In the context of technology change across the industrial world, ecosystem players have bolstered their offerings through the integration of core technology building blocks that will represent the foundation for the “next generation factory” – these technologies include sensors for data collection, connectivity for data exchange, and platforms for data aggregation / analytics. The IIoT ecosystem has proliferated with participants, including incumbents and new entrants, who have added connected hardware, software, and services to their offerings.
In addition to the IIoT technology ecosystem / vendor landscape, manufacturer adoption initiatives can guide future technology development / deployment. Growth in sensor and connectivity adoption expands the scope of opportunity for vendors to offer incremental products and services that result in enhanced plant / factory operations. Data aggregation platforms and AI analytics software build value on top of connected hardware solutions through insights on operations and process improvements. In addition, this data collection can be repurposed to build “digital twins” of factory processes and drive system-level visibility and insights.
As factories progress across the Industry 4.0 journey, these technology enhancements can ultimately drive shifts in manufacturing processes and business models for both vendors and manufacturers. Equipment vendors can leverage their connected equipment to sell an “outcome-based” business model, which monetizes the utilization level of machinery as opposed to the product itself. In addition, intelligence at a machine- and system-level enables adaptive / flexible manufacturing whereby the factory offers a level of personalization for customers / end-users. These technology changes will ultimately enable enhanced business models and sales strategies.