Appendix A: About the research
This report is part of the World Economic Forum’s research initiative on the Industrial Internet launched in early 2014 by the IT Governors at the Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum undertook this project to establish a clearer understanding of the transformative opportunities and new risks arising from the Industrial Internet. Further objectives of the project included helping business and government leaders envision the new world resulting from the introduction of the Industrial Internet, and identifying potential implications to the workforce (e.g. employment, skill distribution and productivity). Lastly, the project team set out to determine key recommended actions for stakeholders to accelerate the uptake of the Industrial Internet while mitigating challenges and risks.
Approach and framework
The project team followed a combined top-down and bottom-up approach by first taking a macroeconomic view of key drivers and trends across industries, and then conducting further analysis on select industries. A macro-level framework (see Figure 9) was developed to provide a structure for the analysis, and to identify enablers and inhibitors of the Industrial Internet along with key opportunities and disruptions. The project team conducted extensive research by gathering insight from industry experts around the world to discern the implications of such shifts for businesses and governments. The team also reviewed existing use cases to understand current developments of the Industrial Internet and completed a deep-dive assessment where the framework was applied to the manufacturing industry.
In addition to the core research and project management team, the project included a steering committee consisting of five CEOs and/or chairmen across IT, manufacturing and energy. The committee provided input on the composition of the community and set project priorities and the strategic direction for future phases of the initiative. Additionally, a working group of 21 senior executives helped to define key deliverables and contributed their expertise to the research.
The research on the topic involved multiple stakeholders in strategic conversations in the format of workshops, virtual sessions and one-on-one interviews. The discussion revolved around high-impact opportunities, implications to the workforce and issues critical to the development of the Industrial Internet. Five workshops (See Figure 10) were held throughout 2014 and were purposefully located in different cities to extract regional insights.
Industrial Internet Impact Survey
The World Economic Forum Industrial Internet Impact Survey (see Figure 12) was conducted in collaboration with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Accenture. The survey was distributed to more than 250 market leaders, who are current members of the IIC, the steering committee for the IoT World Forum by Cisco, the Industrie 4.0 or the World Economic Forum Industrial Internet Working Group. These participants are actively involved in the Industrial Internet initiatives in their respective companies and may not be representative of the overall market. Therefore, the results should be interpreted accordingly.
The intent of the survey was to help business and government leaders better understand the key opportunities and challenges of the Industrial Internet so they may take actions to accelerate the development of the market and realize its full benefits. The findings of the survey have been included in this report.