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Over the last few years, the global industrial IoT market has been witnessing massive growth due to factors like the increased adoption of cloud computing in the industrial sector, enhanced automation, and industrialization.

By 2023, the global industrial IoT market is expected to reach approximately USD 751.3 billion, growing at a CAGR of 23.88% from 2017 to 2023.

The unprecedented 2020 brought many challenges to the manufacturing and industrial sectors. Due to the pandemic, there was a sudden halt to routine manufacturing, teamwork, and collaboration. The need for more automation due to lockdowns, social distancing and health concerns caused for businesses and enterprises to adapt digital transformation in their strategy.

With increased connectivity, faster 5G and Wi-Fi, and improvement in AI and machine learning, industrial IoT solutions are all set to deepen its roots.

Let us look at some of the ways to unlock the true potential of Industrial IoT (IIoT) in 2021.

Securing Operational Technology (OT):

Due to a lot of business procedures and operations migrating to the online world, cybercrimes in the industrial environments will continue to grow in 2021. This requires IT to take bolder steps to ensure the operational technology is secured and safe.

The information security and IT teams have accountability for cybersecurity across the businesses. But more often than not, IT teams have less or no visibility into the operational technology network.

This is because more OT networks employ traditional measures like air gapping or an industrial demilitarized zone to protect against attacks and these solutions have their drawbacks.
For industrial environments, IT cybersecurity practices need to step up to ensure the security of operational technology.

To unlock the true potential of IIoT in terms of cybersecurity, its imperative to have cybersecurity solutions that meet the IT and OT needs. This requires visibility and control across across IT’s environment to the OT network. And also means such security solutions for OT that allow them to respond to anomalies while keeping production going.

Remote Operations with Increased Automation:

The impact of the pandemic in 2020 has driven organizations to increasingly use IoT technologies for operational resiliency. The need for business continuity and operational resiliency requires the acceleration of deployment of remote and autonomous operation using embedded systems, which is paving the way for an entirely new way of working.

This is where IoT jumps on, keeping a business up and running when people cannot be on the ground. Implementing IoT solutions also improve safety and efficiencies by preventing unnecessary site visits and reducing employee movement through facilities.

2021 will see more operations at more advanced remote functions, which will go well beyond remote monitoring. Autonomous operational controls for select parts of a process and remotely enabled for other features will be a big part of future IIoT.

Deployments will increasingly move toward full autonomy, eliminating or decreasing the need for humans to be present locally or remotely. AI is continually being deployed for dynamic optimization and autonomous operations.

Some use case for automation and remote operations includes autonomous haul trucks for mining applications, increased automation of the distribution grid, computer-based train control for rail and mass transit, etc.

Managing Multiple-Access with IoT Technologies:

Ethernet has always been the foundation for connectivity in the industrial IoT spaces, which is quickly expanding to wireless. Wireless helps reduce costs by removing the physical cabling while providing the flexibility and ability to upgrade, deploy, and reconfigure the network with less operational downtime.

The need to manage multiple access technologies continues to grow with the expansion of IoT deployments. For successful implementations, the right connectivity is imperative, or else costs, complexity, and security risks increase.

As you continue to build and refine your business strategies for 2021, it is imperative to reduce cybersecurity risks and increase operational resiliency by employing IoT in your industrial operations.

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Momina Asif

Momina is a Content Strategist at Xavor Corporation, where she plans, creates, and manages content. When she is not working, you can find her binge-watching TV shows or engrossed in books. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.