Some years ago, we have been talking about the unstoppable and recurrent technology updating we are living that is transforming production sectors faster and faster. It is also years since we talk about Industry 4.0, a term coined at the beginning of this century, and which included the interconnectivity between systems and things based on technologies such as IoT.
Final users, consumers, providers, clients, and other parties that take part in the present complex ecosystem, naturally assume a relation and interaction with things more and more technical. Besides, it is supported by the fact that computer systems, production processes and any other final product can communicate between them in an automatic, native and natural way thanks to, among others, IoT.
Things can almost be any shape. Any asset is sensitive to be digitized. Because a product that is just physical, that has to be programmed, that must be run in person is a non-finished product that will end up in an old-fashioned product. In the mid-term, this aspect is critical for surviving in the market for most of the brands offering a product.
Big companies introduced connectivity and intelligence in their products to the market and there are already many SMEs that include little by little IoT technology. The question is not that all or most of the companies will end up digitizing their products but when they will do it. The latest will be punished.
Let’s start from the beginning…
What do IoT initials mean and what is a connected thing?
IoT is the initials of Internet of Things. IoT does not come to replace systems but to update them. When we say that a ‘thing is connected’ we refer to something connected to the internet which we can interact with remotely, sometimes directly as the 5G smartphone connection and sometimes indirectly through intermediate networks such as smart bands.
Nowadays, data is a fundamental argument for any business success. As Francis Bacon noted, information in power. To obtain information about an asset, it must have a digital life. Just a company that knows the behaviour of its product and the final user has a margin to improve.
Integra bets for IoT from a non-intrusive perspective that adds value without replacing the existing system or asset. The perfect example is the bet for digital twins development.
A Digital Twin is a virtual model of a physical asset that imitates the behaviour and functioning of its physical side. The model is usually on the cloud so it can be managed and controlled remotely from anywhere. More specifically, the sensors in the physical asset are used to gather operational and environmental data continuously. This data is dynamically transmitted to the cloud where it is improved with static data stored in other systems. Then, combined data is used as the entrance for a statistic model or as engineering in the cloud. It is analysed in real-time to produce information that will return to the physical asset to control the ongoing functioning.
How do we digitize a product?
The first step in any product digitization process is to understand what it is, how our client's main asset works and what it provides now, in order to identify how we can bring it more value by giving it a digital life.
- Gathering information: depending on the characteristics of the product to be digitized, the information will be gathered through specific sensors or through data ingestion systems that will be connected to the sources provided by the client itself. We need, therefore, to understand the language that the product speaks and, through telemetry using the different communication protocols, identify how we can communicate with that product.
- Data aggregation to the digital plane: through communication systems between the different data sources, all the elements are unified in a single scalable and flexible environment: CLOUD.
- Analytics and business value: it is necessary to apply intelligent and automatic information processing models with the capacity to generate replies in real-time to obtain the relevant data for the customer's business.
- Data visualization and notifications: actions identified by the management system have to be returned to the world through alerts, adjustment of variables, and others. In addition, it is very important to represent the information collected on the physical plane through the digital plane in an attractive and friendly way for the different types of users that will consume it.
What are the benefits of bringing our product to life digitally?
- Supervision and remote control: whether at maintenance, security, management or administration level, we need to know how the asset is behaving. We need to be able to react and interact remotely to block the door, alert security or turn off the motor whatever happens, for example, the opening of a door or the start-up of a motor.
- Predictive maintenance: by being able to have a history of data on the different variables that affect my asset, I will be able to take action before a certain event occurs, such as a breakdown, a loss of production, lack of stock...
- Administration and management of assets: it will allow us to remotely inventory my assets, locate them, etc.
- Increased efficiency: we do not leave everything to the luck of a third party to control the asset, but we can have control of it on our mobile device remotely and in real-time.
- Greater value for the client: in short, all of the above leads us to be able to provide our clients with greater value by having smart assets that are radically different in the market and that will bring them greater benefits.
If you want to know about some projects carried out for the digitization of products, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how we can help you transform your product and thus provide greater value to your customers. See you in the next post!