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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

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Industrial Internet evolves in various ways

As more and more organizations come familiar with the possibilities provided by the Industrial Internet, the possible uses of the new technology become more versatile. For example, augmented reality and smart clothes are making their way into industrial environments, and we’re moving from data gathering towards transferring data into organizations’ own processes. Petri Asikainen, Director of Product Development at Konecranes takes a look at the current advancements, which will shape material handling in the years to come.

Improved user experience

With a growing variety of users, Industrial Internet technologies have an increased need to be simple and user friendly. It is all about packaging technologies into solutions that can be used without a degree in engineering. With improved user interfaces and the increased ease of use, it becomes possible for different levels of the organization to utilize all information gathered. Because of this shift, UX experts – who are needed more and more in organizations – have to be experts in combining technology, design and user experience. Their goal must be to provide solutions that look and feel like any digital channel used in everyday life, and hence don’t require long training periods before taken into use. With this simplicity, both resource and cost effectiveness are also improved.

Augmented reality and wearables

Augmented reality is about overlaying virtual content on top of reality with the help of various interfaces. The potential of augmented reality is significant, as it enables organizations to share and make use of information faster and more efficiently than before. For example, maintenance could be assisted by using special AR glasses that give real time information and instructions during the operation. The applications of augmented reality are already prevalent within the consumer field, and the price of the technology has decreased significantly. The next step is to find out how this technology can be utilized in an industrial production environment.

Similar to augmented reality solutions, wearable technology has still unused potential for businesses. Solid research is being conducted, and the industrial world has hopes to see in the near future, for instance, smart clothes that can control devices with mere fine motor movements, without physical contact with the actual device.

Analytics for practical processes

Maintenance optimization has so far meant shifting away from calendar-based actions towards using data to analyze the actual condition of the machinery and planning maintenance based on that. However, analytics will no longer be only about collecting data and making conclusions based on it. The next steps will be to transfer information directly to processes and aid the operative functions of organizations. With these actions, benefits of having analytics in the industrial Internet ecosystem extends from maintenance to production, by enabling individual device operation optimization, and even further to the optimization of whole production processes.

When companies have access to real-time information and systems that interact with each other, they can examine information as a whole and act accordingly. The partner responsible for the analysis, such as the equipment supplier, can also transfer data directly to the organization’s processes, creating a new and more productive cooperation model that benefits both sides. This requires a change of thinking, though, since a large number of industrial organizations are not yet ready to open up their processes to outside partners. But when it happens, it will increase the benefits analytics can provide.

Adding Industrial Internet capabilities to aged devices not only helps to increase the availability of the aged equipment, but also provides exact data of the usage needed in the future investment planning

Optimized investment on equipment

The development of predictive technologies and services, especially those essential for production facilities, can at their best lead to the reduction of production equipment, such as standby machines. With predictive technologies, we can better understand the state of the machinery, since we are able to monitor and detect the status of its critical components in detail. This has been and will continue to be in the very core of the Industrial Internet. Standby machinery will no longer be needed for possible emergency or fault situations, as problems will be identified before they affect the ability of the primary machine to function. This will also be of help in identifying the end of a machine’s life span, as we can now begin its shutdown process without disturbing the production process as a whole.

It’s also good to remember, that Industrial Internet is not only for the latest, state-of-the art devices. Adding Industrial Internet capabilities to aged devices not only helps to increase the availability of the aged equipment, but also provides exact data of the usage needed in the future investment planning. These technologies help to decide whether it is reasonable to acquire new machinery or to modernize existing ones, and plan well beforehand when it will be optimum time to do so.

Image credit: LDprod / Shutterstock.com

Petri Asikainen

Petri Asikainen works as Director of Product Development at Konecranes

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Industrial internet applications: cases and experiences

Taneli Tikka, serial entrepreneur and Head of Industrial Internet start up at Tieto Corporation is involved in several projects within tech and the Internet of Things. As more and more companies are interested in implementing Industrial Internet applications, Tikka is one of the few experts that can cite successful cases and share his experiences on working and experimenting with industrial internet applications.

