The Internet fundamentally changed communications. Now, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is poised to revolutionize processes and the way Emerson operates. Emerson has always been a leader in technology. So when I recently spoke with Charlie Peters, Senior Vice President of Emerson, it was no surprise that he had been covering the IIoT on his blog, The Extra Mile with Charlie, for many months now.

For those of you who may not know, IIoT is the integration and linking of big data, analytical tools and wireless networks with physical and industrial equipment, or otherwise applying meta-level networking functions, to distributed systems. (source: http://www.techopedia.com/definition/30044/industrial-internet)

You may be asking – who cares about the IIoT and why is it relevant to my business? Well this is why: the IIoT has caused a disruption in the way we engineer products, which in turn has changed the business model for many companies. We are no longer in the post-industrial age; we are now in a cloud-based era.

According to Charlie, the IIoT has the potential to change Emerson’s business model. But as I said previously, Emerson has been a technology leader for decades and the company has invested in technology in anticipation of changes. He thinks this new era introduces a double-edged sword; it creates dramatic opportunity for those who lead and develop new business models, but those who stand on the sidelines will suffer and watch their business slowly erode. This new era challenges manufacturers, but empowers customers with insight and more information into their process and products.

As for concerns with privacy? Charlie is confident that we can work through privacy concerns with our customers and satisfy their demands while affording them the vast array of benefits the IIoT promises.

So how do you incorporate a huge trend like the IIoT into a product or a business model? There are many examples within Emerson’s businesses of how we have embraced this trend, such as the Trellis™ platform from Network Power and the ProAct™ application suite for retail sites like supermarkets from Climate Technologies. Both of these products use big data to enable businesses to grow and improve.

Closing our conversation, Charlie discussed what the IIoT would hold for Emerson’s future business: “Emerson’s business model will be the IIoT. As the IIoT matures, we will gradually be more than just hardware.”

For more of Charlie’s thoughts on the IIoT, check out his blog here.