5 min read Mnubo was present at the 2018 Innovative Manufacturer strategic forum held on May [...]
Mnubo was present at the 2018 Innovative Manufacturer strategic forum held on May 11th and organized by the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal. In this blog post, Jennifer Sewell, head of product marketing at Mnubo, discusses the challenges established equipment manufacturers are facing in their journey to become ‘innovative manufacturers’.
Manufacturing has always been a key pillar of our economy. Companies are increasingly investing in new technologies to stay competitive and propel their digital strategy. But while the IIoT and Industry 4.0 are trends that cannot be ignored, the manufacturing industry is going through a transition. Before we can start talking about digital transformation and data monetization, it’s important to highlight a few challenges preventing the IIoT from taking off:
The average equipment manufacturing company present at the Innovative Manufacturer forum was between 50 – 75 years old. The average software company is 15 years old. This dichotomy is the root of the challenge. Because you’re asking established companies to adopt technologies that are not only foreign to them, but that have a generational gap between them.
The IoT hinges on technologies that require us to have an expert understanding of how they work. This dichotomy, the 75 year old manufacturing company and 15 year old software company, are making it hard for equipment manufacturers to compete, differentiate, innovative and altogether survive. It’s not enough to ‘just be’ a hardware manufacturer anymore.
The ‘Nest Effect’ is a great example of individual companies that are disrupting industries with technology. For instance, keeping with the Nest example, today every thermostat manufacturer offers a connected version of their solution. The industry has reached a point where connectivity is no longer a differentiator, it’s a survival tactic. But the fact that an ‘outsider’ had to bring innovation to disrupt this market is a testament to the fact of how difficult it is for equipment manufacturers to innovate.
The ‘Nest Effect’ confirms that the industry is not suffering from a lack of technologies, rather it is experiencing an expertise gap. Having the capabilities to actually use these technologies. Because the 15 year old software company doesn’t have the domain expertise of the 75 year of manufacturing company, and the 75 year of manufacturing company doesn’t have the expertise to use the tools that the 15 year old software companies are using. They have access to the same technologies, they just don’t know how to shop for them or how to put them together. They need experts.
At the Innovative Manufacturer forum, I realized the manufacturing industry is ready for artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These industries are still missing the fundamental foundation of intelligence. They’re missing visibility, measurability… Their paths will eventually lead to intelligence where they use AI, but most industries are still struggling at the collection phase. They don’t need more tools, what they need are solutions that are available ‘out-of-the-box’.
Think about it in terms of Ikea vs. Home Depot. The way to address this market, the way Mnubo is addressing this market, is by being the Ikea for artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Where it doesn’t require IoT expertise to build, use and maintain the solution in house.
Global equipment manufacturers who have held dominant positions for decades are waking up to realize that their intellectual property (IP) is not enough to survive. For years they have been focused on building beautiful machines. Their sales process has been based around channels and distributors. They’ve been generating hardware revenues, sometimes a bit of spare parts, but that’s it. Now they are getting pressure from the c-suite to ‘become digital’.. to ‘transform themselves’. In response they develop mobile applications and roll out a line of connected products, but they are still struggling to understand how and who is leveraging the data. The IoT has so much to offer, but we frequently trivialize its impact to a mobile connected application.
Manufacturers need to connect their assets and develop mobile applications as a means to collect IoT data, but they need to use IoT analytics as a way to deliver intelligence across the value-chain:
When you put web, mobile, social and IoT beside each other I think we can all agree that the IoT is leading the fourth data revolution. But when you look at the amount of objects the IoT connects, the amount of data that it generates, the intelligence that is derived and the industries that can be built around it… it’s clear that the IoT is at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to be important tools to get intelligence out of IoT asset data, but the real transformation will happen when we start to build monetizable services on top of these assets. The winners will be the ones who maximize the intelligence created from these connected devices.
The cornerstone of the IoT will not be how many connections we have, but it will be how much intelligence we derive from these connections.
Once again, thank you the Chamber of Metropolitan Montréal and Investissement Quebec for the organisation of the Innovative Manufacturer forum. We hope to be present for the next one!
Find out how mnubo is tapping into the benefits of product data by transforming raw sensor data into actionable business insights. Read more here!
Thanks for reading! If you have any opinion, issue or simply wish to elaborate on the article, feel free to participate in on Twitter