April 9, 2017 is the 7th annual IoT Day. While it seems like every day has become a national day of something, IoT Day holds a special place for Stratus and our customers as it reminds us to take a step back and think about the important issues surrounding the IoT, and specifically the industrial IoT.

This year’s event comes at a critical point as smart manufacturing is increasing drastically in the United States and Industrie 4.0 is seeing a similar rise in Europe. All of this requires investment and analysis of IIoT solutions that enable manufacturers and other industries like water and wastewater to succeed in a connected world.

Whether you are facing budget cuts, challenges with aging infrastructure or simply seeking process improvements, IIoT solutions can help you meet your goals. The key is to determine how to seize this opportunity. That is why it is vital to have frank and open discussion about the challenges of capturing immediate business value from IIoT, integrating legacy equipment into IIoT environments and the relationship between industrial automation and IIoT during this period of industrial revolution.

Earlier this year we predicted that 2017 was the year that companies will need to get educated about IIoT and that prediction remains true. However, becoming educated about IIoT requires access to manageable data and analytics. Once you have that information you need to understand how to put into action. That is where the industry conversations that happen on days like IoT Day come into play. Talk to your peers, listen to where they have seen success and where they encountered challenges.

If you haven’t started to deploy IIoT solutions, the time is now. I encourage you to use today to start assessing how the IIoT can help your business, and then find a way to start the transformation in small steps.

The first step is to begin modernizing your existing operational technology. This will deliver tremendous benefits in terms of reliability and manageability right now, and create a solid future-ready platform on which to build your organization’s IIoT strategy. You can start this process by setting-up a trial or pilot project to get a real-world look into how the IIoT will advance your business priorities. Or, if you’ve already started this transformation, then take some time today to evaluate how far you’ve come in the past year, and where you’d like to be at this time next year.

In an effort to help expand awareness around the IIoT, we urge you to join conversations today on #IoTDay and @StratusAlwaysOn. We will be sharing interesting stats about the IIoT throughout the day, and would love to hear how the IIoT has evolved in your workplace and what changes you’ll be making to your IIoT strategy over the coming year.