The Internet of Things (IoT) is now a reality. Google has driverless cars, and we can control our TV, our heating and hot water remotely. The more digitally connected our lives become, the more data we generate. By 2020, 212 billion devices will be connected to the Internet, according to IDC. And the opportunities, the possibilities and the boundless potential generated by being part of a digital, data-driven world are truly inspiring. Things are better, faster, and more powerful when they’re connected.
The enterprise version of this is the Industrial Internet, which brings together powerful machines, smart processes, skilled people and advanced analytics, connecting them across a global network. This is the new industrial revolution, and it’s already creating real impact and unprecedented change. As our physical and digital worlds connect and converge, we produce more and more data. Big data becomes even bigger, and so does our need to understand it. Now, the ability to gain a deep understanding of this data is driving business transformation. Already, 73% of businesses are investing more than 20% of their technology budgets in big data analytics according to GE and Accenture,and this is only going to increaseas organisations quickly realise its huge benefits.
The Industrial Internet enables businesses to unlock maximum value from the data it produces, and use the insight gleaned to transform their business operations and generate success. Businesses worldwide are harnessing the power of the Industrial Internet to drive vast cost savings and create massive productivity improvements across all sectors, from the enhanced manufacturing of planes, trains and automobiles to the dramatically-increased potential of production mail facilities.
And this is where anyone in the print and mail industry should sit up. We all know the production mail industry is measured in tenths-of-pennies and fractions-of-seconds. Those minute details matter: getting things right is critical. The Industrial Internet in the mail industry is helping businesses transform their operations in three key stages:
- Firstly, they’re gaining real-time insight, measuring performance on a micro and global level, from the performance of a specific motor on a single machine, to the productivity benchmarks of leading print and mail operations around the world
- Secondly, they’re extracting predictive analytics, to drive accurate planning and forecasting based on the information at hand – resolving an issue before an outage occurs, for example, as well as recognising patterns and trends and unveiling new revenue streams
- Finally, they’re driving prescriptive maintenance, for faster diagnostics and problem resolution, and identifying how their business can run more effectively, with greater productivity
The performance of physical mail production machines is turbocharged by the power of a SaaS-based digital platform, as the balance of physical and digital becomes a reality and opens up new global opportunities.
But why now? Why is the Industrial Internet beginning its boom at this particular moment in time? As well as the huge and continued increase in connected devices, there are three main reasons. The first comes down to a reduction in the cost of sensors. A sensor is a remarkable feat of engineering, and has become the foundation on which the Industrial Internet is built – think of them as the rocket boosters of NASA’s space shuttle. These small but powerful pieces of technology assimilate vast amounts of data. Production of sensors has become far more cost effective, so they are becoming far more affordable, and businesses are building them into their equipment.
The second reason the time for the Industrial Internet is now is due to the widespread acceptance of cloud platforms as integral parts of a business operation – their agility, and their ability to enable users to manipulate, flex, manage and disseminate data. Businesses are looking to cloud-based technologies and analytics to transform their go-to-market strategies and reinvent their businesses.
The final reason the Industrial Internet is having such a huge impact at this particular point in time is the renewed emphasis on businesses generating new revenue streams. They need to do more, with the same. They need to find different ways of working that don’t involve huge capital investments. And they need to drive innovation, to help them become truly world class and gain a strong competitive edge.
Physical operations are enhanced by digital opportunities to drive wide-reaching, dramatic change.
Where the Internet of Things is about convenience and time-saving, the Industrial Internet facilitates far-reaching change with a huge impact on society – more powerful engines, safer cars, better wind turbines creating cleaner energy. We’re not just talking about a revolution, we’re leading it – and it’s happening right now.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their IoT use-cases? Attend the IoT Tech Expo World Series events with upcoming shows in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.