As the physical and digital worlds continue to collide thanks to the IoT (Internet of Things), many forward-thinking businesses are looking to compete in a connected world by offering services in addition to (or in lieu of) products. The injection of data into industrial workflows and processes is making services like business intelligence and analytics, as well as predictive maintenance, more possible and more valuable than ever before.

The IIoT (industrial IoT) could add more than $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to Accenture. While $14 trillion may seem an impossible sum and 2030 may seem far away, forecasts for the nearer term also predict tremendous growth. For example, in another estimate from MarketsandMarkets Research, which forecasts a mere five years out, the research firm suggests the IIoT market could be worth $91.4 billion by 2023—that’s up from $64 billion in 2018. The trend toward connectivity in the industrial arena, often referred to as Industry 4.0, is bringing the physical and digital worlds together by connecting things—i.e., industrial machines, etc.—to the Internet, opening the door for powerful applications and digital services.

To capitalize on the IIoT opportunity, industry players must look for ways to help customers better leverage the power of data generated by their IoT devices. One example of this in action is Infosys and Siemens, which have recently partnered to help customers harness data analytics and predictive maintenance and monetize new data-driven services. Infosys is a global provider of consulting, technology, and next-generation services, and through its partnership with Siemens’ PLM (product lifecycle management) software, the company says it will contribute to the development of applications and services for MindSphere—Siemens’ open cloud-based IoT operating system.

Infosys says the partnership’s initial focus will be on manufacturing, energy, utilities, healthcare, pharmaceutical, transportation, and logistics customers. In each of these industries, enterprises can benefit from analytics and asset monitoring and management, as well as the competitive differentiation that can come from offering new and innovative value-added digital services to their customers based on machine or asset data.

To this point, much of the IoT focus has been on IoT devices and the data they can provide. Deciding what to do with all the data suddenly available to industrial businesses is still a challenge, and it’s a challenge companies must face if they want to maximize their IIoT investments. However, data can offer more than just the ability to enhance in-house decisionmaking. In the future, there will be more of a focus on the services businesses can offer their customers based on IoT-generated data.

Services create opportunities for longer-term relationships with customers and continued streams of revenue for businesses. They can also support a shift toward an outcome-based economy (link to “Servitization and an Outcome-Based Economy” feature), in which customers pay for and expect a certain outcome, rather than merely a product or device. It’s just one more way the Internet of Things is changing the status quo in business strategy, customer-supplier relationships, and the economy at large. Industry players that want to thrive in this IoT world will need to think about how they’re going to provide services that add value to their current portfolio.

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