Managing change in the connected workplace
The move to the digital world has allowed us to create new value inside the workplace, but adopting the IoT on a wider scale poses a few challenges. Alexander Reay, Chief Digital Officer at Sodash and President of the Nordic IT Association, explores the role an organization’s structure and culture play in maximizing IoT’s potential for businesses. He also talks about the leadership issues that need to be addressed during this transformation.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is very transformative and is reshaping business models. This disruption entails a huge amount of internal change that needs to be addressed in an organization. Alexander Reay, Chief Digital Officer at Sodash and President of the Nordic IT Association, believes that the issue is connected to neither technology nor technology maturity. “It’s a leadership one. It’s about understanding the digital economy – or if you prefer, the platform economy – we’re moving into.”
This transformation through technology, he adds, is a cultural matter. “It’s the impact of how the business and the people in it work. When you’re moving systems into the cloud, the major issue is to actually lead or inspire people who are very much used to the traditional way of doing things to adopt this new method.”
Since digital transformation is something that effects every single part of a business, a leader can’t be expected to do this on his or her own and needs to invest into change agents.
Culture of change
“An organization needs to have a culture of proactive change and the individual spearheading it needs to have a completely systematic and holistic view,” continues Reay. “Leadership in larger enterprises, however, isn’t as agile and usually can’t cope with quick, radical change. By far, that is the biggest barrier in adopting new and better ways of doing things along with rigid old hat organizational structures and governance”
As companies are recast as digital enterprises, and organizations continue to adapt to the IoT and the new demands of managing the physical and the digital, this convergence mandates not only new skills but also different ways of working.
The role of chief digital officer (CDO) involves looking for business opportunities that have been enabled by the digital revolution. It also entails focusing on customers and how their needs might change because of technological developments. It is quite different to that of the chief information officer, whose job — though similarly complex — is more about following procedures and keeping a company’s IT systems running. By contrast, the digital role is to head the transformation.
“This is really a leadership understanding of the technology – how to use it, how to drive new value as result – not the technology itself. So forget thinking of IoT and digitalization as just new technologies.”
As Reay stresses, “This is really a leadership understanding of the technology – how to use it, how to drive new value as result – not the technology itself. So forget thinking of IoT and digitalization as just new technologies. For those companies that get it, digital represents an entirely new way of doing business, moving from using technology as a catalyst for efficiency or effectiveness into driving new value or even changes to entire business models, but most important, they are in the process of changing their corporate culture”.
Difference between network and community
To begin the work of digital delivery, the companies recruiting chief digital officers must break down the walls between the independent vertical structures in their organizations. Reay notes that since we’re used to really siloed innovation, “we’re just about starting to realize the potential of open innovation techniques. What we’re talking about is a completely seamless network.”
It’s one thing to have the infrastructure to create a network and fluidity – those are the technical aspects, according to Reay.
“The real value lies in using that network to create and foster a community or to look at it another way expedite a digital culture, and for that people need to be empowered. Being connected to somebody doesn’t mean that that individual is empowered to be able to add value or even inspired to do so, and that’s the difference between a network and a community, it’s about adoption rate – a network informs, where as a community acts. In a community, people are actively contributing and they’re empowered to do so. That’s why change right now is such a headache for large businesses: they are simply too siloed, lacking the ability to adopt new ways of working quickly enough.”
Security and privacy issues
Another barrier, not just in terms of operability or interoperability, involves security issues. Reay brings up privacy, which to him is an area that is very disruptive in itself. “We’ve got the EU coming out with changes and directives very frequently and cyber-attacks increasing in frequency. The move into IoT requires a completely new set of skills that are needed rather urgently, if you fulfill some of the data regulations,” he adds.
These directives, as well as the cyber security issues that result from having these systems over the internet, have yet to be fully understood because IoT is such a new area.
“Since the EU is putting in these directives, when these new things emerge, they do so within the context of a rigid government system that’s been used for eternity. The key in trying to find new ways of mitigating some of these risks is understanding what leadership roles are really needed.”
Reay observes that large organizations are now rolling out compliance managers across their business units. “This is simply not going to do,” he counters. “There needs to be a Chief Privacy Officer, someone who can run the show at a very single level inside the organization on a strategic level, we are not just talking about technology here. These individuals should be rising through the ranks from a legal perspective, and with heavy sanctions and penalties for privacy breaches, this role should under no circumstances be left to the CISO, CSO, CIO, or CDO’s responsibility”.
Collaboration between machine and human
With the usage or the ability to analyze such massive volumes of data, machine learning starts to play a role. Humans can’t analyze that amount of data, and to Reay, what’s interesting is the new value creation made possible by massive volumes of data collected from connected products and devices. This goes beyond efficiency, smart sensors or the ability to use the IoT to create more efficient productive manufacturing lines.
