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November 01, 2016

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and How Businesses Can Capitalize On It

by Ryan Fahey
Categories: Internet of Things

With the growth of wearable technology such as FitBits, the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a part of everyday life. But what role does it play in the B2B world? The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is less understood. As this area of business technology grows so does the capacity for businesses to capitalize on the offerings and benefits that IIoT provides.

Throughout this article you will take away key areas of positioning for your manufacturing business to use in messaging IIoT to your prospective audience base. With the growth in this market businesses can reap the rewards to get messaging out and capture those businesses who aim to take operations to the next level of automation.

What is IIoT exactly?

“The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies in manufacturing. Also known as the Industrial Internet, IIoT incorporates machine learning and big data technology, harnessing the sensor data, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication and automation technologies that have existed in industrial settings for years,” as referenced by TechTarget.

You can see this in examples such as plant operations that can remotely control sensors to ensure temperature control, healthcare operations that can monitor and diagnose patients, and farming equipment that can monitor water allocation to crops. The unique benefit here is not that these items didn’t exist before but that they now can report on what is happening and act/respond to situations as well. The resulting improvements can create increased efficiencies in safety, security, and reliability.

Businesses Who Can Position Themselves for Wins

Cloud Platforms

With smarter technology comes the need for much more data capacity to run things properly. Whereas at one time having software and other storage on hand was the “go-to” — now companies are turning to cloud platforms that are able to handle large data to support vast infrastructures. For those cloud based businesses seeking to gain new clients in the marketing space, the strength will be in being able to showcase how easily it is to expand storage when needed and how its services are as “future proof” as possible. More importantly, with increases in cyber security attacks, particularly on business entities, cloud platforms that can provide guarantees of its security will win out long-term.

Key Winning Differentiators:

  • Easily expanded storage capacity
  • “Future proof” technology
  • Proven cyber security capabilities

Data Analytics

New service offerings promising improved data and business efficiencies make it into the marketplace almost daily. Marketers themselves are used to being pitched everything from improved programs for marketing performance and integration tools to assist analysis. The issue here comes that while data leads decision making it is not always interpreted correctly or made actionable. Whenever I receive prospecting calls from companies offering the next big thing in marketing I ask the direct question, “This sounds great but how do I make this work for me?” The same goes for manufacturing businesses — with IIoT comes an onslaught of information that when funneled correctly can make for big wins. Big data = big wins. However, while the machines who utilize IIoT may be able to act responsively with this data, we need the humans who run the business to be able to understand it as well.

Key Winning Differentiators:

  • Visual dashboards that not only easily show data but interpret it for the user
  • Adaptable technology that learns and grows (artificial intelligence)
  • Simulation ability to show how a process change could affect performance

Cyber Security

One of the top government platforms being watched is that of cyber security. In fact, many marketers witnessed huge disruption to top sites on October 21, 2016 as an Internet infrastructure, Dyn, took on attacks. As Wired.com referenced, “Initial reports indicate that the attack was part of a genre of DDoS that infects Internet of Things devices (think webcams, DVRs, routers, etc.) all over the world with malware. Once infected, those Internet-connected devices become part of a botnet army, driving malicious traffic toward a given target.” With IIoT relying on IoT devices to operate this poses huge risks to the ever-evolving and changing technology. This expensive IIoT technology brought on to improve efficiencies could actually be turned against a company.

Cyber security companies have a huge market opportunity ahead as manufacturers aren’t just looking at cyber security as “good to have” but a “must have.” The challenge to those who offer cyber security, however, is if they can guarantee the security features that are selling. With continuously changing and adaptive attacks, a large R&D investment is needed to be able to stay one step ahead.

 Key Winning Differentiators:

  • Calming fears by ensuring data security
  • Proprietary security features
  • Keeping competitive price points given the high cost of research

IoT is now a part of the world’s vernacular and IIoT, while growing fast, is still in the early stage of its life cycle. What this signifies is an immense opportunity for service offerings that can aid IIoT manufacturing businesses. As can be expected, many businesses are entering this space and many others are expanding their current product offerings to be able to answer these changing business models. Marketers have a great opportunity ahead to differentiate themselves with messages that resonate with their audience’s needs. Additionally, marketing research can aid product teams in their business to identify product roadmaps in order to prioritize R&D. This alignment would be a great strategy to move your business forward since it harnesses where the market will be heading. As marketers in the IIoT evolution, it will be exciting to capitalize on this new business by being able to not only appeal to audiences with winning messages but stand by them as well.