IDC Manufacturing Insights recently published a short primer on many of the terms that are becoming familiar to those responsible for driving IoT initiatives within manufacturing companies.
The intent of the report, Perspective: A Primer for the "Connected" Products and Services Landscape of Manufacturing (subscribers can access it here) is to clarify a number of the terms that IDC Manufacturing Insights uses to explain and categorize the changes taking place as a result of connected products. From Connected Products to Connected Service to Product-Service-Systems and Product-Service-Networks, the manufacturing industry is undergoing a significant shift in how products and services are being combined and delivered to customers.
It all begins with "connected." Many in the manufacturing industry have argued that machines, operations, and plants have been connected for nearly two decades (think SCADA and other Industrial Control Systems), so the connected part is old hat for manufacturers. What is new, however, are the supporting technologies of the Third Platform, namely cloud, mobile, social, and analytics as well as IoT that have taken the reality of being "connected" to an entirely new level in manufacturing environments and across industries. Suddenly, we've gone from using connectivity to monitor the manufacturing environment to using it for greater customer intimacy, better product performance, and ultimately new types of value-added services for customers.
Of course, the road to connected products and connected service is not an easy one, and many manufacturers are still in the early stages of identifying the opportunities that connected products and services present. We are finding that ongoing dialogues among peers are necessary to continue to advance the adoption of connected products and services, because best practices are being created along the way, at every turn. The more manufacturers can hear about and learn from these early experiences with connected offerings, the faster their own IoT maturity will be. We have an upcoming IDC PeerScape that identifies some of the practices that have the most impact on the success or failure of launching connected service initiatives in manufacturing.
Recently, I collaborated with PTC on a series of videos around how discrete and process manufacturers can consider implementing IoT for their business. You can access the videos here. The video series highlights some of the top drivers for IoT in discrete and process manufacturing that our research has identified. It also reveals some of the top challenges manufacturers face in adopting IoT and suggests a high-level roadmap for rolling out a connected product or connected service project.
As I have spent the past year speaking with many manufacturers about IoT and how it is being used to transform customer experience and after-sales services, it is clear to me that we are at the very beginning stages of realizing the true benefits that IoT brings to manufacturers. Much still remains to be done, but the work of industry groups such as the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), which has eight wonderful testbeds around specific applications of IoT in industry, is helping speed maturity.
Recently, we had the opportunity to view what Infosys is doing as the lead member of the Asset Efficiency Testbed, supported by Bosch, Intel, and PTC. The goal of this Testbed is "to collect asset information efficiently and accurately in real-time and run analytics to make the right decisions." By reducing downtime for valuable assets, companies can improve their asset utilization and ROI. The work is encouraging, and these highly specific Testbeds will enable faster adoption of connected products and connected services for manufacturers. Next up is the Condition Monitoring Testbed, which will bring some of its early results to the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona next month. Stay tuned!