There’s a lot of talk (some claim real and some say hype) at the moment about IoT or Internet of Things, and it’s bringing various new challenges and opportunities to product development. The buzz about IoT and smart products is going to increase, particularly for those supporting a PLM or ERP environment for product development. With IoT fast becoming a reality with Products and transforming these products to ‘Smart’ and ‘Connected’ devices, organizations are being compelled to redefine the lifecycle of products and change the way products are designed, and maintained. In order to enable seamless information flow from product conception to its end, the PLM processes and technology need to change significantly.
Providing increasingly software-controlled products with sensors and connecting them via the internet has already reached breakthrough levels of acceptance. And with the Mechanical, Electrical, Electronic and Software systems becoming more intertwined in the process, IoT and PLM are bringing new opportunities for various stakeholders with the potential of transforming all existing Business Models. There are three main areas of benefit for manufacturers associated with the internet of things—the design, development, and manufacture of products; tracking and improving products throughout their lifecycle; and the management of the assets used in the process. Here’s how.
In Product design and testing – When supported by IoT, connected sensors on product components have the capacity to deliver detailed information about the performance of product and materials in real-life conditions. Manufacturers of aircraft, cars, train engines, and other transportation machinery place devices on engines, can easily determine their durability, performance, and other critical values.
In the tracking of products – It is getting more and more important to monitor product during their lifecycle. With IoT, manufacturers can easily track the performance of their products. This enables the manufacturers to identify potential issues in design, components, and materials, and understand much better how customers actually use their products.
In the Creation of better customer-centered products – To know how customers are using your products is getting more and more important. With the data received, IoT helps manufacturers to find and prevent customer breakdowns and performance problems, and revise the design of products and components to achieve more durable and higher-performing results.
There are lots of interesting opportunities how to leverage data produced by devices and products. To make all that data meaningful and actionable, manufacturers need to take advantage of the right business intelligence and include these findings into product design and engineering. Gartner estimates that IoT product and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue exceeding $300 billion by 2020, while IDC forecasts that the worldwide market for IoT solutions will grow from $1.9 trillion in 2013 to $7.1 trillion in 2020. It is therefore imperative that organizations ensure complete value delivery to customers, and think beyond organizational boundaries to make the best of opportunity of value creation. The time is certainly right to include the Internet of Things in your PLM roadmap.