A piece by Richard Soley in Plant Services’ January 2016 issue (“Embracing the industrial internet”) may have piqued your interest in the industrial internet, even if it didn’t cause you immediately to embrace it. But the industrial internet is gaining ground, and it’s advancing rapidly.
We already have (partially) self-driving cars, battery technology that can be used to store electricity coming from variable sources (wind, solar), remote health care, and dark factories. These are individually bringing benefits to manufacturers and consumers, but the big wins will come from connecting the various vertical market segments in ways we cannot imagine today. Remember, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the URL in the late 1980s, he had no idea the kinds of applications that would be available 30 years later, from booking airline tickets online to holding webinars with hundreds of people to researching the industrial internet (about 16.8 million results in 0.64 seconds from across the globe, according to one search engine). All he wanted to do was share documents across two sites in a single lab!
Nor is that revolution over. These applications, and the ways in which they connect, are disrupting the economy. Uber is changing the taxi market; Airbnb is disrupting hotels; and automobiles can be picked up in urban locations and rented for a couple of hours, beginning a move from cars as cost centers to cars as assets. The industrial internet will accelerate these trends, and we’re only a few years into the innovation that will occur over several decades.