“For example, artificial intelligence (AI) could be used to process that data to provide insight, resulting in better informed rapid decision making. Doing so could organize a lot of these areas, from efficiency and uptime to the utilization of assets. The maintenance and management aspects are, right now, the areas where we’re going to see machine learning really utilized.”
Ultimately, Reay believes that everything comes down to a human-centric approach.
“What really stands out with the use of AI is that it makes us essentially more human. It’s the same as with digital transformations: it’s not the data we’re interested in. It’s how the data influences our decisions. The collaboration between machine and human is where the real innovations are going to start. The utilization of the interface between AI and humans is going to be where we will see how it is utilized to its full potential.”
Again, when we roll out the IoT, machine learning can be used to improve efficiency and uptime. But, as Reay concludes, “the real utilization is understanding how can we use machine learning to create a positive impact for humanity, the workplace and our customers.”
Alexander Reay works as a Chief Digital Officer at Sodash and is President of the Nordic IT Association
Image credit: Wichy / Shutterstock.com
Five steps to digital innovation
First you need to map and prioritize the needs of your organization. Technology comes in second. Ideas arise from inspiration and interaction, but need to be ranked and properly tested before implementation. Marko Yli-Pietilä, the Business Development Director and Managing Consultant at Midagon, walks us through the five stages of successful digital innovation.
“I think that the approach to creating new business through industrial internet and digitalization has been too technology-oriented for a while now. With agile methods the testing process of new ideas can be quite speedy, but as things get faster, we tend to overlook the actual starting point and the foundation on which we should be building,” Yli-Pietilä points out.
According to his view, digital innovation should be a structured process, in which the entire organization should be involved. In the list below he describes the journey of innovation from an idea to reality.
1. Map and prioritize the specific needs of your organization
“Companies shouldn’t rush into making decisions about the use of certain technologies. In the very beginning, one needs to look at the strategic goals of the company, and think about what needs to be done and what needs to be changed in order to achieve those goals. In this primary stage, the technologies are irrelevant. The focus needs to be kept solely on developing the organization and its functions.”
2. Think about how technology can help you
“Once the priorities and needs of the organization have been defined, then it is time to turn the attention towards how things are done. It is very likely, that digitalization provides the tools for streamlining processes. Nevertheless, what needs to be kept in mind is that digitalization is no panacea. Digitalizing existing procedures just for the sake of it rarely leads to the maximum results. In fact, it may even end up adding unnecessary steps in the overall process. Again, ask yourself what it is that you want to achieve. Then let the technology help you get there.”
3. Unleash the creativity lurking inside your workforce
”I’ve been involved in projects where companies try to foster innovation by bringing someone from outside of the organization to implement creative ideas. Personally, I don’t think that’s the optimal way. There are already numerous examples and case stories in the world of digitalization and industrial internet from where to draw inspiration. Your own colleagues have the best understanding of your company, its business and environment. Why not utilize that? Digital innovation can mean different things to different players. So, instead of hiring a stranger to work their magic, see what your people can do. Have them think about the solutions that provide the greatest benefit to your organization.”
4. After background research it is time for internal testing
“As soon as you have a clear view of your company’s strategy, processes and human resources, it is time to put the ideas to test. With agile testing methods you can test, say, twenty out of hundred different ideas in a few week’s period. The main goal in this stage is to quickly get a perception of which ideas have actual potential business-wise and are worth taking further.”
“Interaction between all kinds of people from different parts of the organization enables going through a broader set of perspectives”
5. Ready, set, pilot!
“After the first round of testing, the number of ideas left in the process has usually decreased to a maximum of five. This is when the ideas need to be evaluated against the set business objectives and bring external stakeholders to contribute to the process. Customers, for example, need to really get acquainted with this new thing, a product or a service, to be able to give their extremely valuable feedback. Because the crucial question that needs to be answered is whether this innovation in the making is something that they are actually willing to pay for. So it is not enough just to create something that technically works. That something needs to help the company either increase profit or, on the other hand, decrease costs. “
Anybody who has ever been involved in the process of innovation surely knows that the journey from having just a hint of an idea that could possibly grow into something bigger, to introducing the first prototypes of a given digital innovation is certainly long and eventful. Everything can go according to the plan – until it doesn’t. Even going through all the necessary stages doesn’t guarantee that the result is optimal, or even functioning. Is there something that could be done in the very beginning in order to improve the chances of succeeding?
“Returning to the very beginning of the innovation process, I would say that the more heterogenic bunch of people throwing in their initial ideas and brainstorming together, the better. Interaction between all kinds of people from different parts of the organization enables going through a broader set of perspectives,” Yli-Pietilä contemplates.
And ultimately, who in the organization should be in charge of the process of digital innovation?
