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Enhancing the Business Impact of the Industrial IoT With Digital Thread
What business impact does this innovation have on the product development and manufacturing lifecycle?
Mar 22, 2020—
In 2020, there is no doubt that the Internet of Things (IoT) has been a game-changer. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to find any major industry or realm of life that has been unaffected by the seismic changes brought about by the IoT. Although the initial impact of the IoT was felt in the consumer space, it has rapidly percolated to the industrial world, resulting in Industry 4.0 or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
As the IIoT continues to gather momentum, there has been a perception that the business impact it creates could have been significantly higher. However, things are headed in the right direction, as the digital thread concept is the next evolution enabled by IIoT infrastructure. Digital thread refers to the communication framework that allows connected data flow and an integrated view of an asset's data throughout its lifecycle across a traditionally siloed functional perspective. Let's delve deeper into the specific business impact of an IIoT-led digital thread that cuts across the entire product development and manufacturing lifecycle.
The Industrial IoT is causing several disruptions across the value chain. However, its impact can be most significantly felt across two major scenarios: plant, factory or manufacturing operations, as well as engagement between industrial OEMs and their customers. The former is more about achieving optimization and enhancing operational efficiencies, while the latter is focused on the creation of new business and service models.
Though one might tend to look at these as two different scenarios, the impact of a well-thought-out and carefully executed IIoT strategy can be multifold. They key is to build the right synergies between these complementary worlds. Let's explore, in a little more detail, the different approaches that can be used for creating these synergies to maximize business impact and extract higher returns from investments made.
The manufacturing lifecycle typically consists of eight different stages: design, test, make, QA, deliver, operate, service and return. Each of these stages has different systems and tools which are deployed at individual stages to optimize operational efficiencies. Some of these tools include PLM software, HMI SCADA, Industrial automation systems, ERP systems and others.
Upon close observation, one would realize that the IIoT elements usually impact the make, operate and service parts of the lifecycle. But there are systems deployed across other stages as well, and for the IIoT to truly live up to its promise, some of these systems must be combined to create business impacting solutions.
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