Study: Manufacturers report positive results from Internet of Things investment

A new study by Ohio-based The MPI Group reveals that manufacturing executives around the world are seeing real effects on productivity and profitability from investing in the Internet of Things—the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet.

ReportA year ago, two-thirds of executives surveyed had no strategy for implementing the IoT; now, the same proportion consider themselves IoT-competitive. “There’s been a dramatic jump in awareness of, investment in, and profits from the IoT,” says John R. Brandt, CEO of The MPI Group. “However, many smaller manufacturers are still unsure where to start.”

It’s crucial that these manufacturers catch up, adds Brandt, or their competitors will gain an increasingly large share of the market.

The 2017 Internet of Things Study looked at the production of smart devices and the implementation of embedded intelligence within plants, processes and products of manufacturers around the world. Key findings include both good news and bad:

Good News

  • Implementation is up, with 50 percent (median) of production processes now using the IoT, and 68 percent of manufacturers having plans to embed smart devices or intelligence into products.
  • Manufacturers are making money off the IoT: 72 percent report increased productivity, 69 percent report increased profitability from application of the IoT to plants and processes, and 65 percent report increased profitability from sales of IoT-enabled products (e.g., embedded intelligence).

Bad News

  • The biggest challenge is still identifying opportunities to implement the IoT, with 46 percent of manufacturers naming this as a challenge.
  • IoT data isn’t available to everyone who needs it, with only 34 percent of executives reporting that all corporate executives who need it have access (and even worse numbers for customers and suppliers).

    “Two years ago, MPI research showed that a significant percentage of manufacturers hadn’t even heard of the IoT,” says Brandt. “Now, it’s become a crucial weapon in manufacturers’ arsenals as they compete in a digital age.”

    The MPI Internet of Things Study was conducted by The MPI Group, and sponsored by BDO and SAS Institute Inc., in November and December 2016. More than 350 manufacturers participated in the study. MPI plans to release a full report on the study in the near future. The in-depth report will examine all study findings in greater detail, including key cross-tabulations (e.g., comparisons of small-revenue companies vs. large revenue companies), as well as ways in which the IoT will impact business going forward.

    Brandt offers presentations on the IoT study data, via webinars and in-person events. He can be reached at 216/991-8390 or [email protected].

Giatec Scientific is among early movers in construction-geared Internet of Things technologies; its SmartConcrete sensor and cloud-enabled software package affords ready mixed producers a real-time gauge of strength development. Wireless, 2- x 2-in. battery-powered sensors are set into concrete as it’s being placed. The sensors then use Bluetooth technology to transmit data to a mobile app, which draws from data stored in the cloud to analyze the performance of the concrete.