“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” A quote attributed to Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, in 1943 makes one realize how different the world is from what was predicted to be when computers were a relatively new thing. Today’s business landscape is vastly different. In recent years, it has been shaped by global phenomenon’s, such as urbanization, globalization, and lastly digitalization [1].

Digitalization driven by technology development enables exiting possibilities. The technology is utilized to create new sales channels, build new business and service models, streamline processes, and improve collaboration with customers. The current technology transformation offers many interesting opportunities to create and deliver value.

IOT is said to be one of the greatest disruptions in contemporary economy globally

One of the most discussed topics around digitalization is the Internet of Things (IOT). IOT is combination of technologies that “link small objects to internet” [2]. These products may contain sensors, processors, controls, antennae and software, which add intelligence to products and permit connectivity and communication between products, with cloud services and other business applications.

IOT is said to be one of the greatest disruptions in contemporary economy globally [3]. Capturing the benefits from IOT requires seeing it as a vehicle for renewing business rather than an isolated technology project. These benefits can be realized at least in three ways (Figure 1).

First, improving the efficiency of current business operations. The improved efficiency comes from improved R&D and production processes. It may also result from utilizing predictive maintenance allowing more precise planning and scheduling of maintenance operations and prevention of system failures.

Second, creation of new business by utilizing the data gathered from the IOT capable devices and analytics associated with the gathered data. Having data and analytic information available provides insight, which enables moving to service business. Moving from product to service business allows broadening the market, deepening customer commitment and increasing the predictability of the revenue.

Finally, IOT can increase the value of products via added functionality and connectivity between products and systems of products.

Figure 1: IOT’s benefits to companies [1].

 

iot-benefits

 

IOT is currently at the peak of Gartner’s hype cycle for emerging technologies, which is an annually published report predicting the adoption of new technologies [4]. The top position in the cycle means that many companies are currently considering how to capture the value available via IOT.

Good results are often received when solutions are aligned with customer expectation. Since IOT is a new territory for most companies, engaging the IOT journey is likely to require some experimentation and piloting. Customer feedback is essential in steering the direction of the development.

Hands-on with IOT

ATR’s mission is to “develop working software to improve our clients’ business.” We aim to understand our clients and implement solutions that support their aspirations.

We have been working recently with several of our clients in piloting and developing IOT solutions. Two of the cases are illustrated below. Both cases relate to client’s desire to increase the value of the current products and to investigate ways to create new type of business.

Case 1 was a manufacturing company designing and building sophisticated machinery used in logistics and transportation. The manufactured products contain multiple sensors, but the data is not collected centrally or utilized effectively currently.

The client was seeking real time visibility to use of equipment and identification of potential error situations. The target is to enable better logistics planning and optimization of the usage of the machinery. The gathered data is utilized as an add-on service or a new stand-alone service for the manufacturer’s clients.

ATR developed a pilot solution that collects the sensors data and transfers it securely to centralized database. The solution included a data analytics engine, which processes the data and an interface that enables versatile use of the information on both desktop and mobile devices. The solution was implemented using Microsoft technologies, MongoDB and RESTful services.

Case 2 was also a manufacturing company. The company develops measurement equipment used in laboratories. The measurement device stores and analyses the data, which is then utilized by specialists locally.

With the company, ATR developed a solution that collects specified analysis data from the multiple measurement devices to Amazon cloud service and visualizes the information to enable better decision making and analysis. A view to the visualized data can be provided as value-adding service to manufacturing company’s clients.

Both of these cases benefitted our customers by increasing their experience and understanding IOT and how it can benefit their business. An additional benefit, especially in case 2, has been the marketing value of the newly developed features, which show that the company is at the forefront of development.

Ready for action

“The IOT is driving the next wave of business transformation. The first wave of IOT change was fueled by technology and validated the potential of connectivity. The next wave will be led by companies who will achieve mass-market success by changing the way they develop IOT offerings, which in turn will change the way they do business.” [5]

The technology to implement IOT solutions is available. Are you already engaged in action?

 

References

1. J. Juhanko (Ed.), M. Jurvansuu (Ed.), T. Ahlqvist, H. Ailisto, P. Alahuhta, J. Collin, M. Halen, T. Heikkilä, H. Kortelainen, M. Mäntylä, T. Seppälä, M. Sallinen, M. Simons and A. Tuominen, “Industrial internet transforms Finland’s challenges into opportunities: background synthesis,” The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy, ETLA Reports 42, 2015.

2. Cisco, “Internet of Things (IoT),” Cisco, 2016. [Online]. Available: http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/internet-of-things/overview.html. [Accessed: 29-Jun-2016].

3. Ailisto, Heikki (Ed.), Mäntylä, Matti (Ed.), Seppälä, Timo (Ed.), Collin, Jari, Halén, Marco, Juhanko, Jari, Jurvansuu, Marko, Koivisto, Raija, Kortelainen, Helena, Simons, Magnus, Tuominen, Anu, and Uusitalo, Teuvo, “Finland—The Silicon Valley of Industrial Internet,” Valtioneuvoston kanslia, 2015.

4. Gartner, “Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies Identifies the Computing Innovations That Organizations Should Monitor,” 15-Aug-2015. [Online]. Available: http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3114217. [Accessed: 03-May-2016].

5. Nelson, Scott A., “The Internet of Things Needs Design, Not Just Technology,” Harvard Business Review, 29-Apr-2016.

ATR Soft is a software development company that produces software to support the business of companies. Our head office is in Turku, Finland and we also operate in Tampere, Finland. There are resellers for our products in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.

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