The Internet of Things (IoT) is starting to fundamentally change the way some big companies operate and this is especially true for Manufacturing.In gaining benefits from the IoT, industrial manufacturers are far ahead of other major global industries.
Companies with the greatest revenue increases from IoT initiatives reinvented their business models rather than just mobilizing them. They reimagined their businesses digitally and produced substantial value for customers, not just value for themselves. They deliver that value through new business models, product and service offerings, and data.
Factors of IoT’s Popularity Among Manufacturers
A study by a global advisory service EY states that IoT has now become a differentiator in top manufacturers because it helps maximize productivity while reducing quality losses. It is useful for all aspects of manufacturing but is particularly applicable to packaging, where it easily discovers packaging slowdowns.
IoT enables manufacturing companies in any sector to:
- Operate a cradle-to-grave cycle, tracking provenance from source and enabling end of life assets to be recovered and recycled;
- Transform assets into ‘as a service’ offerings, incorporating through-life maintenance and charging based on asset performance and utilization;
- Synchronise value chains from supply through manufacture, distribution, and retail, optimising inventory levels and reducing unnecessary idle time and cost;
- Deliver end-to-end visibility and control of the manufacturing process, through sophisticated visualization and monitoring tools;
- Instrumentation and automation of the manufacturing work, reducing labor costs and improving quality and precision of the process; and
- Powerful ways to optimise manufacturing operations through machine learning and analytics, and using simulation modeling of the end-to-end process.
Common Usage of IoT Among Manufacturers
1. Product Monitoring
Manufacturers are able to do tracking on products and services after they have been sold by utilizing IoT with the integration of machine data.
2. Customer Monitoring
With IoT technologies such as geolocation, Wi-Fi, and beacon use, Monitoring the status of customers is possible through apps, sensors and wearables, while using the product/service.
3. Supply Chain Monitoring
Through the use of IoT and a responsive web portal with hybrid applications for iPhone, iPad, and Android smartphones, manufacturers are able to do tracking on product and/or service operations (production, warehouse, distribution).
4. Premises Monitoring
Tracking the customer experience at the site where the product/service is being used (e.g. home, office, branch, and store) is easier with the use of IoT devices instead of the conventional method such as paper and pen.
Safety / Security Monitoring
Monitoring the safety of employees or customers in production or using the product/service by using IoT devices such as secure biometrics (voice, fingerprint, and eye scanner) and if there is no response, it can alert the appropriate authority to the location.
IoT Changes Business Models For Manufacturers
Examples of real business model changes due to IoT includes:
1. Lexmark: Product Line Change
Customer demands are changing. They no longer want to buy a product that carries out a single, specific function, but rather, want tools and services to solve a particular business problem. Lexmark, well-known for producing computer printers, has leveraged this shift in customer demands and now sells printing solutions of which hardware is merely one element, to help their customers manage information in various formats, whether it be videos, invoices, sales orders, etc.
Lexmark has invested in innovative technology to ensure its product can convert information coming from smart devices, and now has a flexible portfolio of mobile printing technologies (including Google Cloud Print, AirPrint, and other mobile print offerings).
Philips Hue: Reinventing a 140-year-old Product
The thinking behind Philip’s reinvention of the common light bulb is that despite how much our homes have changed over the past century, the technology to light them hasn’t. By leveraging IoT and connecting to other devices and sensors, Philips Hue is much more than an ordinary light bulb.
A single Hue bulb has all colors in the spectrum, in varying intensities. The light bulbs not only allow you to set and personalize different lighting in your house, the Hue has been reinvented to do and be so much more. It can help with health and wellness by setting specific light environments throughout the day, as well as notify you with changing light whether the oven timer has sounded or an email has arrived. Philips went beyond simply modernizing the lightbulb, they leveraged new technology to reinvent a product that has been in use for more than a century.
Increasing Interest in IoT Research Among Manufacturers
Not every manufacturing business will feel compelled to make the shift to IoT-enabled operations urgently. However, as more and more local and offshore competitors invest in IoT and begin to reap the business benefits, manufacturers who lag behind will come under increasing cost and quality pressures.