The Networked Economy. The Industrial Internet of Things. The Digital Economy. These are all becoming familiar terms as we seek to define our dynamic, high-velocity world where smart devices, smart assets, machines, and people are all interconnected.
In manufacturing, of course, this connectivity is nothing new. For several years, sensors have monitored machine performance and RFID tags have tracked the movement of product from the shop floor to the warehouse and beyond. What is new are the disruptive technologies – such as in-memory computing, cloud, mobile, and advanced analytics – that enable us to turn this connectivity into real business value and create exciting new opportunities.
In-memory computing is the main driving force behind this transformation. The key to success is the ability to connect your machines, equipment or other assets – where the bulk of the data is generated – to your business process software. By combining M2M data with transactional data in a single shared database, in-memory delivers unprecedented real-time insights that can form the basis of new business models, new ways of working, and new customer experiences.
Cloud – and private cloud in particular – is another powerful force in driving business change. Speed and agility are vital in today’s fast-moving industry, and cloud provides the flexible IT infrastructure that manufacturers need to rapidly deploy best-in-class software while keeping costs down. In combination with mobile and advanced analytics technologies, cloud is helping to put crucial information into the hands of everyone from the shop floor to the top floor and deliver huge advances in efficiency and productivity.
Imagine being able to continuously collect millions of measurements to build an accurate picture of a customer’s machine temperature, pressure levels, fuel consumption, or other performance indicators. Using predictive analytics, you can then identify usage patterns and schedule maintenance activities to minimize downtime. Mobile apps can help ensure that the right engineer with the right spare parts is on site at the right time. And simultaneously, all the connected back office processes – from work scheduling to parts inventories – are automatically updated in real time.
As you can see, together these technologies can be truly transformative for manufacturers as they strive to deliver the highly customized and configured products and services that customers demand.