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Microsoft Industry Blogs - United Kingdom

IoT: The £600B Opportunity for Manufacturing

According to global market intelligence firm IDC, the opportunity for the Internet of Things (IoT) in manufacturing is expected to be nearly a trillion dollars ($913B USD) by 2018. That’s roughly £600B GBP of value that manufacturers could gain by 2018 by embracing IoT technology. In fact, companies have increased revenue by over 16% in areas of their businesses that implement Industrial IoT technologies.

IoT technology is, in a nutshell, a network of connected devices that provide data that helps organisations gain more granular insight into performance and automate complex and formerly manual processes. The number of networked devices continues to grow exponentially, expecting to reach 50 billion devices (that’s seven devices for every person on the planet) by 2020.

Where IoT adds value for manufacturing

There are a lot of potential uses for IoT in manufacturing, but most of these opportunities fall into one of the following four categories: device connectivity and management, data management and insights, advanced analytics, and business productivity and process optimisation.

With device connectivity and management, manufacturers are able to gain visibility into, access to and control of machinery and processes – all via a connected network. Data management and insight takes the information from these connected devices to help manufacturers manager key performance indicators (KPIs) to improve operational performance and decision making. Advanced analytics allows manufacturers to anticipate problems and deliver new value-added services; in some cases creating entirely new lines of business. With business productivity and process optimisation, this analytics capability can be integrated into everyday tasks, workflows and business processes.

Real world IoT transformations

Here are just a few examples of where IoT is allowing manufacturers to radically transform their businesses. Leading global manufacturer ThyssenKrupp Elevator maintains more than 1.1 million lifts worldwide. By connecting lift sensors and systems to the cloud and drawing this data into a dashboard available on PCs and mobile devices for a real-time view of key performance indicators, they have been able to increase lift reliability, reduce costs, and gain real-time visibility into global lift performance.

Another example is KUKA Systems Group, the designer of the first industrial robot, sought to design an automated manufacturing process capable of producing eight different Jeep Wrangler bodies on the same production line without interrupting production flow. By connecting 259 assembly-line robots with a controller, over 60,000 devices points, line-of-business applications, and back end systems, KUKA have been able to achieve continuous uptime enables 24 hours of production per day for over 8 years. Their rapid adaptation supports multiple models and helps produce a car body every 77 seconds.

Opening up new possibilities for business models

While these companies are among the early winners who are able to increase their profitability through IoT, the sky really is the limit for manufacturers who are able to imagine new efficiencies, and opportunities, adopt the right systems to help realise these opportunities, and support the end-to-end lifecycle to build for the needs of their customers, employees, and organisations by providing value-added services and digital experiences that differentiate themselves from competitors.

These are just some of the possibilities for IoT that we explore in our whitepaper: Manufacturing Reimagined. And IoT is just one of the seven emerging trends that are changing manufacturing.

Watch IoT & manufacturing in action

Discover the other 6 emerging trends in manufacturing