Internet of Things 25 Years in the Making

To say that the Internet of Things is something that’s getting attention is an understatement. I did a quick Google News search on it and it returned 7,700,000 recent results.

Emerson's Peter Zornio

Peter Zornio
Chief Strategic Officer

In a Forbes article, Internet Of Things? We’ve Been Doing That For 25 Years, Emerson’s Peter Zornio shares how our world of process automation has been well ahead of this curve.

He opens:

Like a 17-year locust, the Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged from a prolonged larval stage and begun taking over the world. The buzz is nearly overwhelming. “The Internet of Things Is Reaching Escape Velocity,” TechCrunch reports. “For Samsung, ‘Internet of Things’ is the sign of things to come,” proclaims The Economic Times. “Center Stage for Devices Connecting the Home,” declares The New York Times.

If you believe the hype, Internet-connected sensors and applications will soon be monitoring and even running every aspect of our lives – from our “smart” homes to our self-driving cars to our retail habits to our health and fitness. So sit back and relax: The IoT is about to give you much better control of your life or even take over for you.

And you’re going to love it.

However for process manufacturers and producers:

The Internet of Things is not new. For the past 25 years — ever since the development of microprocessors and network-based instruments — companies in the process industries such as oil and gas, chemicals, refining, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing and mining have been avidly exploring how to use sensors to make their processes more reliable, efficient and safe.

Read the article for more as Peter describes the journey from the pre-internet days where the need was still to integrate very large amounts of data to achieve better decision-making to today where high levels of expertise are needed to model more complex processes and operations. And he shares how security concerns today limit the possibilities to pool data across similar processes to provide comparative data to improve overall performance.

Peter concludes:

But in many other industries, issues related to competition, security and sheer complexity will present significant obstacles. In these industries, simply having the capacity to collect large volumes of data will not clear the path for delivering the full potential of the IoT. These industries will need to figure out how to make the data work for them – painlessly, under whatever constraints and in whatever context they operate. Like the dotcom companies that actually succeeded, these industries will develop clear, pragmatic strategies – for what kinds of insights they can reasonably target, and how they can achieve them. Depending on the industry, this could take many years – perhaps even decades – to fully work out.

And when that happens – not if, but when – then all that hype you’re hearing today will be justified.

Posted Thursday, April 30th, 2015 under Industrial IOT.

One comment so far

  1. I personally agree. Digitally networking “Things” is not new in the process industries. The principal “Things” are the sensors and actuators at the lowest level of the control architecture. We are digitally networking from the very first meter. I think there is no conisidence that there is an “industrial Internet of things” (IIoT) but no other area of IoT has been single out this way. For instance, we hear of IoT in the context of transport, but never do you hear about a Trasport IoT (TIoT). I think it just goes to show how far ahead the industry is in digital networking, interoperability, and now also interchangeability. We hear about interoperability being a challenge for IoT but in the process industry we solved it long ago, and we are now achieving interchangeability as well.

Leave a Reply