How close is industry to a hyper-connected future?

Graeme Wright
By , - InnovationEnergy & Utilities

The Internet of Things (IOT) has been touted as a revolution that will create smart things and dramatically change the way we connect with our everyday items. However, seeing that it’s been a topical issue for quite some time (the connected fridge was first mentioned in the late 90s), how close are we to a hyper connected world? And do we really need a fridge that tells us when we’re out of cucumber?

From a consumer perspective, IoT has become too much about gadgets and gimmicks, and its overall benefits are only slowly being realised – if at all.  In industry, however, there is far more reason to believe it will have a major impact.  We need to question what that impact will be and how it will change business models.

The Internet of Things has been steadily edging its way into industrial applications and could revolutionise the way organisations deliver operational excellence. At the same time, we’re seeing a transformation in ICT models, as Cloud and Hybrid IT become an increasingly important approach to delivering digital services.

The big question for industry, across construction, engineering, and utilities, is how they might have to change their strategy – and even their business models – to really make the most of the opportunities these innovations present.

At Fujitsu, we believe Hybrid IT is the most effective way to balance innovation, reliability and cost savings. And we’ll need a hybrid of different IT approaches to create the Internet of Things that the industry needs.

We are gradually seeing the worlds of information and operational technology converge, and along with this so are their budgets. This presents a great opportunity for all industry sectors – from transportation to engineering to utilities. To embrace this change and the new business models it will enable it will be critical to ensure they can deliver a great digital experience for their customers.

Aligning organisational ICT on common platforms and extending intelligence to the most detailed logistical or operational level holds potential for great benefits. Organisations can be far more effective when they are agile and empowered with comprehensive data that they know they can trust.

This data enables better decision making – it’s more important to do the right things, than to do the wrong things more efficiently.

This approach also reduces risk and costs. As the IOT becomes more pervasive in industry, it will be essential for organisations to align their core services on trusted ICT platforms. This control is necessary to guard against malware & security intrusions, and also reduces software maintenance costs.

As smart cities become a reality, organisations will need to learn how to leverage IoT opportunities, provide connected experiences and drive intelligence around the performance of their assets.

For example, the government is now providing real time intelligence about what’s happening on roads via social media. Jaguar are also piloting real-time pothole detection & data sharing with their connected car concept.  And of course, here at Fujitsu we’re excited about how our connected van concept could transform field engineering.

Innovations like this will create a much bigger impact than the likes of the connected fridge – as they connect things which aren’t traditionally connected and genuinely improve our lives.

Our focus is on how we use the IOT to create a better society, and that sometimes means applications you might not expect – such as connected cows.

In Japan, we’ve been working with farmers to develop sensor & data analysis capabilities for livestock that can even help to decide the optimum time to impregnate a cow to produce a female calf. It’s also possible for farmers to track their herds using connected pedometers – essentially, Fitbits for cattle.

Opportunities such as these generate intelligence, which is great for industries. More data equals more insight – which can lead to happy customers, as their wants and desires are being addressed. So I’m fully on board with a move to a connected future. I’m just keen that we’re looking to connect the right things.

 

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