Many organizations have taken the first step on their journey toward digitalization. Others have taken a number of steps towards digitalization, and as technology continues to advance, there are several major disruptors coming down the track. These disruptors fall, broadly, into two categories: the realization of business value and the underlying digital technology disruptors.
Value Realization & Disruptors
There are six areas of major shifts in the digital transformation space which are already acting as disruptors for both process and manufacturing operations. The value realization of Industrial IoT and digital has drastically moved from technology and platforms to the following value pillar applications:
- Process Performance Management
- Asset Performance Management
- Operational Excellence
- OT/IT Convergence Security, Extended Automation
- Operational Transformation
Let’s take a look at some current digital technology disruptors and how they can affect a company’s journey toward digitalization.
Deployment at Scale
One major change already at play is deployment at scale. In this change, pilots have matured to become programs. Organizations are realizing that digital solutions work best when deployed at scale either horizontally or vertically. When deployed horizontally, energy optimization is implemented across their units. When deployed vertically, many of the value pillars such as sustainability and asset performance management are implemented, and then replicated.
Convergence of Industrial IoT & AI
Another is the realization that benefits can be gained through the convergence of Industrial IoT and industrial AI, particularly in the context of scaled deployment. ABB’s customers need to bring the connected world, with AI and analytics together, for process and asset optimizations to the table. Once these elements were seen as two different categories, they are inextricable from one another.
Digital Twin Technology
The deployment of digital twin technology has become more value driven. Digital twins are being used for processes, not just assets. Operators are implementing process digital twins at scale and seeing value in 3D models of machinery or instrumentation.
Cloud & Edge Computing
Greater adoption of hybrid cloud and edge computing is happening across the industry, bringing OT/IT integration closer to control systems and process automation technology.
Sustainability at the Center
Finally, the biggest current change in the mindset around digital transformation is placing sustainability at the center of operations. The top priority for digital has shifted from operational excellence to sustainability. Asset performance management plays a key role in supporting energy management and optimization. For example, having solutions to monitor and control water usage and optimizing processes so that you need less energy, water, or resources.
Disruptors to Watch in 2023
Let’s take a look at what is next for digital technology disruptors.
Emergence of Edge AI
Bringing more intelligence and Industrial AI to the edge can achieve close-loop optimization and autonomous operations. This will soon become a reality.
Contextual Data Hubs
Today, more than 80 percent of industrial data is not used for analytics. Through the use of contextual data hubs, where the industrial domain context is applied to the huge volume of IoT operations data, you can achieve predictive and prescriptive analytics.
VR & AR
We will soon enter virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) 2.0. Connected workers and technologies that enable this will quickly find it to become a critical part of modern industrial operations.
Finally, 5G has the potential to radically disrupt the industrial IoT landscape with its speed, connectivity, and the power of remote operations.