The Industrial Internet of Things

Most of you are familiar with the term “the internet of things”. It describes the addition of electronic intelligence to the devices we use every day. More and more common products come now with some sort of built-in circuitry to share data, make the device more user sensitive, track problems, and more.

A new report from consulting firm Accenture (http://www.accenture.com/us-en/Pages/insight-industrial-internet-of-things.aspx?c=glb_wef2015pr_10000001&n=otc_0115 ) claims there is a huge potential growth opportunity now in the Industrial internet of things (IIoT). In fact, they claim that if the proper steps are taken now, this could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

Accenture says that when manufacturers plan correctly for IIoT, it will cause market upheavals because they will essentially be reinventing their products. This is true for new “state of the art” products and for much older products or services seen now as commodities. In both cases, by adding information, it changes the way these products and services are used.

Another important benefit will be the way this will make everyone’s work “more engaging and productive.” As machines do more and more of the boring, repetitive work like monitoring live traffic data, it will free humans up to focus on the more interesting and challenging work such as considering what changes in traffic behavior mean to current lane closure plans, or travel time models.

They feel there are three things that must be done now to realize the full potential of the industrial internet of things:

1) Re-imagine industry models: Redesign business and operating models to accommodate and support the new product – service hybrids enabled by the IIoT.
2) Realize the value of data:  Generate new insights from physical objects and share them between players within supply chains and cross-industry consortia to create new opportunities.
3) Prepare for the future of work: Invest in new skills and processes that enable human and digital labor to work effectively together. Implement organizational changes that support the more collaborative and autonomous working environment the IIoT will make possible.

These recommendations have very significant application to the work zone ITS world. Equipment maintenance and system dependability are just the first two areas that come to mind. This technology will make us far more efficient while allowing us to inexpensively collect far more data. The trick is in understanding how this wealth of data might help manufacturers, contractors, agencies or the travelling public.

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