“Often it is either the CDO or the CIO of the company. However, in my opinion the process itself is so comprehensive, that it shouldn’t simply be lumped together with traditional information handling. It requires more than that. Therefore I think that it is easier for CDOs to take responsibility and leadership in the overall process. For that reason, companies who want to be innovative in the digital world need to start by appointing a CDO, if they don’t have one yet,” Yli-Pietilä concludes.
Marko Yli-Pietilä works as the Business Development Director and Managing Consultant at Midagon.
Image credit: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com
New professions develop with new business opportunities
The role of the worker in an industrial environment is changing at a rapid pace. There is a large array of new requirements and skillsets that the modern industrial workforce has to adopt to, in order be able to orient themselves in the digital environment of the future, says Martti Mäntylä, Professor of Information Technology at Aalto University.
Many tasks are becoming more oriented towards information work. The changing role of the industrial worker can be compared to that of a prosumer – a consumer that both creates and consumes media content. For the client companies, the information the worker provides can offer valuable insight in how to develop their business. At the same time the worker requires more information to be able to conduct the increasingly digitized tasks.
The education offered by schools must move towards a T-shaped profile, meaning that on top of the specialization one might have, there’s also the need to have a general knowledge of the whole process one might be involved in. This same development can be seen in all branches of education concerning the Industrial Internet.
“We do not have a one-size-fits-all solution for how the education regarding the industry of tomorrow will look like, but as the Industrial Internet is largely an intersectional phenomenon, it is of importance for the students of industrial processes to have a good overview of how the whole process will be affected”, Mäntylä says.
A rise of new professions
According to Mäntylä, digitalization might breed new professions, for example in the field of data quality and collection. One of the new tasks might involve adding value by analyzing the collected data.
“Whatever the task is, there is an added element of creating data and creating additional value through information work”, Mäntylä says.
A large part of the value creation comes in the form of documentation. This practice brings the data to the use of other related systems, and improves the quality of the manufacturing process.
Several companies have appointed a person to be in charge of the digital transformation of their operations. The position, being relatively new, includes a wide variety of different responsibilities and tasks. According to Mäntylä, appointing these digital or data officers is a way that companies aim to find a direction and lead the ongoing change.
“The changing role of the industrial worker can be compared to that of a prosumer – a consumer that both creates and consumes media content.”
“They also aim to empower and network agents on different levels of organizations, and systematically create the needed stimuli for developing the Industrial Internet”.
There is still a notable amount of work to be done, especially in researching the possibilities of the Industrial Internet, and closing the gap between hypothetical possibilities and the concrete targets that companies wish to reach. At the moment one of the more common ways of proceeding for companies is collecting and comparing different cases to figure out in which direction the field is developing.
The added value comes from information
For B2B companies, one of the significant changes has been in the way they’ve had to view their businesses, and shift the focus from products to services. For example, a client might not actually want to purchase a complete welding system, but instead the “product” they wish to have is a guarantee of good welding seams. The added value for the company now offering this service is generated from gathering more data, which is then used to further assist the client in, for example, certifying their welding seams. It may also come from improving quality control, traceability or anything else based on the needs of the client.
“There needs to be a change of perspective, from a B2B approach to thinking about the client of the client. This change is visible in the processes, which utilize a more co-development based approach”.
Another new way to improve processes comes in the form of hackathons. They are an excellent way for an organization to discover what sort of new possibilities digitalization enables for its business. Some of the ideas that come up in hackathons might not fit the current agenda of the companies organizing them, but it is a great way to see the variety of possibilities offered.
“On top of the solutions developed during these events, hackathons offer insight on the type of valuable complementary knowledge there is to be found from outside of the organization. Still, for many companies, there is a threshold in taking extra-organizational personnel on board in developing the companies’ digital toolkits”, Mäntylä says.
One thing that the hackathons aim at, is utilizing information in new ways. This is also what will happen to the roles of many industrial workers. For them, the new solutions regarding IT, maintenance and services will surely have a noticeable impact on how they perform their tasks in the future. That is why schools must adapt a broader view of what it means to work in an industrial environment in the future.
Martti Mäntylä works as Professor of Information Technology at Aalto University
Image credit: everything possible / Shutterstock.com
Production workers of the future move from manual to digital
One of the notable trends in heavy industries has been the move towards digitalization. This has an inevitable effect on the roles of current industrial production and maintenance workers. The change brings about questions regarding company core activities and responsibilities, says Mikko Mäki-Rahkola, the Development Manager IT at Pesmel, an internal logistics solutions supplier.
