So what’s the recipe for success? It begins with the design of systems, in which the added value of connectivity can be determined across three stages:
1. Connected Design
It is already possible to simulate designs digitally, checking the benefits of the connected systems and optimizing different parameters, and it’s proving to be an extremely efficient way to develop new propositions. This even goes beyond the boundaries of a company and can include both products from suppliers, as well as the installation on the customer side.
2. Connected Manufacturing
Embedded intelligence is like having the product designer or owner traveling with the system on the production line, one that can tell line operators what the next process steps need to be and which values need to be applied at certain steps, for example. In a smart manufacturing environment, systems and process come together through data like never before, creating efficiencies in how a product is manufactured. Information can be collected in an electronic Device History Record (eDHR), which can be used for continuous improvement and quality tracking purposes.
3. Connected Performance
Like an app on our smartphones, hardware and solutions can easily be updated through service packs. Further, data can be used to feed into many levels of a business, from engineering to R&D – even driving product design on the supplier side. In the automotive industry, car manufacturers already make use of feedback from the field to enhance the products of their suppliers, licensing back the IP they generated in the process.
The next phase concerns the operation of systems in the field, and there are three areas where companies can benefit from connectivity:
1. Connected Services
With the reduced cost of sensors, data collection and storage, it probably makes more sense now to incorporate connectivity beyond any immediate needs. In the future, use cases will spring up that allow for the extended use of remote service capabilities. In such a scenario, having sensors already in place will enable you to reduce the cost of servicing your systems, and/or create value-added offers moving forward.
2. Connected Operations
Imagine if equipment specialists didn’t need to be on site, but could instead remotely operate systems from multiple locations while local staff focused on customer experience. In a hospital environment, for example, multiple steps in diagnosis and treatment could be continually optimized based on real-time feedback from the systems and people involved in the process. This would improve performance, cost effectiveness and user experience, as well as reducing waiting times.