Many surveys are coming my way concerning security, and now sustainability. Reminds me of a guy I knew in graduate school who would go out to a high school in the remote bayous of Louisiana and do a survey. It was the early days of computers. He’d compile the answers in the LSU mainframe and then write a dozen or more articles for academic journals.

ABB Study on Industrial Transformation Digitalization and Sustainability

Regardless, let us see what information we can cull from this survey of 765 international decision makers by ABB regarding the role of Industrial IoT solutions related to reaching sustainability goals.

This survey validates many other surveys about digitalization technologies. 96 percent of the respondents believe digitalization is “essential to sustainability,” just 35 percent have implemented Industrial IoT solutions at scale. I’ve seen numbers like this for several yeas. When, we ask, are executives going to make that transition from “belief” to action? Well, 72 percent said they are increasing investment in IIoT specifically to address sustainability aims.

These things take time from decision to invest to actual accomplishment. Maybe we’ll begin to see stories of implementation before too many years.

“Sustainability goals more and more are a crucial driver of business value and company reputation, and Industrial IoT solutions are playing an increasingly important role in helping enterprises achieve safe, smart and sustainable operations,” said Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB’s Process Automation business area. “Unlocking insights hidden in operational data holds the key to enabling literally billions of better decisions throughout industry and acting upon them, with significant gains in productivity, reduced energy consumption and lower environmental impact.”

The study, commissioned by ABB, found that an organization’s “future competitiveness” is the single greatest factor – cited by 46 percent of respondents – in industrial companies’ increased focus on sustainability. Yet while 96 percent of global decision-makers view digitalization as “essential to sustainability,” only 35 percent of surveyed firms have implemented Industrial IoT solutions at scale. This gap shows that while many of today’s industrial leaders recognize the important relationship between digitalization and sustainability, the adoption of relevant digital solutions to enable better decisions and achieve sustainability goals needs to accelerate in sectors like manufacturing, energy, buildings and transport.

ABB innovations for sustainability

Meanwhile ABB itself is moving ahead with sustainability projects.

ABB is committed to leading with technology to enable a low-carbon society and a more sustainable world. Over the past two years, ABB has reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its own operations by more than 25 percent. As part of its Sustainability strategy 2030, ABB expects to be fully carbon neutral by decade’s end and to support its global customers in reducing their annual CO2 emissions by at least 100 megatons by 2030, the equivalent of removing 30 million combustion cars from the roads each year.

ABB’s investments in digital capabilities are core to this commitment. With more than 70 percent of ABB’s R&D resources dedicated to digital and software innovations, and a robust ecosystem of digital partners, including Microsoft, IBM and Ericsson, the company has established a leading presence in Industrial IoT.

The ABB Ability portfolio of digital solutions enables a host of industrial use cases to power improvements in energy efficiency, resource conservation and circularity, including condition monitoring, asset health and management, predictive maintenance, energy management, simulation and virtual commissioning, remote support and collaborative operations.

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