Digitalization brings its own set of requirements for the workers on the factory floor. The need for manual labor lessens, and at the same time specialization in maintenance and upkeep becomes more relevant. In the future looms the idea of a fully automatic factory, where there might be only one worker in charge of the whole production facility. Still, the need for workers who have specific maintenance insight on the different parts of the automated facilities, will exist for a long time due to lack of self-maintaining or self-repairing equipment in sight.
“Let’s say there were a hundred workers on an assembly line in the beginning of the 20th century. Today, there are only ten assisted by automatic equipment and software. In 2030, a single person may oversee multiple production facilities and lines remotely without any workers participating in the physical production process”, Mäki-Rahkola says.
In contrast to the ever smaller number of workers needed for the production, the amount of maintenance staff will increase, as there are more automatic devices which require professionals to keep them in working condition.
For production facilities where the machinery is custom built for its particular use or for which the maintenance requires more specialized knowledge, this maintenance staff will be increasingly hired from a specialized contractor, most often the equipment provider. The kind of maintenance, which requires only basic knowledge of the equipment or the production process in question could still be handled in-house.
“In 2030, a single person may oversee multiple production facilities and lines remotely without any workers participating in the physical production process.”
“Industrial equipment maintenance will be performed by humans for tens of years to come. Regarding the question of how they receive information for the task at hand and how they will perform the tasks, I believe that we will see significant changes in ways of working”, Mäki-Rahkola says.
The benefits of IoT implementation realize over a lengthy period
The rate at which the aforementioned change becomes topical for companies depends on their speed in investing to new technology. And, Mäki-Rahkola mentions, what works for one company might not work for another – the solutions regarding the Industrial Internet need to be tailored for the needs of the client.
“The maturity of discussion and customer-vendor dialogue around IoT solutions is still quite low today and very technology driven. As a result, the actual IoT solution business integration might get fully left for the client, who then has to find out how they can best utilize the provided tools and information. The fact is, that a solution that brings 100 units of extra benefit for another company might bring none to some other”, Mäki-Rahkola says.
Even though the interest towards the Industrial Internet and the possibilities it brings has grown considerably over the past few years, the actual change happens incrementally instead of sudden huge leaps.
“Many industrial operators are playing it safe at the moment, and waiting to see how the current trends develop. Also, the investment cycles, especially in heavy industry are long and can easily span over a decade or more”, Mäki-Rahkola reminds.
The evident and instant benefits from investing into the research concerning the Industrial Internet cannot always be calculated straight away, and it is always easier to follow other companies’ examples than to be the one doing pioneer work in the field.
“I believe that you have to have faith in your vision, take controlled risks and believe in the fact, that your clients will appreciate the added value when they see it.”
Despite the long cycles, according to Mäki-Rahkola, we are going through an interesting and accelerating period in the development of the industrial business. Even though the digitalization process takes time, if someone develops a truly disruptive operating model or a product, there might occur a sudden surge forwards in the way we understand IoT.
“It would be interesting to see what this kind of a disruption might entail, but as the environment differs radically from the commercial markets, there is a higher threshold for these kinds of disruptions to emerge”, Mäki-Rahkola says.
To sum it up, it is challenging to envision how the factory floor of the not-so-far future will look like, but what is certain is that the role of the workers will certainly be different. The digitalization of manufacturing and maintenance doesn’t remove the human factor from the process, it merely transforms it into something completely different.
Mikko Mäki-Rahkola works as Development Manager IT at Pesmel
Creating new business opportunities means finding the lines that connect the dots
For OEM’s, with Industrial Internet comes the opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by shifting their focus from developing features to identifying completely new service models. According to Alexander Damisch, Senior Director, Business Transformation at Wind River, coping in the ever-intensifying competition requires changing the entire approach to how and where business happens. Using Industrial Internet to data monitoring can help detect aspects that turn out to have a crucial impact on the overall process. However, achieving breakthrough results calls for thorough digital understanding on different levels.
Original Equipment Manufacturers at the forefront
Damisch states that equipment manufacturers are the true ambassadors at the forefront of the Industrial Internet. However, most of today’s equipment manufacturers aren’t making full use of this opportunity, but instead focus on competing on a feature level with the rest of the operators in the market. This is something that Damisch sees as a hindrance.
“Back in the day manufacturing of many industrial components, such as control systems and electrical drives, used to be rocket science, so to speak, but not really anymore. There are multiple smaller players in the field challenging the traditional giants with their offering, meaning that there is a constant pressure to compete on price,” Damisch says.
Lower-cost manufacturers who manage to produce components and services that are basically good enough to fit the needs of the industry put OEM’s in a fairly unpleasant position. Especially for the so-called high-end brands simply lowering the price for individual products is not really an option.
