A Maintenance Manager’s Guide to the Industrial Internet of Things, Part 4: What and Who Is Driving the Development of the IIoT?


Continuing our series, let’s turn to what’s driving the IIoT.

The principal driver of IIoT development is an economic one: its ability to optimize operations, increasingly critical in a global marketplace defined by change, volatility, and constantly increasingly competition. Consulting and advisory services firm McKinsey & Company notes that the biggest competitive gains come from better decisions being informed by IIoT data:

For example, in factories, sensors will make processes more efficient, providing a constant flow of data to optimize workflows and staffing: sensor data that are used to predict when equipment is wearing down or needs repair can reduce maintenance costs by as much as 40 percent and cut unplanned downtime in half. *

To be sure, technology itself is a driver, in terms of development and cost. It’s better, faster, and cheaper than ever before. This trend is sure to continue as costs drop while functionality increases every year at an ever-faster rate. Among the areas where we’re seeing the most improvement:

  • Network connectivity is rapidly improving across factories and other facilities—not just in the “carpeted areas.”
  • A wider range of providers is offering higher-capacity, lower-cost cloud-based storage.
  • “Big data” analytics provide a means of turning the ever-increasing stream of asset data into actionable information. (Gartner defines “big data” as high-volume, high-velocity, and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision-making, and process automation.)
  • Smaller, more reliable, and more intelligent sensors for virtually all types of assets and measures are becoming more readily available at affordable prices.

A Maintenance Manager's Guide to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)While some of the earliest and most recognizable benefits of the IIoT are seen in maintenance, it’s not likely that maintenance as a department will be the primary driver of such initiatives within organizations. The organization has to see benefits across the enterprise to justify the investment. When this economic case is made (and maintenance efficiencies are part of that case), business and operational leaders will buy into the IIoT and drive it. Once this is done, maintenance will benefit from the decision.

Next time, we’ll talk about how the IIoT will affect the maintenance department. If you can’t wait that long, you can download the entire e-book here.

In the meantime, contact us with your questions or concerns. We’re here for you.

* “An Executive’s Guide to the Internet of Things,” McKinsey Quarterly, 2015.

Read the Whole Series: A Maintenance Manager’s Guide to the Industrial Internet of Things