Many industrial companies in Germany rate the potential of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as high. Accordingly, 40% would like to increase their investments in this area, while only 18% plan to reduce their spendings. These figures were determined by the IDC study “Industrial IoT in Germany 2021”, in which around 250 industrial and industry-related companies with more than 100 employees participated.

 

Short-term optimization of processes and costs

The Industrial Internet of Things refers to the digitization and networking of machines, tools and products to generate data that can be used for automation and analysis, for example. The companies surveyed see the IIoT as a powerful tool to better address short-term challenges arising – at least in part – from the Covid 19 pandemic. 53% of companies aim to streamline processes and cut costs, and 47% want to make better and faster decisions based on more accurate data. Overall, nearly two-thirds of respondents are planning new IIoT projects in the future.

 

Internal and external networking

Above all, companies expect significant added value from intensive networking with other data sources in production as well as with ERP and CRM systems. At 58% of them, the IoT platforms are networked with other IT systems from internal departments to gain better insights or offer new services and products. But the connection to the outside world also reveals considerable potential. Almost two-fifths of IoT platform users are already networked with external innovation partners to jointly create data-based business models.

 

Processing data where it is generated

Edge computing is an important technology for capturing, receiving and processing relevant data directly at endpoints. Examples of edge computing include communication among vehicles in the automotive sector and the use of autonomous robots in process manufacturing that take over process steps that are dangerous for humans.

 

42% of companies are already using edge computing productively or in pilot projects, and a further 29% are currently planning corresponding pilot projects. With the help of edge computing, companies fulfill an important prerequisite for becoming part of ecosystems. This is because they are able to generate relevant data and share it with partners via suitable solutions and interfaces.

 

5G favors Industrial Internet of Things

The increasing spread of the 5G mobile communications standard is having a positive effect on the Industrial Internet of Things and the further development of edge computing. The different application profiles enable new deployment scenarios, for example, decentralized and large-scale applications with high performance requirements or small-scale applications with an extremely high number of devices. While 13% of companies are already using 5G in (pilot) projects, 46% are planning to do so in the foreseeable future.

 

IoT business models still rarely implemented

Although the technological possibilities are available, companies are currently still finding it somewhat difficult to establish IoT-based business models for their customers. For example, many companies already use predictive maintenance for their own purposes, but only 27% have implemented such preventive services for customers. Monetization of their own data has been realized by 25% of companies, and product-as-a-service business models, in which not the product itself but its use is sold, are offered by 22% of companies. The figures are higher when it comes to planning such business models for the future. Here, the proportion reaches an average of 37% across the various use cases.

 

Outlook: Securing competitiveness with IIoT

For some companies, the Corona crisis was certainly a wake-up call to pay closer attention to new technologies and thus increase their own resilience in the future. The Industrial Internet of Things, edge computing and 5G are stable foundations for innovative business models and services that can be provided independently or integrated into ecosystems.

 

In the next few years, a key task for industrial and industry-related companies in Germany will certainly be to develop such ecosystems, establish corresponding partnerships and define generally accepted standards. Only in this way can they secure their competitiveness in the long term. Those who make the best use of the technological prerequisites will improve their prospects of profitably leveraging the existing innovation potential.

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