“Cost reduction is anything but straightforward. You don’t just decide to start selling Rolex watches at a cheaper price. You need to either find a way to reduce costs on the operational level, or learn how to scale your products in a different way.” According to Damisch, the key is to focus on creating new opportunities for generating revenue. This is where IoT plays a crucial role. “Basically you need to let your client know that you no longer will sell them a vehicle, but instead you sell them the ability and the know-how to manufacture one faster, better and for lower OPEX than anyone else.”
As an example of a successful change of the entire business model enabled by IoT Damisch recalls how Rolls Royce switched from selling actual jet engines to leasing engine operating hours. As a manufacturer Rolls Royce moved towards a service-oriented business logic, in which customer pays for the expertise that enables them to use the machinery. Hitech is no longer only in the component itself, but in the service system that the engine communicates with informing the service provider of exactly how and how much the jet engine is used, and when it needs to be maintained.
Revealing the unseen
Moving from preventive maintenance to predictive is the classical example of how industrial internet can benefit businesses. Unscheduled halt in any industry can be extremely expensive, and therefore predicting the equipment’s need for maintenance and repair can result in huge cost savings by minimizing downtime.
Furthermore, closer monitoring and detailed communication between different systems and components can help improve the overall production process and increase manufacturing yield.
“Industrial Internet makes us become more aware of the surroundings of a certain process. It enables us to find connections that we didn’t know existed,” Damisch summarizes.
Silicon wafer manufacturing in the semiconductor business is one example of how recognition of a formerly unknown connection can transform the whole production process. Closer monitoring of the surrounding conditions of the manufacturing process revealed that only a two tenth-degree difference in water temperature in the factory had a significant impact to the manufacturing yield.
“Industrial Internet makes us become more aware of the surroundings of a certain process. It enables us to find connections that we didn’t know existed.”
“You would never realize those kind of things by only looking at one element or component of a machine, because it doesn’t show you the correlation between data sets. Getting all the information at once allows us to tweak even the smallest of things at the very beginning of the production chain without huge investments to new machines or major changes to the overall process.”
In addition, getting a clearer view of the entire production process can help companies achieve their aim to optimize their existing efforts, and at the same find new opportunities to maximize revenue. All this plays a major role in production facilities’ future investment planning. With new technology companies have seen the value of investing into IT.
IT/OT convergence for smarter business
Simply getting access to more data isn’t enough to transform entire processes and business models. Companies must of course also know how to make use of it on different levels of the organization, which in practice means fostering open source culture.
CIOs play an important role in helping companies harness digitization and big data, and thus shift towards industrial internet. As the world gets more digital it also becomes more complex, and this requires utilizing different skill sets within organizations.
“The challenge with big data is that if you look at highly complex industrial systems, the collected information is so extensive that converting it into real knowledge usually requires very specific expertise. In my opinion, CIOs tend to have a good understanding of the business decision making systems. However, their knowledge about the operational processes in the production facilities can be limited,” Damisch ponders.
In order to ease the transition towards utilizing Industrial Internet, Damisch’s advice is to integrate the operations technology and IT technology understanding within a company more thoroughly.
“A process controller can’t be shut down if there is doubt of it being infected by a virus. Very different measures apply at the factory floor. There needs to be a mutual understanding between the OT and IT experts inside the company”.
And as standards might change over the years, Damisch also recommends utilizing open source thinking from the beginning.
“Make sure that whatever you build is based on open interfaces or you risk it turning into a graveyard of information at some point. Using open standards, like a Hadoop system for long term data storage, you make sure you stay open to extract the value later on”.
Alexander Damisch works as Senior Director, Business Transformation at Wind River
Image credit: ImageFlow / Shutterstock.com
Equip, utilize, make it actionable – steps to realizing the Industrial Internet
Data doesn’t lie, according to Harvey Shovers, the President of MSI Data. In baseball, for instance, it’s a commonly known fact that all of the teams today analyze huge amounts of data that is produced on the field. In 2013, the Pittsburgh Pirates managed to break their 20 year losing spree by applying sophisticated data analytics to the baseball field. The same idea can be applied to different manufacturing industries like the steel industry.
“With the steel industry being one of the oldest industries out there, you can imagine it is very traditional when it comes to managing. These kinds of industries have been pretty reserved of the idea of managing by data. But the steel industry, just like everybody else, is going to benefit from the capture and analysis of that data”, Shovers says.
If you take the right mix of experience and reliance on the data that you have never been able to act on before, the steel industry, like any industry, is able to make better decisions that can more quickly affect the manufacturing process.
As an example, for service technicians, having the right data means that they can update their old methods of doing maintenance.
“It isn’t beneficial for the service technician, or the customer, to come on site and not be able to identify the problem, and then have to come back again and again. It’s expensive and it doesn’t drive good relationships with the customer. Now, with the proper data, the technician can come and fix the problem before it occurs and come equipped if a problem does occur. With access to machine data, the technician knows exactly what the problem is and how to fix it. This way the first-time fix rates go up and the service technician gets his job done faster, better and more professionally. This improves the relationship with the customers. It’s a win-win-situation,” Shovers says.
