The statistics are truly mind-blowing and should act as a wake-up call to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the UK. According to figures from The Centre for Economics and Business Research, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is likely to add an incredible £322 billion to the country’s economy over the next two years and create thousands of jobs in the process.
If the experts have got their sums right and there is no reason to doubt them, then it makes no sense for any business or organisation to ignore the opportunities being offered by the fast emerging sector.
At its simplest IIoT is the use of the internet to connect devices and machinery to one another to allow them to share information and communicate with each other. If you are talking about a manufacturer who produces goods and then distributes them to a number of customers then the benefits are immediately obvious. It makes good business sense for any producer to be able to constantly monitor their distribution network to make sure that there are no issues or problems which are stopping finished products getting to the customer as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.
But the possibilities being highlighted by IIoT are limitless for the world of commerce and look set to trigger yet another step change in the way companies and organisations go about their business. If you need any proof of the importance of keeping pace with the latest developments then you only have to look at what has taken place over the last decade in terms of communication technology.
Just a little over a decade ago social media was seen as nothing more than a playground for teenagers, now it is an essential marketing tool for businesses no matter what sector they happen to be involved in.
There have been some misgivings surrounding IIoT and there has been more enthusiasm for the new technology in sectors such as pharmaceuticals and manufacturing. Of course, the organisations with the deepest pockets, the multi-nationals who routinely spend billions on research and development projects, are at the head of the queue when it comes to investing in IIoT.
The reservations around the emerging technology appear to be centred on cyber security and issues of getting the right technology for the needs of the business. If you have a limited budget then you are going to be cautious when it comes to making decisions about investing in new technology or processes. But the danger is that if a business takes a cautious approach now, then they run the risk of losing vital ground against their competitors at a later date.
Here at GovGrant, we are constantly talking to our clients about how they have used innovation and the latest technology to give themselves an advantage in the workplace. From our experience, one of the things we have learned is that it is the early adopters who are the ones who end up leading the marketplace.