The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is seeing considerable investments globally, in a bid to tap into its potential to boost productivity on the factory floor by integrating horizontal and vertical supply chains through connected devices. To better support companies with designing and rolling out IIoT technology, PwC has entered into an alliance with GE Digital, whereby the firms will leverage their respective strengths and offerings in the field to create new IIoT based business applications.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) promises to integrate humans and intelligent machines along horizontal and vertical supply chains, delivering a host of improvements to productivity and reducing costs. The technology is part of the wider development of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT) – a movement which, according to McKinsey & Company, could add an additional $11.1 trillion per annum in economic benefits to the globe's economies by 2025.
Several studies, as well as real-life cases, show that IIoT technologies – the application of IoT in industrial sectors such as manufacturing and engineering – have the potential to generate considerable benefits. Accenture for instance estimates that IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the GDP of 20 major economies by 2030, while a Strategy& and PwC report concludes that Industry 4.0 – a central feature of IIoT – could add $493 billion in revenue gains per annum over a five year period.
The large investments into IIoT means demand for expert support and advisory services is riding high, inciting several consulting firms to bolster their capacities in the domain. PwC is the latest consultancy to jump on the bandwagon – its strategy includes, besides the traditional approaches of growth from within and targeted acquisitions – the development of a joint offering alongside GE Digital.
The alliance between PwC and GE Digital extends across PwC's network firms in a host of countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, China, France and Singapore. The agreement aims to leverage the skills and capacity of the respective partners to provide clients with a wider range of services. PwC brings its business transformation capabilities to the table, while GE will offer its Predix cloud-based operating system for IIoT to clients. The two firms will, based on individual company needs, create a suite of applications that are integrated into the wider Predix system.
Commenting on PwC's ramp up in the IIoT space, Paul Gaynor, Global Technology Consulting and Alliances Leader at PwC, says, "The Industrial Internet is ushering in significant disruption as executives grapple with shrinking profit margins, slowing growth, cost volatility, and changing customer demands."
Asked about how PwC's alliance with GE Digital will help the firm differentiate itself from the rest, Gaynor says the joining of forces will allow the Big Four firm to look at solutions through a holistic lens, "one that integrates strategy, security, technology, processes, people, and data."
The alliance will also concentrate on supporting organisations with embedding IIoT within their frontiers, an aspect which comes with significant hurdles as the technology still finds itself in its infancy. One major concern is cyber security, as large numbers of interconnected devices add new avenues to penetrate systems; another concern is a lack of ubiquitous communication standards.
Through an integral approach, leveraging PwC’s business transformation services with GE Digital's technology expertise, Denzil Samuels, GE Digital's Head of Global Channels and Alliances, believes the partners can provide customers with "the ability to leverage new insights that were not possible before", which down the line is set to spark "extraordinary results".
GE Digital recently also partnered with EY and European consultancy BearingPoint, both deals focus on delivering joint propositions in the IIoT space. "We are building an ecosystem with world-class partners who share our commitment to delivering better outcomes for our customers", concludes Samuels.