How to put the IIoT in sustainability

March 10, 2022
New survey suggests digitalization efforts go together with sustainability efforts

An international survey of 765 decision-makers revealed that, while 96% believe digitalization is “essential to sustainability,” just 35% have implemented Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions at scale. However, 72% of companies are increasing investment in IIoT specifically to address sustainability aims.

In “Billions of better decisions: industrial transformation’s new imperative,” the global study, commissioned by ABB, the IIoT’s potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and driving change takes center stage.

Also read: Food and mobility industries get a boost of sustainability and efficiency

“Sustainability goals more and more are a crucial driver of business value and company reputation, and Industrial IoT solutions are playing an increasingly important role in helping enterprises achieve safe, smart and sustainable operations,” says Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Process Automation business area. “Unlocking insights hidden in operational data holds the key to enabling literally billions of better decisions throughout industry and acting upon them, with significant gains in productivity, reduced energy consumption and lower environmental impact.”

An organization’s focus on sustainability is driven by “future competitiveness,” which was cited by 46% of respondents in the survey.

While 96% of global decision-makers view digitalization as “essential to sustainability,” only 35% of surveyed firms have implemented IIoT solutions at scale. This demonstrates the gap between recognition and adoption. It seems that almost every manufacturer can see the value of IIoT in sustainability efforts, but only one-third of them are taking action.

Some additional findings from the study include:

  • 71% of respondents reported greater priority given to sustainability objectives as a result of the pandemic.
  • 72% said they’re increasing spending on IIoT due to sustainability.
  • 94% of respondents agreed IIoT enables better decisions, improving overall sustainability.
  • 57% of respondents indicated IIoT has had a significant positive effect on operational decision-making.

Perceived cybersecurity vulnerabilities are the biggest barrier to improving sustainability through the Industrial IoT.

So, with 63% of surveyed executives agreeing that sustainability is good for the company’s bottom line, and 58% agreeing it delivers immediate business value, it appears that sustainability and Industry 4.0 efforts for speed, innovation, productivity, efficiency and customer-centricity are headed in the same direction.

About the author: Mike Bacidore