Getting everyone on board is key
Speaking on the hot topics in Industrial Internet, Shovers mentions that there’s a difference in the emphasis between the consumer side of the IoT and the Industrial Internet. When thinking about the Internet of Things, people tend to associate it with consumer-type applications.
“For most people, they like to think of things you can do with your smartphone. The Internet of Things makes day-to-day activities for people easier. We now have apps to control the lights in our apartment, to record TV-shows and to change the thermostat. On the industrial side it’s more about collecting big data.”
According to Shovers, the companies on the leading edge are the ones who are already capturing data and are starting to utilize it. The main problems companies face in getting to this point is getting the whole company on board and having a clear vision as to why other companies are already collecting data and most importantly being able to see what the payback is.
Three steps to an Industrial Internet
For Shovers, the implementation of the Industrial Internet takes place in three distinct phases. The first one is making everything internet-enabled. For example, in the auto industry, most cars that ship today are equipped with some kind of data-collection and telematics devices.
“Not all of the data that can be collected from devices is actually used today, but everyone is putting hardware and software into their products,” Shovers says.
The second phase is capturing the big data, and then being able to utilize it.
“That data helps companies drive their business decisions, or manufacturing and design decisions faster.”
The third phase is making that data actionable. The end result might be, for example, that we have a car that drives itself, compared to cars now that can already change lanes for you automatically, or notify you if something negative is about to occur.
What kind of advice would Shovers then give for company CIOs in charge of implementing any of these three phases?
“The point would be to get started now; don’t wait. The technology is already here, and if you wait two or three years for the perfect solution to become available, you’re going to be behind everybody else”
“I’m a big proponent of taking steps to get things started now, because you can talk about these things forever, just like anything else,” Shovers says.
According to Shovers, an ideal scenario for a company would be to come up with a multi-year plan of where the company aims to get to and of the results they aim to achieve with the implementation of the Industrial Internet.
On the way there they should be able to report back to their stakeholders every step along the way, within or outside the organization, of the progress they’re making towards achieving these long-term goals.
“The point would be to get started now; don’t wait. The technology is already here, and if you wait two or three years for the perfect solution to become available, you’re going to be behind everybody else”, Shovers says.
Finally, coming back to baseball, only 20% of the data-collecting teams make their decisions based on it. The ones using data to guide decisions also happen to be the ones leading the surge and becoming the winners in their sport.
Harvey Shovers is the President of MSI Data, a Wisconsin based company that is the leader in field workforce automation software.
Image credit: vetre / Shutterstock.com
The most read articles of Industrial Internet Now in 2015
The past year has brought numerous new advancements in the field of the industrial internet, and also sparked a great deal of thought-provoking discussion and articles. Some of the most discussed topics this year include those relating to hackathons, leadership and the change in the tasks of the industrial workforce. Below are the five most read articles in Industrial Internet Now in 2015.
5. Big data a key factor at the beginning of the supply chain
Jacqui Taylor, CEO of FlyingBinary, explained why people are the key for the Internet of Things. Taylor gives concrete advice on what a company should pay attention to when the transformation initiated by big data starts. Taylor explains that the technology on its own is there, but the question is what you can do with it, and how you’re going to explain the impact and the transformation that is needed in the organization. Nonetheless, using big data technology to construct the supply chain in a new way allows you to put your focus on the customer in a way that has never been possible before.
4. Industrial Internet changes the way we approach a machine
How has the way of operating a machine changed with the Industrial Internet? Juha Pankakoski, CDO at Konecranes aims to explain how the changing technology gives us new ways to operate machinery, and what possibilities this brings for businesses. According to Pankakoski, new technology and the Industrial Internet enable us to rethink existing processes. In his experience, the amount of possibilities and benefits brought on by those applications often exceed all expectations.
3. How to hack an industrial crane
First ever IndustryHack Hackathon event was held on February 6-8. The Hackathon was the first to be organized as part of the IndustryHack series of ten industrial Hackathons, and the article addresses some of the key results from the event. The winning application in this Hackathon was an application developed by Valuemotive. The winning team’s idea focused on the customers’ challenges and included integration of ERP systems and crane operation.
2. Key findings from the Industry of Things World Survey report 2015
A report on a large survey sent to hundreds of IoT-professionals around the globe. Although many of the results were as expected, there were also a number of striking findings. Maria Relaki, Director of Product & Content at we.CONECT Global Leaders, shares some of the key insights the study found. According to Relaki, a decisive factor for companies aiming to be the early birds in IoT adoption is the presence of an innovative and forward-looking leadership.
