Industrial Internet Now

IoT implementation arrives to industries, but at which speed?

According to a study by the global market intelligence firm IDC, last year nearly 60% of decision makers were already convinced that IoT will be strategically important to their business, while almost one in four believed in its significant potential to effect change.

2016 marks the year in which the number of manufacturing factories that have implemented a basis for IoT will surpass those that haven’t. In this article for Digitalist magazine, Andreas Schmitz, freelance journalist for SAP offers an interesting outlook on the speed at which IoT will be mainstream in various other industries.


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Via Digitalist Magazine

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Combining multiple data sources adds value

When speaking about industrial internet and the benefits it offers, a thing that is likely to come up is the ability to access massive amounts of data, that once discovered, can reveal unseen correlations and thus increase understanding of different processes. In order to truly understand the connections between certain aspects and utilize new technology to its full potential, all the possible sources of information should be taken into account. These include both the equipment and the people who use them. Finding the most valuable information is usually a result of harvesting and combining data from the two.

Being able to utilize information collected by hi-tech equipment has become a prerequisite for businesses of today. A company that fails to adapt to this new environment will inevitably fall by the wayside. We are currently at a turning point, where investing in the future opportunities provided by digitalization is becoming crucial for maintaining a business advantage.

It’s good to keep in mind that the customer aspect is not the only definite advantage here. Using intelligent technology and automation also helps companies to improve internal processes and in some cases lighten the cost structure. At grass roots level it means the ability to extend components’ life cycle or change interval, for example. Increasing the understanding of the equipment – how to use it in the best possible way and how to avoid fault situations – also makes it easier to optimize processes. Basically it means having more control over things.

Mixing data for the benefit of the customer

In order to achieve control and the ability to make business better through digitalization, one literally needs to look at the big picture. In the picture there are not only machines, but also people who use them. In a certain process there is data coming from all kinds of sources, and each and every one of them needs to be acknowledged.

Konecranes utilizes a new maintenance data system that enables reporting back at a component level. What happens is that we monitor our customers’ equipment remotely, and when our maintenance technician goes to the site to perform a crane inspection, all the details concerning each component can be recorded. The system enables us to keep track of what exactly has been done, to which components, and what kind of observations have been made in the process.

A key feature in the data system is a so-called Risk & Recommendation method, which means that when a certain error code is identified, it is followed by a designated risk category and a recommendation of the correct repair measure. In addition, the technician operating on site can add their own free-form comment to the system to give more details on what has happened. Hence, the clearest view on the overall situation is acquired by combining the information from the person who has conducted the repair or maintenance visit with the data provided by remote monitoring of the equipment.

The same system is utilized when reporting the working hours spent on site and the materials that have been used during a repair or maintenance visit. In addition, with this system we are able to calculate various things for the benefit of the customer. We can determine, say, the cost of one lift or one operating hour by combining data from different sources.

“In order to truly understand the connections between certain aspects and utilize new technology to its full potential, all the possible sources of information should be taken into account.”

Equipment monitoring enhances safety

Many equipment owners will surely appreciate the possibility to have information regarding their own fleet compared to information about similar equipment. With this kind of insight, tracking down possible misuse, for example, becomes easier: When data received from a certain unit repeatedly addresses an error situation, it often indicates a problem with how the particular piece of equipment is being used. That’s something the maintenance customer most likely wants to be aware of. If remote monitoring detects too many error situations in relation to the utilization of the equipment, something needs to be fixed.

With the help of industrial internet, monitoring a vast number of equipment around the world becomes not only easier, but also more detailed. A discovered error situation can be connected to a specific work shift or an individual employee. Of course the issue is not always in the way the equipment is used. The solution can also be replacing old equipment with a new one, or modernizing the existing fleet. Nevertheless, intervening with recurring equipment misuse early enough reduces potential safety risks that in case left unnoticed could lead to a serious accident.

Overloading cranes repeatedly can damage the entire lifting machinery because there are components that simply aren’t designed to be used in lifting heavier loads than stated. Misusing the crane in this sense will inevitably shorten the lifecycle of its components. Just like the unnecessary use of the emergency stop which leads to the brakes wearing out sooner than they should. In the worst case, the aforesaid can result in the breaking of the lifting rope, or the failing of the brakes.

Increased insight improves reliability

An unplanned halt is an example of another type of an unwelcomed consequence. Through industrial internet equipment manufacturers and maintenance service providers are able to access data about the utilization of the equipment from various angles. This enables a much more detailed maintenance and repair planning, including a more specific analysis of the current condition of the equipment and its components.

