With groundbreaking innovation in network infrastructure, adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and continuous technological advancements in handheld devices, the factory environment is set to witness a huge transformation with the advent of industrial mobile applications (apps). Coupled with IIOT, industrial mobile apps will create new business models and revenue streams aimed at enhancing connectivity, control, convergence and customer satisfaction, plus increase overall plant productivity, responsiveness, supply chain logistics and employee relations.
Frost & Sullivan Industrial Automation & Process Control Research Analyst Sharmila Annaswamy says: “Companies such as Cisco and Dassault Systèmes are offering industrial mobile apps to train field engineers globally via cloud-enabled video technology and do real-time troubleshooting. Rockwell and Honeywell also offer Industrial Ethernet and Wi-Fi-enabled devices to monitor and control plant assets and performance, and provide services to proactively respond to the kinetic needs of the customer.”
Global Industrial Mobility Market, 2016, part of Frost & Sullivan’s Industrial Automation & Process Control Growth Partnership subscription, finds that development of mobile apps for industrial purpose is expected to fuel the global “app economy” and is set to achieve a double-digit growth rate by 2020. More than 80 per cent of top management executives feel that mobile technologies will play a pivotal role in keeping organisations ahead of global competition.
Further key trends and developments include:
- Wearables such as smart watches, goggles, and headsets continue to accessorise the industrial handheld industry with gesture control and intelligent intimation techniques to enable safe, hands-free operations
- Government support and strict safety regulations boost the industrial handheld market in developed economies such as the USA, Europe and Japan, sustained by a strong and diverse industrial customer base
- Innovations in the network layer are expected to address building inherent data security and real-time information availability in switches, routers and other access devices
- While developed economies are witnessing new entrants in cyber security and information storage, emerging economies are expected to step into data analytics and visualisation tools to harness the IoT invasion
- Industrial penetration has been promising in the USA, Japan and China; however, developing economies such as India, Indonesia, Mexico and Argentina are catching up
- Hybrid industries are expected to experience the best of both industrial (process and discrete applications) worlds and will probably benefit the most due to IT-OT convergence
Annaswamy notes: “Lack of clarity in planning an execution strategy, high investment and low awareness amongst stakeholders at various levels are some of the barriers in deploying mobility across manufacturing. An umbrella strategy for corporate mobility, bridging business, and manufacturing needs will be indispensable for long-term benefit realisation.”
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