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ABB research reveals potential for broad IIoT adoption despite security fears
Thu, 30th Nov 2023

New research from ABB, an expert in electrification and automation technologies, shows the increasing influence of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) on global industries.

Based on a survey of more than 300 decision-makers from sectors such as data centres, utilities, renewable energy, and transport infrastructure, the report highlights the resulting spike in demand for data centre services. However, it notes that concerns about security present a significant obstacle to further adoption of IIoT.

The research underscores the competitive edge that businesses gain from implementing IIoT on a large scale. These networking devices provide comprehensive visibility of industrial operations and crucial opportunities for energy conservation. The paper, titled 'See the full potential of digital, faster', demonstrates how organisations worldwide can capitalise on these advantages.

While most of the businesses surveyed have begun their digitalisation journey, ABB's research indicates that many more stand to benefit from upgrading their technology. Interestingly, among the companies interviewed, 93% were in some stage of digital adaptation, with 21% being mature and already experiencing significant benefits.

According to Sherif El-Meshad, Global Digital Lead from ABB Electrification, while many organisations in the energy sector are replacing traditional assets with smart counterparts, there is enormous potential for a quicker progression towards a data-driven future.

"Against an increasingly challenging and complex energy transition backdrop, digitalisation provides an opportunity to not only simplify the journey but also fundamentally improve efficiency," he commented.

The report also revealed a paradox in businesses' approach to environmental targets. A total of 44% cited these goals as crucial for their electrical systems management, but only 20% saw sustainability targets as a motivator for implementing IIoT.

El-Meshad emphasised the influential role automation plays in enhancing production efficiency and maintaining environmental compliance. He asserted that showing commitment towards sustainability objectives requires organisations to fast-track their digital transformation. Doing so will enable them to monitor and optimise resource usage and minimise carbon emissions by leveraging smart technology.

Despite these advantages, fears about cybersecurity, issues integrating with existing assets, and the lack of internal skills expertise and evidence of business value or return on investment were identified as the main obstacles preventing a wider adoption of IIoT.

El-Meshad concluded that for businesses to capitalise on IIoT, they must focus on scalable value and recognise that achieving scale requires commitment and investment.

ABB is a technology specialist in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company's solutions aim to connect engineering know-how and software to optimise how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated.

ABB Electrification is a specialist in electrical distribution and management from source to socket. The company develops products, solutions and digital technologies that enable energy efficiency and a low carbon society across all sectors.