New ABB Study Tackles IIoT Role in Driving Change

ABB has released findings of its self-commissioned global study that touches on industrial transformation and its role on digitalization and sustainability. Particularly, the “Billions of Better Decisions: Industrial Transformation’s New Imperative“, examines the current take-up of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and driving change.

Moreover, the goal of the new ABB research is to spur discussion within industry regarding opportunities to leverage the IIoT and empower companies and workers to make better decisions that can benefit both sustainability and the bottom line.

“Billions of Better Decisions” study commissioned by ABB highlights the role of Industrial IoT solutions in reaching sustainability goals while empowering the industrial workforce. (Image Credit: ABB)

IIoT Adoption Still at Infancy

The ABB-commissioned study found that an organization’s future competitiveness is the single greatest factor lies on industrial companies’ increased focus on sustainability. About 46 percent of respondents cited this.

Nonetheless, while 96 percent of global decisionmakers view digitalization as “essential to sustainability,” only 35 percent of surveyed firms have implemented IIoT solutions at scale. This gap shows that while many industrial leaders recognize the important relationship between digitalization and sustainability, the adoption of relevant digital solutions to enable better decisions and achieve sustainability goals needs to accelerate. Particularly, this is true for sectors like manufacturing, energy, buildings, and transport.

“Sustainability goals more and more are a crucial driver of business value and company reputation, and Industrial IoT solutions are playing an increasingly important role in helping enterprises achieve safe, smart and sustainable operations,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area. “Unlocking insights hidden in operational data holds the key to enabling literally billions of better decisions throughout industry and acting upon them, with significant gains in productivity, reduced energy consumption and lower environmental impact.”

Win-Win Scenarios with IIoT

About 63 percent of executives surveyed strongly agreeing that sustainability is good for their company’s bottom line. In addition, 58 percent also strongly agreeing it delivers immediate business value, which makes clear sustainability and traditional priorities of Industry 4.0 efforts – speed, innovation, productivity, efficiency, customer-centricity – are increasingly intertwined. These open up win-win scenarios for companies looking to drive efficiency and productivity while making strides on climate change.

The ABB-commissioned study points to 72 percent of companies are increasing investment in Industrial IoT specifically to address sustainability aims. (Image Credit: ABB)

“The International Energy Agency estimates that industry accounts for more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions today,” said Terwiesch. “If we are to reach climate objectives such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement, industrial organizations need to implement digital solutions as part of their sustainability strategies. Embracing these technologies at all levels – from the boardroom to the facility floor – is key, as every member of the industrial workforce can become a better decision-maker when it comes to sustainability.”

Key Points of Study

Equally important are some of the study’s key findings. It noted 71 percent of respondents reported greater priority given to sustainability objectives because of the pandemic. In addition, 72 percent said they are “somewhat” or “significantly” increasing spending on IIoT due to sustainability.

Also, 94 percent of respondents agreed the IIoT “enables better decisions, improving overall sustainability while 57 percent of respondents indicated the Industrial IoT has had a “significant positive effect” on operational decision-making.

Meanwhile, the study also underscored perceived cybersecurity vulnerabilities are the topmost barrier to improving sustainability through the IIoT. More on the study output are available in the ABB website.