North American businesses are becoming more sophisticated in their use of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) applications, reporting double-digit gains in key areas, according to a study from global enterprise applications company IFS, released this month.
IFS surveyed executives at 200 companies, from manufacturers to trade contractors and oil and gas companies, about their IoT adoption and usage. They found that organizations are collecting more data from connected devices, integrating it with other systems in new ways, and making IoT more central to their businesses.
The study underscores the growing impact of IoT in industrial applications and across the supply chain.
In particular, IFS said more companies are collecting IoT data on entire network cells or production lines rather than on individual machine components or individual machines—a 17 percent increase in the last year. This allows for more advanced use cases, which helps explain a 30 percent increase in firms' use of IoT to support asset performance management, the study authors said.
On the customer side, respondents to the IFS study reported a 10 percent increase in their use of IoT to monitor customer equipment, "potentially signaling transformational approaches to field service management," the authors said.
Despite the gains in IoT applications, IFS reports that relatively few companies—just 16 percent—say they have integrated IoT data streams with their enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, a factor that may hinder their ability to leverage IoT for overall business improvement and to drive new revenue opportunities.
"Enterprise IoT integration allows you to take incoming data from connected devices and use it to create business events in ERP," IFS Chief Product Officer Christian Pedersen said in a statement announcing the survey results. "The software can either present that data to humans or act on it as it comes in. Think of the potential for IoT constantly streaming into ERP through the business logic, where artificial intelligence (AI) applications constantly learn and apply that learning by creating new business logic. That is when AI will see the real breakthrough—and when ERP systems will dramatically transform, changing the way we think about them."