from the data sources that the IIoT will tap. The way they see it, analysis of IIoT data will open opportunities for predictive and prescriptive maintenance, better analysis of customers and markets, and a better understanding of how products are actually used in the field.
Most responses indicated that to take full advantage of the data stream, the quality of these analytics will need to gain in sophistication. For example, the majority foresee exchanging spreadsheets for Business Intelligence and advanced analytical tools. These real-time analytical tools are expected to help them evolve from a current ability to merely describe problems towards the capacity to predict the problems, and even prescribe solutions.
Of course, there are challenges to be met. All of this will come at a cost, replied those surveyed, with the largest expenses expected to be for the software and applications needed to gain access to the data and aggregate it. Another challenge is a skills and technology gap in the area of the IIoT infrastructure. In general, a full 78% of the participants rated “interoperability between different system components” as challenging or very challenging. About 60% said the same for “data accuracy,” and about 50% rated “integration with enterprise systems” at that same level of difficulty.
These survey results validate Skkynet’s approach to the IIoT. We believe that companies should not have to get drawn into infrastructure development to reap the benefits of sophisticated analysis of live and historical IIoT data. We provide interoperability through secure, real-time data exchange between remote devices, shop-floor equipment, multiple facilities, and main-office IT departments. Companies accessing our SkkyHub™ service can gain the full value of the IIoT with no development costs or capital expenditure.
Any company looking into IIoT-based industrial analytics should dream big, sharpen their analytical skills, and choose good tools. When they are ready to connect to their data sources, integrate them, and put the results into their analytical systems, they should come to us.