The Internet of Services – Industry 4.0 as an Opportunity

01.12.2017: The Digitalization in industrial production calls for new business models, business relationships and complementary business processes. Building an intelligent value-added process is increasingly a top management issue and the question as to what additional services manufacturers should offer, in order to make the product more attractive in the market is undoubtedly becoming important.

WidasConcepts Thomas Widmann

For the Industry, the signs are clearly indicating change: companies such as PwC, Gartner or Ericsson regularly publish facts and figures about the rapid changes in companies, especially in industry. According to Gartner, the number of Connected Things globally will rise to 8.4 billion this year. Alone in sectors such as Industry 4.0, Smart Home and Smart City, where digitalization is fundamental, this means a 31 percent increase over the previous year. In the next three years, the number of Connected Things should crack the 20 billion mark. For 2022, the forcast is already close to just under 30 billion.

As the number of networked devices increases, the amount of data to be processed inevitably increases. As a result, technological developments such as the Internet of Things (IoT) are advancing to “game-changing” progress. The idea behind the IoT is based in principle on connected devices: Automatically, relevant information from the real world should be captured, linked with each other and made available in the network. The forecast that the global revenue generated with IoT will double from currently just under € 10 billion to € 23 billion in 2020 seems only logical in this context.

Smart Data – Smart Services

Using the example of the Smart Factory, the fundamental change of thought that comes with IOT and the associated processes are particularly clear: The Smart Factory not only combines highly automated production with intelligent products or production-relevant units that coordinate and control automatically. The smart factory also generates an extremely high volume of data resulting from every single processing sections. Data that is qualified to use – because valuable knowledge can be analyzed and obtained from the countless, disordered information: Smart Data. Companies generate knowledge and gather experiences about customer needs. The specific use of the products can also be derived from this. For digitized production, warehousing and logistics, the collected data has further potential. Delivery times can be shortened by targeted networking. Instead of identical products from mass production, there are personalized products. Networked products in turn create a direct line to the customer. They give companies the opportunity to create complementary offers that can be used by the customer according to their current needs. He buys not just a product, but a wealth of services: The customer loyalty increases.

Online retailer Amazon shows impressively how user integration and personalized communication are changing the relationship with customers: connected products are followed by personalized services that delight customers and change the market. Amazon Echo, Fire TV and Dash Buttons are just the beginning. The product itself loses its overriding status. Rather, it becomes the base around which services are developed. There is enormous financial potential in these services: the mere sale of products will generate less revenue in the medium term than the associated services. How much potential lies in Connected Devices and IoT, the big players have long since discovered. They are therefore consistently expanding their strategy: Amazon, for example, has started using its business portal to transfer proven structures from the B2C business to the B2B sector.

What must business entrepreneurs watch out for?

Anyone who wants to personally care for their customers and wants to retain them in the long term as the online retailer must clearly identify and authorize all users. This foundation must be implemented across all used devices. The associated assignments should also be secure.

Customer Identity Management systems, such as cidaas, can meet these requirements. Regardless of the company’s strategy, security should always be a top priority and must be meticulously implemented. To verify customers and detect fraudsters there is de-duplication: strong forecasting factors and Big Data analytics recognize the user with high security. And stops with built-in tools fraudulent attempts or suspicious activities. Additional security for services and users is provided by multi-factor authentication. It verifies the user identity via a second channel, for example, a one-time code transmitted via instant message or call, or – futuristic – by means of facial or speech recognition or fingerprinting. Passwords become superfluous and access becomes more ergonomic and secure. In the case of suspicious activity, the user himself or the provider may be alerted according to saved preferences. At the same time, it is possible to block logon attempts and IP addresses. When the solution is based on secure standards such as OAuth2, it usually meets the highest customer requirements.

The aforementioned challenge of increasing numbers of connected devices also can be met with such modern solutions: Each device used by the user is recognized and generates appropriate information in the system. Standards such as Social Login or Single Sign On should also be part of the product scope.

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