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The buzz surrounding the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its brisk growth is warranted, suggests data from a recent Verizon study.
Verizon-based IoT network connections surged by a whopping 84 percent between 2016 and 2017 in the manufacturing industry, according to the telecommunication giant's recent State of the Market: Internet of Things 2017 report (PDF). Those added connections, plus the devices and system they link together, are helping factories achieve new levels of efficiency and avoid equipment failures that can cause complex processes to come to a crashing halt.
"In manufacturing, sensor data is keeping equipment up and running, streaming data that enables an enterprise to predict when maintenance will be needed," stated the report. "Placing equipment on predictive maintenance schedules helps reduce downtime, cut costs and keep production humming."
Of course, manufacturers aren't the only ones modernizing their businesses with IoT technologies.
Energy and utility companies have increased their use of the IoT as well, collectively growing the number IoT network connections by 41 percent in a year. Close behind are transportation and distribution firms with 40 percent increases.
Some forward-looking municipalities are also bullish on the technology. Verizon IoT connections in smart cities and communities grew by 19 percent. Connections at healthcare and pharmaceutical companies grew by 11 percent.
In healthcare, IoT solutions not only improve operational efficiencies but also help save lives. "Sprawling healthcare complexes are leveraging IoT-enabled track and trace capabilities so medical personnel can quickly locate critical emergency equipment needed for urgent patient care," noted the report.
Although the IIoT is growing by leaps and bounds, the journey to highly automated and efficient workplaces is not without its stumbling blocks.
Earlier this year, a study from the Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network found that despite growing interest in the technology, a scant 1.5 percent of executives at large enterprises said their IIoT projects were well underway. More than half (57 percent) of executives were running pilot programs, planning a deployment or committed to an IIoT implementation.
Although the going may be slow at many organizations, industry analysts expect the IIoT market to expand quickly in the next several years.
Grand View Research predicted that the market for IIoT solutions will surpass the $930 billion mark by 2025. Businesses looking to reduce costs and automate processes, plus cratering sensor prices, will help lift the market at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 28 percent during the intervening years.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.