The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to contribute an average 10 percent increase in revenues to companies participating in the global supply chain, according to new research from Inmarsat.
The global study shows that organisation expect an increase of 10 percent in revenue by 2023 thanks to automation and efficiency from the IIoT, but skills shortages and security issues will also need to be addressed as part of the roll out.
The survey of 750 businesses with a combined turnover of $1.16 trillion, showed that organisations expect to make significant gains from increased automation and operational efficiency through the use of real time data and machine-to-machine communication.
Global supply chains are expected to see some of the greatest benefit from IIoT, through optimisation, acceleration and transparency of supply chains, the report said. Across supply chain organisations, 21 percent of companies surveyed have already deployed IIoT solutions, with 25 percent currently trialling IIoT, and a further 41 percent expecting to roll out within 18 months or less.
Lack of skills was cited as the biggest barrier to adoption of IIoT, with security skills cited as a problem area by 56 percent of respondents, followed by analytics and data skills (48 percent), and technical support skills (42 percent).
Security fears are also a potential barrier to IIoT deployment, with risk of external cyber-attack, poor network security and potential mishandling/misuse of data by employees cited as the biggest issues. To address these security risks, companies reported that they are training employees on IIoT, upgrading their existing security and investing in new security technology.
The report, IIoT on Land and at Sea, was conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of the mobile satellite communications specialist.
To enable complete connectivity across supply chains, particularly in remote regions or at sea, organisations expect to utilise satellite data connectivity to maintain reliable IIoT communications. Companies are also utilising RFID, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), LoRaWAN and Sigfox connections to enable IIoT devices.
Commenting on the findings, Paul Gudonis, president of Inmarsat Enterprise, said: "IIoT is emerging as a major force in the modern enterprise and it's clear that businesses are prioritising satellite technology to transform their operations and achieve competitive advantage. Data generated by IIoT infrastructure is expected particularly to bring greater transparency to the global supply chain, allowing businesses to automate processes, reduce operational waste and speed up rate of production, leading to higher revenues and lower costs.
"However, many businesses are struggling with security, skills and connectivity challenges in large scale IIoT deployments. Over half (56 percent) require additional cyber-security skills and 34 percent don't yet have access to the connectivity they need. For global businesses that require a global communications network, satellite connectivity will play a key role, guaranteeing constant secure data transmission wherever their IIoT infrastructure is located."