According to Tikka, corporations are divided into three categories in regards of interest, implementation and use of industrial internet. Category number one are the pioneers, innovators and early adapters that have been developing Industrial Internet applications for the past ten years or so. Category two is in the middle of the three categories in regards of level of implementation, having started trials and testing of said applications within the span of three years or so. Group three on the other hand has not begun any kind of implementation.

“Fortunately, I am happy to say that the least amount of bigger Nordic corporations are in category three, whereas category two holds the large majority,” Tikka said.

Industrial internet can bring significant change to the corporate culture and business model. If a corporation decides to utilize and benefit from industrial internet, they have to learn how to handle and act in a more diverse business environment that includes employees with multiple roles. From developers to electronics experts amongst other types of people in the mix. These employees have not normally been part of the staff on the factory floor. In order to successfully implement Industrial Internet to the company’s business model, cooperation between all of these is essential. Especially when designing and implementing the user experience (UX):

“Creating an optimal UX needs insights gathered from the people working on the frontlines, so to speak. They especially have to take part in improving the UX more than ever before. Because once these systems become standardized; technically advanced, user-friendly and intelligent systems will be superior. When the apex of productivity has been reached, the UX’s importance grows more significant,” Tikka added.

Industrial Internet applications should create added value

Tikka pointed out that a lot of applications so far have been safety-related, yet some applications might not be as smart as they should, considering the operational context, such as smart-clothing on oilrigs. If trackers are installed on overalls and an emergency happens in the middle of the night, then the most natural smart device fulfilling the purpose would instead be a wristband. However, there are excellent cases as well, the first is from a major welding manufacturer:

“When the apex of productivity has been reached, the UX’s importance grows more significant.”

“The solution is a background system linked with the user interface, so when the welder arrives to work and logs into the system, the machine and the database authenticates him and provides the welder with all the information needed. By all information I mean everything: when was the machine last used, by whom, for how long, which core wire was used, from which manufacturer and on top of all from which mine the material of the core wire was mined from.”

All of the data is useful in a situation where a client has welded 200 nautical miles of gas pipes and they suddenly receive information from the core wire manufacturer that one of the batches of core wire delivered and used is faulty. This would in a normal case mean that the client would have to lift and inspect every piece of pipe welded to find the faulty product. With the system, the piece would be immediately identified based on the data provided by the database.

Uniqueness through strategic self-awareness

The second case mentioned by Tikka is from a large American automotive company:

“The company provides delivery cars for a client and uses an analytical component as a real-time monitoring system for the cars’ technical functions. One of the monitored functions is the voltmeter and fluctuation of the car battery. By observing irregularities in the car battery, the automotive company can identify if any malfunctions are about to happen and if the car is about to lose power. Because of the data the automotive company has, they can give extraordinary service in the form of pre-emptive field-repairs,” Tikka noted.

Simply put, the automotive company knows the client’s delivery routes and they can access the contact details of the drivers. This means that they can meet the driver at an agreed location to repair the vehicle and thus make it possible for the driver to continue their route. In this case the analytical component provides with added value in a situation where the client would not have had a clue that there was a problem. According to Tikka, this is the most salient part of industrial internet right now:

“Finding unique added value through data and analytics is the hottest thing in Industrial Internet right now. I can’t come up with a single good case in Industrial Internet that has not used analytics in any single way.”

For an organization to succeed with the help of industrial internet, it needs to know its own strategy, goals and think how these goals could be achieved. That is the situation and the strategic opportunity where a possible industrial internet product could be implemented. In most corporations, the problem is usually the lack of knowledge and competence. Tikka’s key advice would be to do the background work in one’s own calm pace while trying to figure out any possible applications:

“When the ground work has been done I strongly encourage to begin testing the applications! As long as the tests are not for one single application, but multiple and different types of applications with support of multiple hypotheses. Industrial Internet is such a new thing that there is not really “a general solution” to anything. That is why we need more of an iterative approach. A fast-cycled trial and error process. Businesses need more and more courage in looking for new solutions,” Tikka concludes.

