ABI Research has published its latest whitepaper, "The 36 Transformative Technology Stats You Need to Know for 2021." According to the global tech market advisory firm, as manufacturers integrate IT and OT, they rely on Industrial IoT (IIoT) platforms dedicated to smart manufacturing to manage their devices, connectivity, infrastructure, and data. These IIoT platforms also help manufacturers implement applications, derive insights, and deliver those insights to the correct stakeholders. IIoT platforms come in a variety of flavors to meet a range of needs. The most suitable definition, however, is that of an Application Enablement Platform (AEP). More than $32 billion will be spent on these solutions annually by 2025, forecasts ABI.
AEPs provide a solution for importing data, but they often require partners to provide gateways. Some AEPs, such as Siemens MindSphere, Emerson Plantweb and PTC ThingWorx, provide a “one-stop shop” that can take data from devices and work like an Operating System (OS) with an app store. “Some one-stop shops focus more on extracting data and getting data to the cloud, while others focus more on delivering the data to other manufacturing and enterprise systems," said Ryan Martin, industrial and manufacturing research director at ABI. "If app development remains open, applications can be built by the AEP provider, from partners (which may also be called platforms), end users, or independent developers, much like smartphone app stores."
Another trend highlighted in the whitepaper: smart glasses will no longer be a novelty on the factory floor with the number of connections forecast to grow from 1.4 million in 2019 to 20.9 million in 2025 (at a CAGR of 57%).
“The rapid growth in connections reveals that solutions based on AR are fast becoming a mainstream technology on the factory floor," said Michael Larner, principal analyst at ABI. "The glasses can increasingly be part of manufacturers’ plans for onboarding staff, for providing top-up training in context, and for enabling more experienced staff to remotely support juniors. As well as maturing use cases, the growth in connections is evidence that the glasses will become comfortable enough to wear over an extended period and that investments in cellular networks means that the embedded software can support the staff in real time.