Why spending money to save money can actually work! – The case of IoT

A typical scenario (this may sound familiar)

Someone is pitching a great idea to your Board of Directors. It will save your company millions…BUT (isn’t there always a BUT?), your company will have to invest hundreds of thousands to generate those savings.

You can probably guess what will happen next…The door is closed on both the individual and their exciting idea (of course, only after they are politely thanked and told “Don’t call us, we’ll call you!”).

The key takeaway here is that being curious about saving money doesn’t always equate to a real desire to do something about it.

When it comes to IoT and other Industry 4.0 solutions, we need to have a different conversation. Executives and technologists have different outlooks and the approach to each needs to be tailored to their needs. It is not enough to play by different rules, we need to adapt to a new game.

It’s a sure thing! Why can I still not get approval?

When a business is considering whether to invest in a new idea, proposition or technology, they will often look at whether it is a smart investment. At a high-level, such investments reduce capital expenditure and yield savings through efficiency and productivity.

While that seems pretty straightforward, there is a traditional perspective on such innovative projects which brings a lot of baggage with it:

  • Planning – We all know how important this process is. Plans can only be executed after everyone has agreed them and an appropriate budget has been put in place. By the time this happens, the world has moved on and the projected savings were never realised, or the changes have become irrelevant.
  • Time – It is our most valuable commodity. Such projects take so much of it. There’s a substantial basic time investment required to get the project going. Then another equal (or perhaps greater) time investment is required to tackle the inherent complexity so that substantive returns can be unlocked. This means these projects are just too risky.
  • Disruption – the effect on the day-to-day workings of the business is just not worth the benefits.

You can undoubtedly add to this list from your own experiences.

So why is IoT different?

What can IoT bring to the business?

IoT has the potential to turn things on their head. The old model of having to reengineer everything at each layer, using non-IoT protocols (machine level, ERP, MES, SCADA) is time consuming and expensive.

What IoT allows you to do is engineer once. We can create one name space that allows us to connect with everything using a protocol that works! The savings are clear. You are saving on a ratio: multiple reengineering layers versus just one.

Examples of IoT innovation

I find that one of the best ways to demonstrate how IoT innovation can bring about real, demonstrable change is to provide examples:

Digital Twins – Digital twins are simply digital copies of physical objects. This allows the business to change, tweak, experiment and ultimately predict the future operation of its physical assets. Imagine the savings involved in carrying out your tests in a virtual environment rather than in the real world.

Autonomous self-healing – IoT technology means that physical assets can now fix or solve their problems “without” the need for human intervention. Simple operational tasks can now be removed from the schedule, saving time and money.

If you would like to discuss how IoT can support your business, please get in touch

Kieran Caulfield

+353 87 1488620