Despite almost two-thirds (63%) of manufacturers running at reduced capacity over the past year, the Internet of Things (IoT) still wasn’t able to make its long-awaited transition from intention to adoption in 2020.
A year-on-year Ubisense report has found that, at a time when its benefits were most needed, an alarming 43% of manufacturers no longer understand the value of IoT, compared to just 29% a year previously.
IoT has long been promoted as a tool to offset productivity, planning, automation, energy, maintenance and capacity challenges, even in the best of times. However, despite 74% of respondents agreeing that they would like to see reduced cycle times in their assembly processes, fewer decision-makers are seeing the link between IoT and this competitive advantage than they were before the pandemic. Only 63% make that connection now, compared to 70% a year previously, and a similar downward trend was seen across other proposed benefits too.
Ubisense’s report, ‘A Lost Year for IoT in Manufacturing: The Hard Work Begins Now’, was informed by a study of 300 managers, directors and higher-level executives from the industrial manufacturing community across the UK, USA, France and Germany. Primary concerns among respondents have become more entrenched over the past year, including IoT being irrelevant as their manufacturing processes are too unique (up from 18%-21%), or unlikely to yield positive ROI (up from 16%-19%).
As such, IoT service providers should take these statistics and this opportunity to introspect on where their communications have missed the mark. “Too often, IoT is positioned as a futuristic promise somewhere on the digital horizon, and for many, this just doesn’t resonate with their current, very real challenges when it comes to assembly processes,” says Steven Manifold, chief marketing officer at Ubisense.
All is not lost, however, with almost half (46%) of manufacturers reporting that they still feel left behind when discovering that peers have rolled out IoT.
“The report highlights short-term disillusion rather than long-term disinterest,” confirms Manifold. “Sadly, global manufacturers failed to trust IoT’s potential at a time when they needed it most. And that is for IoT solutions providers to fix with real, proven examples of where IoT works best, so that this lost year doesn’t turn into a much longer-term lost opportunity for manufacturing.”