Although both industries – Discrete Manufacturing and Process Manufacturing – are completely different, I see some similarities.
10 years ago, the only competitive threat for a traditional OEM came from another traditional OEM. All R&D Managers had an arrogant smile on the face when they heard about a small US company, which was entering the market with electric cars. Today this company – Tesla – is also an established player. But new competitors do appear on the horizon: Apple, Google, Uber and others. Companies with no knowledge about how to build, sell and maintain a car. Why is this possible?
A company’s change from solely being a product manufacturer to also becoming a service provider is a potential application of digital transformation. In order to provide services aimed at both individuals and target groups, companies need to collect user-, application-, and product-driven data from the real world as a basis, then submit this data to further analytic processing.
Companies can now bridge the gap between the real world and the digital world using the mechanisms and principles of the Internet of Things (IoT) or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT or Industry 4.0). Standardized device networking and individual opportunities for interaction are now available for a wide range of uses – they open up new possibilities and expand fields of business.
Lately I have been talking to different clients about their journey into the digital transformation, cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). We are looking into how we can help them to fully exploit the possibilities of existing technologies and business models and furthermore challenge existing business models through existing and new technologies. In the course of this I finally got my hands on a bunch of Amazon dash buttons. Despite that I’m not able to use them as intended (only US, only Amazon prime), buying detergents or diapers just by pushing the button, I am quite happy! The dash buttons are remarkable IoT devices and representing a milestone in technical evolution affecting the lives of most of us.
Remarkable, milestone, evolution, revolution… isn’t it just a button able to order some goods or products? I think it’s far more, Amazon paved the way for IoT business for retail and consumer markets. They standardized a powerful hardware setup for low cost, running infrastructures capable and scalable to handle any amount of purchase requests, provide easy setups for the users and alongside ease customer loyalty and are attractive to vendors, selling their goods.