Study Reveals Important Link Between Digitalization and Sustainability

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by | Feb 8, 2022

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ABB today released the findings of a new global study of international business and technology leaders on industrial transformation, looking at the intersection of digitalization and sustainability. The study, “Billions of better decisions: industrial transformation’s new imperative,” examines the current take-up of the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and its potential for improving energy efficiency, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and driving change. The goal of the new ABB research is to spur discussion within industry regarding opportunities to leverage the Industrial IoT and empower companies and workers to make better decisions that can benefit both sustainability and the bottom line.

The study found that an organization’s “future competitiveness” is the single greatest factor – cited by 46% of respondents – in industrial companies’ increased focus on sustainability. Yet while 96% of global decision-makers view digitalization as “essential to sustainability,” only 35% 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.

Further key learnings from the study

  • 71% of respondents reported greater priority given to sustainability objectives as a result of the pandemic
  • 72% said they are “somewhat” or “significantly” increasing spending on Industrial IoT due to sustainability
  • 94% of respondents agreed the Industrial IoT “enables better decisions, improving overall sustainability”
  • 57% of respondents indicated the Industrial IoT has had a “significant positive effect” on operational decision-making
  • Perceived cybersecurity vulnerabilities are the #1 barrier to improving sustainability through the Industrial IoT

Win-win scenarios with Industrial IoT

With 63% of executives surveyed strongly agreeing that sustainability is good for their company’s bottom line, and 58% also strongly agreeing it delivers immediate business value, it’s clear that sustainability and traditional priorities of Industry 4.0 efforts – speed, innovation, productivity, efficiency, customer-centricity – are increasingly intertwined, opening up win-win scenarios for companies looking to drive efficiency and productivity while making strides on climate change.

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