As the 2022 show season concludes, I am both thankful to have learned from the smartest folks in my industry and happy to finally be home. Tosibox tech straddles every ‘smart and connected’ vertical – building automation, manufacturing, process control, energy generation, smart traffic – so I am exposed to innovation in every sector. While the applications differ, each of these areas are experiencing similar underlying shifts. This is a reflection on the trends I see across all industries.

Up first – Data. This will come as a shock to no one. Industry leaders are engaging field-level data with AI and ML algorithms to generate customer-valued insights. Even those companies that don’t know what to do with data recognize its future value and have begun collection.

This drives the second trend – Cloud Engagement. Growing data lakes and resource-intensive algorithms quickly make on-prem servers infeasible. Moving data off-prem provides a modular space to house data with the flexibility to engage any software or algorithm.

Transporting OT data off-prem introduces the third trend – Cybersecurity. Not a new trend but connected enterprises have refocused on cybersecurity as a top priority while they connect OT systems.

Lack of expertise necessitates the fourth trend – Outsourcing. From the Fortune 10 to the smallest municipalities, end-users don’t have the time or the knowledge base to securely connect OT systems to a cloud space where their data can be processed to generate valuable insights. Yet end-users recognize the value in data driven improvement, so they lean on trusted partners to build and maintain the systems that enable it.

Leveraging third parties drives the final trend – OpEx. Organizations previously focused on building/programming physical systems have augmented their offerings with a new suite of Digital Services. In addition to project-based CapEx, systems integrators and facilities managers have introduced predictable, OpEx to their books as they build and maintain end-user data infrastructure.

These trends appear everywhere, from municipal water and wastewater operators to building owners to energy process controllers. Systems integrators and service providers positioned to help customers cross the digital divide are seeing an uptick in recurring revenue and an accompanying increase in project-based wins because they fill the knowledge gap. Set-it-and-forget-it integration is on life support. Continuously engaging customers through digitization is today’s winning strategy for service providers.

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Blog post is written by Skylar Dhaese - OT Network engineer helping integrators and manufacturers monetize their digital transformation.