Taneli Tikka is the Head of Industrial Internet start up at Tieto Corporation

Image credit: nevodka / Shutterstock.com

Interview w/ Taneli Tikka

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World’s first “smart” port brings industrial internet to the loading docks

Interested in real-time data of precise ship arrival time and the fastest land travel routes? Good. In Germany, dockworkers will soon be tapping into a mobile app to see when ships will arrive. “As giant container ships pull into the Port of Hamburg, Germany, in the coming years, an array of new technologies will define the future of the $4 trillion global shipping industry,” states in the article published in Rewrite. The new logistics platform of Hamburg Porth Authority is called a smartPort. Is the application going to change the way we handle ships and containers? Explore the core elements of the smartPort Initiative at: http://rewrite.ca.com/us/articles/application-economy/the-industrial-internet-comes-to-the-loading-docks.aspx

Image credit: donvictorio / Shutterstock.com

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How to hack maintenance services

What happens when you let hackers dig deeper into integrating industrial internet infrastructure and cranes? The aim of Konecranes’ second hackathon is to come up with a burst of fresh digital ideas on how to streamline the maintenance processes of cranes.

On Friday, September 4, 38 coders and designers will gather for the second IndustryHack hackathon hosted by Konecranes in Hyvinkää, Finland.

Over the weekend, the hackers will have the challenge of finding new digital ways of performing and enhancing maintenance services. The hack focuses on maintenance, wow impact in customer touch points, human and machine interaction, data capture via voice or wearables as well as history data, APIs and real-time sensor data.

“One of the key questions is how to equip our maintenance service guys with the right information so that they can do their jobs more quickly and easily and ensure that they have the right information tools at hand when they visit the customer,” says Marko Äkräs, Head of Customer Experience and Service Offering at Konecranes.

Streamlining maintenance processes

There are several reasons why Konecranes chose maintenance as the theme for their second industry hack. Firstly, the ageing workforce has become a widespread phenomenon, posing new challenges across the service and maintenance industry. “It is difficult to attract younger people to work with cranes and machine tools. Therefore we need to find new and efficient ways of working with the cranes and with service assets that help us attract younger people,” Äkräs explains.

“Secondly, we want to explore new ways of integrating the Industrial Internet infrastructure,” he continues, referring to Konecranes’ aim to maximize its utilization of the information generated by industrial internet infrastructure and the cranes and sensors that are connected to it.

“We found 17 new teams that we can use or we can collaborate with in our future projects and we employed one of the hackers”

Building on previous success

Hack The Maintenance builds on the success of the previous hackathon held by Konecranes in February. The earlier event was the first ever in a series of IndustryHack hackathons held in Finland. The aim of the event series is to develop new applications and services for the Internet of Things in cooperation with industrial companies.

Lasting 48 hours, the February event revolved around creating new applications and services around the industrial internet in material handling. Lasse Eriksson, Program Manager at Konecranes, was surprised by the quality and maturity of the concepts created by the hackers. “We found 17 new teams that we can use or we can collaborate with in our future projects and we employed one of the hackers,” he says.

Äkräs has high expectations for the upcoming weekend. He explains that the teams won’t only be provided with information generated from the cranes, but with additional resources that could improve maintenance service visits. For example, the hackers will have access to real-time maintenance operations data from Konecranes’ Siebel system for, remote monitoring usage and safety data from equipment in the field through the Konecranes TRUCONNECT service, as well as PLC, or programmable logic that provides all possible data from the crane.

After two days and two energy drink-fueled nights, the teams will present their innovations for judging on Sunday, September 6. You can follow the hackathon here: http://www.konecranes.com/hackathon.

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