The IoT tidal wave hastens the journey from products to systems of systems

May 20, 2015 12:00:00 AM

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As the internet of things (IoT) rapidly ushers in the fourth industrial revolution, companies begin to think differently about products and information-sharing with other businesses. Given the potential for outstanding customer experiences and steadily improving product designs with greater reliability and better performance, industry innovators are embracing the IoT. For many companies, the possible gains in productivity enhancements, new service business models, and operational transparency outweigh the risks that come with more liberal information-sharing.

IoT-driven, fully digital Industry 4.0

In this blog, we have repeatedly discussed the IoT and its key role in assisting companies to create systems of engagement and deliver a high-quality customer experience from different angles. Even since the first IoT-related post in October 2014, the momentum of the IoT has become more rapid and intense. Analyst forecasts for the IoT offer increasingly astronomical numbers. A common figure is the projection of 30 billion sensor-enabled objects connected to networks by 2020. This is only a subset of the expected total of 212 billion objects that will be sensor-enabled at that time. That means roughly 28 sensor-enabled devices for each person alive.

Generational change drives IoT adoption as the millennials assume center-stage. They are used to living in a connected world, where almost any resource or content is available on any device at any time, connectivity is part of the natural environment, and people, services, and businesses are always within reach. Technology thinkers and planners at such industry leaders as Microsoft and Bosch talk about the IoT, along with advanced robotics, as a main enabler of the fourth industrial revolution or Industry 4.0.

Io T Fourth Industrial Revolution

Evolving manufacturer/customer relationships and interactions

At To-Increase, we expect the IoT to be prominent in the lives of the people who run the manufacturing companies and other businesses that run our solutions. For example, the business-critical machines in many manufacturing businesses will be connected within the IoT. When you review the performance of a machine on your preferred device, you may find that a power supply is developing a problem. You can initiate a repair or replacement, and forestall failures of the same-model power supplies in other machinery. Or, you may notice that your IoT-connected machine that executes on a recipe is not working within acceptable tolerances. You have your vendor perform a recalibration, but then you also engage with that vendor in the development of an enhanced calibration module that will be designed, tested, and revised based on IoT data.

In upcoming blog posts we will more closely examine such possible business scenarios and elevated customer experiences enabled by the IoT, including predictive maintenance and new service models.

Expanding the horizon of machinery and other products

The IoT and its great variety of possible usage scenarios prompt a new thinking about the nature of products. I expect this to keep pace as IoT-driven innovation spreads from the early adopters across industries. In a first step, we are moving from ordinary, functional products to smart products that can collect, store, and present data about their utilization and performance to a person who audits them. As smart, connected products they also can transmit that information to computers and devices within the networks of the company using them as well as their manufacturers. When they become part of a product system, such as the different types of machinery at a food manufacturer or the agricultural machines in our illustration, more varied product data can become relevant to more people and processes.

At that point, you can rely on machine IoT data to manage the dependencies in the usage of different machines as well as other resources, perform more reliable and more proactive planning for maintenance, materials, and parts, or introduce business-wide productivity improvements. Finally, when the product system that includes this machine integrates within a system of systems, you also gain the ability to manage manufacturing cycles in close coordination with suppliers and contractors, plan deliveries in sync with customers’ schedules, and improve planning with holistic business intelligence.

Io T System Of Systems

Next: We look at some ideas and planning concepts for generating revenue from the IoT.

In the meantime, please share your ideas, feedback, and questions. Get in touch with me or contact To-Increase.

 

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About Author
Luciano Cunha

Luciano Cunha

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) For Luciano, being responsible for To-Increase’s global sales and marketing means unleashing the company’s insight, innovation, and creativity to tell our story and help customers achieve their goals. On the road much of the time, he travels the world to meet with customers, understand their challenges and ambitions, and find the most effective ways to help them advance. Luciano develops and mentors our marketing and sales team, and creates strategies to help the To-Increase worldwide partner channel thrive and grow.
Making Customer Needs the Main Business Driver Luciano and his team have daily conversations with the To-Increase research and development organization to bring customers’ requirements and concerns into the road maps and design of our solutions. Luciano brings his insight to the marketing group to make sure the company’s communications resonate with customers and speak directly to their experience.
“I’m awed by customers’ innovative spirit in taking business management technology past its limits and by their generosity in letting us participate and empower them. I hope to transform our organization to become even more customer-centric than we are today. That means making more resources available to spend productive time with both our customers and partners, so we can ensure that we place into customer businesses effective solutions that fit the evolutionary stage of their operation and the way their people and processes work.”
Empowering a Global Channel
Because To-Increase only sells through partners, readying the channel to be successful in helping customers is a business-critical effort. Luciano aims to meet partners where their interests are. Partners who consider the relationship with To-Increase strategic can rely on our industry specialists to work with them as they plan their growth and serve customers. If partners prefer a less collaborative relationship, they still receive the rich To-Increase expertise and resources to ensure they win the business, perform a successful deployment, and retain a satisfied customer. In working with partners and their customers, Luciano brings to bear his experience of many years of creating successful, customer-focused business development and marketing strategies in many of the world’s countries and regions.
Enabling Customer Success in Challenging Business Environments
Looking into the near future, Luciano expects that customers will continue to expect To-Increase to help them make business sense of unfolding trends and technologies. For example, the internet of things (IoT) will thoroughly revolutionize manufacturing, engineering, and supply chains. Big data will be meaningful and valuable when decision-makers can use technology solutions to transform it into actionable business intelligence that supports key roles and business processes. Mobility will help companies become digital enterprises and move business processes forward from any location, at any time. Team To-Increase harnesses innovation to help customers translate the promise of these technologies into business results.
Before his current role, Luciano for several years was one of To-Increase’s global industry directors, responsible for our industry solutions. His experience also spans more than 17 years in IT and manufacturing management roles. These positions took him into various areas at IBM Brazil, serving as product manager for several software development companies, and included working in senior management at a manufacturing organization in the U.S.
Luciano is married with two young children. Away from work, he enjoys participating in a soccer class together with his son and daughter as well as taking relaxing walks in natural environments with his family.

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