India lagging far behind China in IIoT adoption: Accenture

NEW DELHI: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) could be a game-changer for India, but the country is lagging far behind China in its adoption, a top Accenture official has said.

According to the consultancy giant, IIoT refers to a universe of intelligent products, processes, and services that communicate with each other and with people over the Internet and promises to be the most transformative industrial revolution yet for manufacturers.

While countries like Germany, France, and China have made significant progress in terms of IIoT adoption, India has not yet moved much ahead in its IIoT journey, according to Saurabh Bhatnagar, Managing Director – Manufacturing, Accenture Strategy.

“In terms of IIoT adoption, in a scale of 10, if China would score 7, India’s would be about 3.5,” Bhatnagar told IANS, adding that according to an estimate, IIoT could be adding $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030.

“Indian manufacturers have been struggling to achieve globally competitive scale and productivity. While the industrial sector in India grew at a rate of six percent annually since 2011 to more than $700 billion in 2016, the value added per employee continued to be one of the lowest in the world, at only $6,000,” he added.

Having the right infrastructure which includes high-speed Internet connectivity and skilled workers to capture data and capability to analyze that data with Machine Learning is key to IIoT adoption, the benefits of which are many.

For example, IIoT can help predict machine breakdown and help businesses take informed decisions, while also increasing operational efficiency through automation and enhanced worker productivity.

“A connected factory can yield a 5-12.5 percent cost reduction in operations optimization, 10-40 percent cost savings in predictive maintenance and 20- 50 percent cost reduction in inventory optimization,” Bhatnagar said.

At the same time, increased efficiency and productivity threaten reductions in the rate of job creation. However, Bhatnagar believes that widespread deployment of IIoT might make some jobs redundant, while the overall economic growth brought about by its adoption would also create new jobs.

“IIoT is a combination of various intelligent technologies, and its adoption will help improve employee productivity and outcomes. In some cases, the machine will automate tasks that humans have been doing, but in most instances, they will augment human capabilities,” he said.

“With machines taking over low value, repetitive tasks, some jobs will become redundant, but new jobs will also be created that leverage human skills. The overall economic growth will also create new jobs. It is crucial that people are skilled to realize these new opportunities,” Bhatnagar said, adding that there needs to be a significant shift in the way engineering education is imparted in the country.

While China also has a “conflict of interest” in terms of IIoT adoption because of its large population, the country is focusing on driving economic growth to create more jobs, he said.

However, it is not just the manufacturing sector that IIoT could change.

“IoT could improve productivity and competitiveness of Indian businesses across sectors including manufacturing, finance, banking, and media,” Bhatnagar said.

“There needs to be more awareness around IIoT. More emphasis needs to be on infrastructure. The speed at which organizations are embracing, embarking, absorbing and internalizing can be much faster. There is also the mindset hindrance for many organizations,” he added.

(Gokul Bhagabati can be contacted at gokul.b@ians.in)

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