Especially for maintenance companies this means that their business model shifts towards insurance company-like operations. What they are interested in is that their equipment stays up and running. Basically the commodity that is then being sold is reliability.

Ilkka Blomqvist works as Product Group Manager, Digital Services at Konecranes

By Ilkka Blomqvist

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Data processing becomes decentralized through blockchain

Blockchain comes with the promise of decentralizing information processing. It allows for a digital record of information packets coursing through the internet, and forms a record of digital events. What does this mean for businesses? Daniel Riedel, CEO of New Context offers an overview on the subject in this recent Readwrite article.

According to Riedel, “in an environment that requires continuous modification of data but also sensitivity to conditions required for uninhibited informational trade, blockchain is our best path toward a new industrial revolution”.

Read more about what blockchain is, and how it will affect business at

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Via Readwrite

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SMEs in the ecosystem of Industrial Internet

Despite large enterprises being at the forefront of the development of Industrial Internet, small and medium-size enterprises play an important role in contributing to the growth of its ecosystem. According to Karan Menon, Researcher, Industrial Internet at Tampere University of Technology, each player, whether big or small, brings something unique to the game, and also needs the other players in order to survive.

“Smaller companies have the benefit of having very detailed expertise and specific kind of knowledge. Furthermore, SMEs are more agile, have less bureaucracy, and can easily partner up with other companies to achieve their goals. Large manufacturers, on the other hand, tend to have more financial resources and overall technological capabilities,” he says.

In addition, bigger players on the field have the advantage of having access to more data. Thus, using intelligent technologies, they are able to collect much more information from their own sources in comparison to their smaller competitors.

For SMEs, being up against larger companies in the market also means having to be careful before embracing the digital connectivity and open innovation networks. Menon continues: “When contributing to an open value network there is unfortunately the risk of getting eaten by the bigger fish. Having to deal with intellectual property rights of solutions and products that were developed in common, for instance, can lead to smaller players being disadvantaged. In some cases, cooperation may result in the acquisition of the small business by a larger company, which means that the first one of the two disappears.”

The necessity of mutual platforms

Despite having addressed the risks, Menon strongly supports the basic idea of an open platform in which all operators can join and work together in order to create innovations.

“When you think of modern B2C services such as Uber and Airbnb, you see that it’s not about products, but platforms. B2B and the industrial internet is no exception. Instead of people it’s just about data. If you want to build an entire functioning ecosystem, creating a platform is the only way, because you need to provide means for the whole supply chain to communicate and interact,” Menon states.

“When you think of modern B2C services such as Uber and Airbnb, you see that it’s not about products, but platforms. B2B and the Industrial Internet is no exception. Instead of people it’s just about data.”

To put it simply, platforms are the base on which technologies can be built. And the more builders the better. “No organization exists in isolation. Providing real value to stakeholders requires combining different data and diverse sources of information. Handling large entities is where open platforms come in most handy,” Menon summarizes.

The future of pay-per-use business model in manufacturing

The superiority of platforms over products is closely linked to another key development in the field of intelligent technologies: the shift towards pay-per-use business models. Large equipment manufacturers, for example, have adopted this trend and succeeded in transforming their business models accordingly. Instead of selling the actual machines to their customers, they provide them with usability and reliability.

“When you think of material handling, for example, the term itself actually reveals the driver behind the business. It’s not really about lifting gear per se, but what it does and how it benefits the customer. The same goes for aircraft engines. Utilizing smart technologies enables equipment manufacturers to become service providers,” Menon says.

To be able to deliver the expected value to customers – and preferably exceed them – companies need to be on top of everything that may affect the performance of their products and solutions. Thus, having multiple players collaborating on an open platform is immeasurably valuable.

“Selling the outcome that a certain device or a machine has been designed to deliver is in way a lot riskier than selling just the machine. Especially if the final price that the customer pays is being determined based on the quality and performance of the deliverable. In this sense, it’s very logical that business operators welcome all the input they can get,” Menon concludes.

Karan Menon works as Researcher, Industrial Internet at Tampere University of Technology

Karan Menon on Twitter: @menonkaran 

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Interview w/ Karan Menon

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Digital disruption offers benefits for paper and package industries

Today, digital disruption is the main driver for transformation in all industries. According to Brian Dickinson, industry expert at SAP, it is a time of opportunity for the paper and packaging industry.

“While technology has made for tighter profit margins and shifting demands, there is vast potential. With better information and smarter tools, modern companies can find new ways of modeling and doing business”, Dickinson writes for Digitalist.

Dickinson gives insight on how digitalization will affect the paper and packaging industry, and how companies can enhance their business by understanding it. Read more at

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Via Digitalist

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