Tim Taberner, Technical Sales Director Industrial IoT Europe at Advantech, explains how the company’s co-creation approach is simplifying the pathway to digitalisation, and removing significant amounts of time, cost, complexity and risk from the process .
The prospect of an Internet of things (IoT) project can appear daunting to many, dissuading potential adopters and testing the skills of conventional solution integrators. Recognising these issues, Advantech has set about addressing this situation by establishing an ecosystem of domain-focused partners, together creating solution-ready packages (SRPs) that run out of the box on the company’s edge devices and WISE-PaaS platform. WISE-PaaS facilitates access to vital functions such as connectivity, security, cloud and edge computing, ensuring there, at last, exists a fast and cost-effective route to digitalisation.
The co-creation approach is designed to not only deliver the technologies required to execute effective IoT projects, but also to provide access to the technical expertise essential for the development of fully working solutions; Advantech’s own paradigm experts and state-of-the-art product range cover all the technical aspects of the solution stack. Importantly, the use of open platforms means there is no tie-in with proprietary vendors, which is great for end-users, equipment builders and system integrators alike.
The advent of co-creation is extremely welcome and timely. According to a recent report by Capgemini, called ‘Smart Factories @ Scale’, which examines the adoption of IoT projects in the manufacturing sector, only 14% of organisations that have already begun smart factory initiatives regard them as successful. Also, some 60% say they are struggling to scale their operations.
These factors point to a missed opportunity, with the same report stating that although smart factories could add $1.5 to $2.2 trillion to the global economy by 2023, some two-thirds of this revenue has yet to be realised.
The success of IoT developments and successfully integrated projects hinges on the creation of partnerships, bringing together technology vendors, platform providers and vertical domain experts into a unified ecosystem. Across Advantech and its partners there exists a rich domain of expertise that promotes the understanding of specific use cases.
Co-creation is not only about uniting expertise, however. It is also about delivering functional IoT solutions using existing and available technologies, which can be directly applied to solve real business challenges; often with only a minimal amount of configuration, rather than programming, required. This process can be aided by Advantech and partner organisation experts to achieve rapid proof-of-concept installations. Customer project teams can subsequently scale up from proof-of-concept to deploy IoT technology confidently, cost-effectively and quickly across their whole organisation.
Among the principal points here is that Advantech differentiates itself in the market as an enabler of solutions, rather than simply a product supplier. Naturally, technologies are important, but the ability to create and deliver working IoT solutions using a structured network of expertise adds real value.
The effectiveness of the strategy is already proven, with current Advantech co-creation partners having already developed SRPs for applications that include factory energy management, remote CNC-machine control, smart parking, electric-vehicle charging management, solar power management, IoT security, intelligent water treatment, industrial intelligent condition monitoring, streetlight control, licence-plate recognition, AI-based retail prediction and hospital management.
A firm believer in taking its own medicine, Advantech’s Industry 4.0 upgrade solution can even be found functioning within its own facilities. For example, take the company’s service centre in Eindhoven, Netherlands, which is a showcase for the potential of industrial automation and systems. Warehouse management, real-time control and production systems are monitored via digital dashboards, based upon SRP toolkits, which gather and structure the resulting data, providing ongoing analysis and reporting of key performance indicators and trends. As such, it is possible to demonstrate how, in practice, tangible results can be obtained in terms of productivity and energy efficiency.
Through the creation of approved SRPs that are available to Advantech customers via the WISE-PaaS marketplace, domain-focused solution integrators can exploit the vast opportunities emerging in the IoT space, without investing the time and resources required to establish an ecosystem around their own areas of expertise.
Advantech is planning more co-creation partner events in 2020 as it seeks to further strengthen the WISE-PaaS platform by consolidating its international community of partners and bringing additional partners on-board.