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Experience Counts Loudly: IoT/IIoT Developers Weigh In

By Alex Passett
February 16, 2023

IIoT is all about the use of internet-connected devices and smart sensors that collect and evaluate data from industrial machinery and processes. With mushrooming IIoT adoptions, industries are benefitting from serious digital transformations (which lead right to operations that are more efficiently monitored, cut-down costs, and steps forward in the evolution of autonomous operational accomplishments).

That said, like in IoT, experience is a sine qua non (i.e. an urgent prerequisite). Real-time insights are worth little without experts capable of parsing them and molding them into action.

On Tuesday at IoT Evolution Expo 2023, held at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL, a panel discussion covered precisely that. Moderated by Carl Ford, Director and CEO of Crossfire Media, Industrial IoT Conference specialists sat down to talk shop regarding industry experiences and its mileage on the road to IIoT furtherance. These speakers were Dan Croft, CEO of Mission Critical IoT, President and COO of People 10, Nisha Shoukath, and Director of Industry Solutions Manufacturing at HiveMQ, Ravi Subramanyan.

One of the primary obstacles in IoT/IIoT success, the speakers immediately agreed, is lack of experience. The right types of experience, no less. Another obstacle is the cultural difference between IT and OT. The IT world is used to processing data, whereas the OT world is used to producing goods and services via tech. And while there is importance to each perspective, a combination of experience for IoT/IIoT is sorely needed. Third-party developers who produce IoT solutions may end up taking advantage of the ill-experienced. Existing staff and business operations could be disrupted. (And not in the good IoT disruption sense.)

So, how can IoT/IIoT solutions accelerate and improve?

“The first thing is unclogging chains-of-command and executions,” Croft said. “Only 5% to 7% of IoT deployments are actually at full production. So many – far, far too many – get stuck in trials. They get swamped in proof-of-concept phases because of ROI concerns. They’re stalled. We need to smoothen ease of deployment to make it feel less daunting, and we should really make the leap away from bogged-down proofs of concept.”

“Exactly,” Shoukath said. “It’s our job not just to make IoT bigger, but to make it happen in the first place. More needs to happen.”

“And that comes down to use cases,” Subramanyan followed up. “People know that IoT is necessary, but I’ve met a lot who understand necessity without seeing what IoT and IIoT really are and what their use cases entail. They’re eager to jump in due to pressure, perhaps. But when pressure is placed, proper considerations may be left forgotten. They want ‘Solution D’ without ‘Tangibles A-C’ that must get them there.”

As a member of the audience, it sounded to me as though proof-of-concept stages may not be the productive go-to in this industry; hinderances, maybe.

“Some proofs of concept are born without upper management involvement and buy-in, and those are the ones that usually don’t happen at all,” Croft said. “Solid communications and realistic ROIs make all the difference in the world. There are so many moving parts; more industry consistencies are needed to change minds.”

The panel went on to dissect secondary gaps; equipment needs, the sophistication and in-syncness of forward-thinking IoT/IIoT teams (versus senses of sheer overwhelm by newer adopters), IT-OT cross-functionality, data pain points, customer perceptions, and how established IoT implementers can future-proof by shedding experienced light on undervalued branches of IoT and IIoT.

Edited by Alex Passett
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