Industrial Internet of Things: Unleashing the Potential of Connected Products and Services

This information is presented to allow clients to determine if the publication’s content is relevant, Halberd Bastion advocates reading the 40-page report in its entirety. World Economic Forum’s Report Can Be Downloaded Here.

The international non-profit foundation, World Economic Forum ( was founded in 1974 and is “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”.  Together with Accenture it released this report on Industrial Internet of Things detailing the opportunities, risks and making recommendations.

Over the last 15 years the internet has dramatically changed business to customer (B2C) interactions, particularly in media, retail and the finance sector.  It is forecast that over the next 10 years the IoT revolution will have similarly potent impact in manufacturing, energy, agriculture, transportation and industrial sectors generally.

Key findings of this report deduce that just as the internet allowed companies such as Amazon and Google to disrupt existing business, IoT will also redraw industry boundaries, change the basis of competition, and create its own disruptive companies.  The risks for organisations which do not embrace the technology are real.

Opportunities and benefits will be found in four major areas:

  • Operational efficiency, will benefit vastly though predictive maintenance and remote management.
  • Outcome economy, driven by software-powered services providing innovation and visibility into products.
  • Connected ecosystems, blurring boundaries between industry by combining with software platforms.
  • Collaboration between humans and machines, promoting unprecedented levels of productivity.

The potential rewards however come with challenges.  An example is privacy and security which has already gained a status of high importance, a risk of increasing connectivity / data sharing within the current framework is an increase in vulnerability.  Also, initially there will be high costs to overcome interoperability issues between existing systems to progress to a point of a fully functioning digital ecosystem, this is coupled with a shortage of digital talent and untested technology.

The following actions are required to take advantage of short-term opportunities and accelerate development:

  1. Tech providers need to collaborate to create international standards for security and interoperability that supports brownfield innovation / existing equipment in the field while raising market awareness of the successes.
  2. Tech adopters must tailor their entire business strategy for take advantage of new developments in IoT.  Initiating pilot programs within the next 6 months will assist creating momentum and providing necessary knowledge.
  3. Governments must alter current data protection laws to facilitate cross-border data traffic.  Current regulations will also need updating with policy-makers realising their role in advocating IoT applications and investment in new digital processes.
  4. Stakeholders globally across industry, government and academia must work together on far-sighted research and development to tackle issues of security and interoperability.  The profile of IoT needs to be raised among the general public through demonstration of real benefits.