1. New renaissance in manufacturing
Gary Mintchell, an acclaimed writer, advisor and speaker on technology and manufacturing shared his thoughts on the ups and downs of digitalization and what role humans play in the process of manufacturing goods in the future. The technological developments allow us to focus on how we can further use technology like robotics, working alongside people to make processes more effective and, furthermore, how we can have people and technology working together safely.
Image credit: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock.com
Industry of Things World: Collaboration is the key in Industrial Internet
Industry of Things World 2015 brought together leading industry innovators in an event that is destined to shape the future of the Industrial Internet
More than 700 attendees participated in the conference, which took place at the Berlin Congress Center on September 21-22, 2015. 83 speakers gave over 160 hours of inspirational presentations on the challenges and opportunities of the Industrial Internet. Maria Relaki, Event Director, youCONECT and responsible for Industry of Things World shares the key issues that the event brought to light.
“One of the entry points that we wanted to do with this event was bring together people from different industries that are all facing the same challenges. It’s a chance to speak to each other and say ‘hey, the same problem that you’re facing, I’m facing.’ A lot of connections were made that wouldn’t have been made otherwise”
The crucial role of collaboration in the Industrial Internet
The event focused on real-life case studies, illustrating how co-operation and forward thinking will be essential to maximizing the full benefits of the Industrial Internet for businesses.
Relaki explains, “Everyone is realizing the importance of the Industrial Internet. Collaboration is a must. People need to come together to figure out ways to harness this technology and get the results they need to make everything more efficient. Trying to do that in a separated way will not be as successful.”
Other areas of critical importance the event concentrated on were ways in which to deal with the sheer amount of data produced by sensors, security in a connected world, and the challenge of standardizing connectivity.
Relaki goes on to say, “Juha Pankakoski from Konecranes mentioned the opportunity of new business models arising through the use of new technologies.”
Konecranes’ upcoming webinars to further discussion of the Industrial Internet
Pankakoski, Chief Digital Officer of Konecranes, attended the two day event, finding it a hub of discussion about the hottest topics around the Industrial Internet. He says, “There’s a lot of good movement overall in developing and maturing the concepts, standards, and platforms, associated with Industrial Internet. Early adopters in this area are now really starting to gain momentum and putting these things into use; the concept is really picking up pace.”
“The technology change is a business model change.”
Pankakoski delivered the closing keynote address of the event, sharing his experiences of the digitalization of Konecranes. He spoke on the topic of creating value with the Industrial Internet in the world of material handling, and the benefits this brings to traditional heavy industries, “We have been able to learn from the use of the Industrial Internet. The technology change is a business model change. Konecranes already combines the equipment and service element. This mixture of both the physical product and the service presence allows us to change the values from one area to another. This is often required when you start implementing these new ways of creating business value.”
Pankakoski will be expanding on these issues at Konecranes’ forthcoming webinars, allowing an even wider audience the opportunity to participate in the cutting edge of the Industrial Internet.
The first webinar will start at 3PM (UTC +2h) on October 28, 2015. Sign up at www.konecranes.com/webinar
Image credit: Industry of Things World Berlin
IoT represents the breaking down of silos – but not without open source thinking
“Open source’s influence extends far beyond sharing code,” writes Gordon Haff in his Open Source article. According to him, open source thinking is needed if we want to improve and fasten the adoption of IoT solutions. In addition to this, there are several other developing processes running to make IoT implementation easier than it is. “A number of technology trends are coming together to make IoT solutions more practical: low-power and inexpensive processors for pervasive sensors, wireless networks, and the ability to store and analyze large amounts of data, both at the edge and in centralized data centers,” he writes. Read more of how the open source culture could create a better IoT at: http://opensource.com/business/15/4/better-internet-things-open-source-culture
Image credit: Gustavo Frazao / Shutterstock.com
When worlds collide, innovations are born
Jarkko Vesa, Founder & CEO of management consulting company Not Innovated Here, has had the opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted with the possibilities that the industrial internet brings in different industries. As the technology enabling the required connectivity and data gathering has become more common, the question on everyone’s minds is how to find new business models from these new opportunities. Vesa thinks that the solution for finding new innovations lies in bringing in experts from very different backgrounds to the planning table.
According to Vesa, one of the most prominent opportunities for finding new ways of utilizing the technological advancements comes from the cooperation of start-ups, hackers and industrial companies, coming together and trying out new things.
“I’ve attended various industrial hackathon events and found that we have a lot of analytics tools and start-ups that offer great visualizations. This world can be swiftly utilized when the Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) are opened in a controlled manner. This way the traditional industries are able utilize the know-how of start-ups, and this is where the real potential lies.”
Vesa points out that the main idea is to bring applications of the consumer world and the industrial environments closer to each other.
