The rapid growth and proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the way organizations collect, process, and utilize operational data.
As the global IoT market continues to grow rapidly — it’s expected to bring in $1.2 trillion in 2023 and $2.2 trillion by 2028 — enterprises are rethinking the way they process and act upon data.
In a world that moves faster every day, organizations need to be able to make intelligent business decisions based on the most current data, and they need to be able to do it at the speed of real time.
Doing this — and making the most out of IoT investments — requires the convergence of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). IT-OT convergence enables organizations to unlock the full power of their data by combining data management features with control and monitoring capabilities. By creating synergies between IT systems and operational processes, organizations can bake more efficiency into workflows while unlocking the total potential of IoT deployments.
Keep reading to learn about four key reasons why organizations investing in IoT infrastructure must prioritize IT-OT convergence.
1. Increasing operational efficiency
IT-OT convergence plays a crucial role in enhancing operational efficiency by providing a centralized platform where IT and OT assets are managed. Traditionally, these systems operated in silos, leading to inefficiencies in monitoring and maintenance.
By converging IT and OT systems, organizations can streamline their asset management processes. Not only does this enable them to respond to operational issues more rapidly, it also helps reduce downtime and optimize resource utilization. This, in turn, helps organizations reduce operational costs and bolster their bottom line.
2. Unlocking data synergy
At its core, IoT’s transformative power is rooted in the data generated by all the devices scattered across operational environments. Unlocking the power of all this data is only possible with IT-OT convergence. While OT traditionally focuses on the control, management, and monitoring of physical processes, IT prioritizes data storage, analysis, and management. Bringing both domains together enables organizations to seamlessly integrate IoT-generated data into their existing IT systems. As a result, it becomes much easier to make informed decisions quickly, provided there’s a powerful underlying data platform in place.
What’s more, IT-OT convergence also enables organizations to improve predictive analytics, with real-time visibility and control of their data. Since OT captures tons of data from sensors and devices, bringing it to IT systems with advanced analytics capabilities gives organizations a powerful tool for predicting equipment failures, optimizing workflows, and improving overall operational efficiency.
3. Mitigating unplanned downtime
According to a recent report, manufacturers around the world collectively spend $50 billion each year on unplanned downtime. In other words, unplanned downtime is a significant concern for industries that rely on operational processes.
IT-OT convergence plays a critical role in mitigating this challenge by enabling organizations to monitor assets in real time and use data to perform predictive maintenance. Since OT infrastructure is outfitted with sensors and devices that capture data on equipment health and performance, piping that data into IT systems enables organizations to proactively identify and address issues before they spiral out of control.
For example, IoT sensors can help manufacturers detect anomalies in machinery on production lines, signaling potential failures. With integrated IT-OT systems, organizations can use this data for predictive analytics, enabling them to schedule maintenance during planned downtime instead of having operations grind to a halt when equipment suddenly fails unexpectedly.
Not only does this help the organization avoid costly downtime, it also enables them to maintain peak productivity, fattening margins from both ends.
4. Achieving interoperability and scalability
One of the primary challenges in IoT deployments is getting various devices and technologies to work together. IT-OT convergence solves this problem by promoting interoperability across the whole environment and setting the stage for scalability.
While OT systems often use proprietary protocols and standards, convergence allows organizations to establish ubiquitous communication standards and protocols that ensure that different devices and technologies interoperate. As a result, they can build a flexible, scalable infrastructure capable of accommodating new IoT devices and technologies as they come to market.
This adaptability is crucial for future-proofing IoT deployments and ensuring that organizations can easily integrate advancements in technology into their infrastructure, at scale, without disrupting their operations.
Maximizing IoT deployment requires real-time decisioning
If IoT data is generated right now but you’re not able to look at it for several minutes or even several hours — and only act on it after that — what’s the point?
Ultimately, IoT deployments are strongest when they’re built in an IT-OT converged environment and powered by a real-time decisioning engine.
To learn more about the critical role real-time decisioning plays in IoT deployments, check out our new white paper: Why Real-Time Decisions Are Critical for IoT Deployments.