In response to the increasing need for action on climate change, industries are sharpening their focus on sustainability goals. In the latest ABB Decoded podcast, Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area, discusses how the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can play a pivotal role in helping enterprises meet their sustainability goals as well as profitability targets.
The podcast explores the key findings from a recent ABB study examining the take-up of the Industrial IoT and its potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and driving sustainable change across a wide range of industries.
Terwiesch explains how connecting systems through Industrial IoT not only results in higher levels of automation, but also ensures individuals and businesses have more insights and are hence equipped to make better operational decisions that align with their sustainability targets.
Putting digitalisation into practice
ABB’s study of international business and technology leaders on industrial transformation showed that nearly 96 percent of decision-makers believe digitalisation is essential to sustainability. However, the study also revealed that only 35 percent of surveyed companies have implemented Industrial IoT solutions at scale – highlighting the potential for industries to progress towards sustainability goals through increased digitalisation.
“We’ve got digitalisation as a new tool in the toolbox,” Terwiesch said, referring to sustainability related challenges faced by many industries. He continued that the sustainability imperative is increasingly becoming a “license to operate” for businesses that are under pressure to meet environmental compliance, as well as customer expectations.
Terwiesch also addressed the role of cybersecurity in improving sustainability through Industrial IoT, highlighting the importance of being able to trust the data as a foundation for running businesses: “Cybersecurity is a base layer that needs to be put in place – and it needs to evolve together with the evolving threat landscape in order to facilitate the advantages that the Industrial IoT can deliver.”
Protecting data from outside access, as well as ensuring systems are not being misled through data manipulation is essential. “To make more decisions digitally, and to move on the journey towards more autonomous operations, you need to be able to trust your data,” Terwiesch added.
Better decisions with Industrial IoT
As more enterprises increase investment in Industrial IoT to achieve sustainability goals, industries must make the most of operational data. Terwiesch highlights that, working with many industrial customers, ABB has seen that they typically use less than 20 percent of the data they generate. The reason, Terwiesch argued, is that often raw data can be difficult to access and contextualise.
Domain competence and advanced data analytics, including artificial intelligence, are key to solving this challenge. Bringing together real-time operational data from Operational Technology (OT), Information Technology (IT) and Engineering Technology (ET), is just as crucial.
“By contextualising data, you can get to better insights, better decisions – and through that, better outcomes,” Terwiesch said.
ABB combines digitalisation and sustainability in solutions that maximise energy efficiency, optimise resource utilisation and lower emissions – while improving profitability for customers.
“As an engineer you always look for augmenting efficiency, and if you have an unused resource which is your data, there is a natural temptation to think about how can I use this data better for better out-comes. And this is where the Industrial Internet of Things and the solutions we’ve developed at ABB really help customers use that data better. In our observation, it is really the customers who do more with their data – they are the ones who achieve better outcomes.”