“Opening the interfaces in the industrial internet enables this culture. That’s how we get into the same kind of buzz that’s been happening in consumer services, enabled by Google, Apple and other operators alike. What we’ve witnessed in industrial hackathons is that these two worlds can be quickly combined together.”
One of the developments in the industrial internet is that it improves user experiences in industrial environments and new solutions are introduced at a rapid pace.
“There is a lot of utilization of motion detection features nowadays, where a crane can follow its operator or a welding machine can follow the movement of the welders arm. A lot of the solutions involve intuitive interfaces, such as smart glasses, speech recognition or other convenient ways of communicating with machines.”
The world can’t be built in a day
Vesa sees that one of the keys to unlocking new business benefits lies in utilizing a start-up mentality in finding new solutions. He argues that in the start-up world, large questions are not solved all at once, but rather with quick and dirty and good enough type of solutions.
“This sort of lean thinking enables solutions to be developed through new versions and it also provides the ability to make changes faster“.
In Vesa’s opinion, there are certain similarities in the current state of the industrial internet to where the telecoms industry was in the late nineties.
“I wrote my thesis on the development of mobile technology back in the turn of the millennium. Back then the tele operator business resembled the traditional industries a lot. Everything had to be 100 per cent tested and confirmed. And suddenly these internet geeks started showing up and doing things with a good enough attitude. This was the focal thinking of the new generation – it doesn’t hurt if everything is not tested thoroughly. The ethos was that the users will give feedback and the product will be developed based on it. This sort of thinking horrified the traditional telecoms industry. They said that they can’t build critical systems with that sort of mentality”.
Vesa points out that security, safety and quality issues need to be managed, but adding a certain open mindset and courage to research and development will lead to innovations.
“Of course there needs to be the right places where to experiment. But in suitable places and instances, where risks are managed, the development teams should be given more freedom to try things out. I think the industrial hackathons are a perfect place for that – a sandbox to experiment in, within safe boundaries”.
Industrial internet or industrial intranet?
A lot of the new innovations around industrial internet have, however, focused on improving productivity on a machine level, ranging from predicative maintenance to wearables in an industrial environment.
In Vesa’s opinion, there will be a lot of innovations on a machinery level in the near future, but getting the solutions to the next stage in the evolution will require more time.
“The development stages are in order: machinery, factory, supply chain and ecosystem. In the large scale of things, I believe that in the beginning the first big success stories will be the interfaces, which are relatively simple and fast to build”.
This leads to the question, whether we’re really in the age of an industrial internet or an industrial intranet?
“If we look at existing business cases, we are managing, monitoring and operating on a machine level, but we’re only just moving towards conducting these on a factory level. Managing a whole supply chain or an ecosystem is still far away. There are certain challenges of systemic innovation, where the whole chain needs to reach a certain level for it to spread”, Vesa says.
What would need to happen in order to reach the level where the machinery of different operators or even industries could communicate seamlessly with each other?
“Recognizing things is one of the challenges here. The machines, equipment and products need to be equipped with RFID’s or some other tags. When bar codes came along, it was a huge step forward at the time. In order for them to spread it required a few big operators in retail who decided to start using them and demanded the supplying industries to start using them as well. That was back then, but which operators these days would be powerful enough to start driving this kind of change? Of course many industrial companies are in a position where they have their supply chains well managed and can use their power to implement new solutions”.
First step: Just do it!
When all the right components are in place, Vesa gives three key things to consider when innovating new business models or solutions based on the industrial internet.
“The first one – Just do it. Here in Europe, we have a tradition of planning for a long time before moving to execution, where as in the United States it’s quite the opposite. This affects everything we do, from legislation to standardization. I think the most important thing is just to get going”, Vesa starts out.
“The second point is about agility and speed. There has been an increase in the Lean and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) thinking, where one does not aim for perfection right away, but for a good enough version, which can be developed further based on the user feedback. The important thing is not to get stuck on the planning for too long, but to bring the product out and test it with the clients”.
“The third point regards cyber safety. It is pretty common that this takes first place and then security issues become a top priority. When everything is done very cautiously and thoroughly, there is a risk that the information security starts to drive the business itself. I claim that an information system cannot be developed information security first. You have to create it business first and then make sure all of the security issues are in order”, Vesa states.
“This is an area where it is very easy to start seeing threats everywhere, raising concerns and portraying scenarios where cranes are being high-jacked in ports or something similar. In reality, everything is planned thoroughly and the risks are managed, for example, using data diodes, which transmit information only to one direction”.
“The industrial internet is too important a matter to be left solely in the hands of the cyber security experts. It has to stay on the business agenda”, Vesa concludes.
Jarkko Vesa is the Founder & CEO at Not Innovated Here – Laboratory of Creative Destruction
Image credit: loreanto / Shutterstock.com