Andrew Hughes – Thu, Oct 22, 2015 @ 10:00 AM
On October 20, LNS Research hosted a webinar entitled:
“Surpass Your Customer Demands: How to Leverage the Industrial Internet of Things to Enable Customer-Centric Manufacturing.”
With the help of our sponsor, Infor, the presentation examined the role of the emerging technological advancement of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and how it’s enabling forward-looking manufacturers to connect customers and suppliers to business processes throughout the value chain like never before.
Since the presentation occupied nearly the full hour, we didn’t have time to answer all of the questions that came in during the webcast, which I’ll address below.
In the meantime, the full on-demand recording of the webinar can be accessed for free here.
Q. What do you see as the main barrier to companies investing in IIoT today?
A. Fear of the unknown. Naturally conservative manufacturers find new technology risky almost by definition and are often not willing to spend money without pre-calculated ROI. Initial IIoT projects should be controlled experiments in working with a new paradigm; they should not be expected to deliver immediate ROI. Rather they should be used to educate the workforce and demonstrate the potential of the IIoT for manufacturers.
Q. What are some major areas where you’re seeing companies use Cloud and Big Data today?
A. The uses of the Cloud and Big Data are endless. Of course, these technologies are only enabling improvement. It is the analytics and data sharing that provide real benefit. Some examples include quality across multiple plants, and sharing with customers and suppliers, performance analytics, asset performance and supply planning.
Q. Can you give an example of ‘false centricity’ manufacturers may exhibit today, and an example of how IIoT is changing this to true customer centricity?
A. False centricity is usually demonstrated by an overzealous attempt to involve customers in the minutiae of a business process in which he or she has interest. For example, involving customers in detailed process planning on the shop floor might provide some insight, but mostly will benefit nobody and slow down new product introduction. On the other hand, allowing the customer to monitor production against plan can be very beneficial to everyone.
Q. You mentioned that no single provider is capable of delivering full IIoT functionality at this time. I’d imagine many are working on it. How long approximately do you think it will take for a software provider to deliver IIoT out of the box?
A. Great question! Having worked for many years in the MOM space, discussions about delivering functionality out of the box are commonplace. We often say that it is realistic to expect 80% out of the box and some customization for the remaining 20%. If we assume that the same will happen for IIoT solutions then we believe that “out of the box” IIoT platforms will start to arrive in 2017. Before then vendors will be making lots of promises but expect plenty programming of applications, connectivity, and perhaps even analytics before then.
Q. What would you suggest as the best way to get started on an IIoT project?
A. Ignore what we just said! Go ahead and make a decision to work with one of the IIoT platform developers to build a small trial IIoT system focused on one area that needs attention in your company. It is important not to think that the choice of a particular platform is permanent; for many companies now is probably not the time to be making an irreversible decision on IIoT platform. That decision will be required once a company’s IIoT strategy is clear and long-term.
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