KEY POINTS

  • The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next technological revolution in the manufacturing sector, and adoption is already well underway. In total we estimate that manufacturers globally were utilizing a quarter billion IoT devices by the end of 2015, and that number will reach 1 billion by 2020. 
  • Investment in the IoT by manufacturers will translate to billions in spending. We estimate that global manufacturers will invest $70 billion on IoT solutions in 2020. That's up from $29 billion in 2015. 
  • Manufacturing has seen the highest return on investment (ROI) from IoT solutions compared with other industries. Manufacturers utilizing IoT solutions in 2014 saw an average 28.5% increase in revenues between 2013 and 2014, according to a TATA Consultancy Survey.
  • Manufacturers are currently using IoT solutions to track assets in their factories, consolidate their control rooms, and increase their analytics functionality through predictive maintenance. Many IoT solutions are still basic, but we expect manufacturers to eventually implement more complex technologies, such as autonomous robots and augmented reality (AR) tools. 
  • To successfully adopt IoT solutions, manufacturers will need to address three key aspects of implementation: Assess which parts of the production cycle can be automated and/or monitored most effectively with IoT devices connected to an analytics platform; assess ways in which solutions could improve the work environment rather than focusing solely on ROI; and be prepared to work with multiple IoT system providers. 
  • There are four top barriers that will create challenges for manufacturers as they begin to upgrade to the IoT. These barriers include the increasing threat of a cyber attack, difficulty determining ROI, technical difficulty integrating the IoT into a factory, and reluctance to implement automation, which would result in job losses.

Introduction

Over the past 25+ years, global manufacturers have leveraged new technologies to increase their output and boost their revenues. This has been evident in the rapid growth in output per employee since the tech boom gained momentum in the early aughts, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Bureau of Economic Analysis. 

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