By Christopher Arthmann, New Business Creation Lead, NEC’s Innovation Division
Have we really changed that much?
If you look at the basics, maybe not. We still eat, we still sleep, we still want to get from one place from another, we all want shelter and clothing; we want to be entertained, communicate with others, reduce risk in our lives and maintain health. At the most basic level our needs and wants really haven’t changed. So what has changed? Something has changed. Just look around. And, what does this mean to an innovator of IIoT products?
When we think of innovation, we think of radical change, disruptive change that has the power to shift industry and society. The internet has transformed how we communicate, do business, maintain social relationships, entertain and more. Moving from horse and buggy to the automobile transformed how we work, live and play. The television has transformed societal views, shaped consumer behavior and popular culture. Also, these disruptive technologies created new industries needed to sustain and grow the increasing demand as adoption shifts towards this “better way.” So, what’s going on here?
Well, the internet without a doubt provides a better way to communicate (sharing information is communicating...) and since business, and most human interaction, is driven by communication the internets impact on our world makes sense. When it comes to comparing the horse and buggy to the automobile, the automobile is clearly a better way of transportation. And, there is no doubt the television is a better way of entertainment for the gain if multi-sensory input if nothing else. So how can we benefit from this information?
What if, instead of trying to create new, disruptive solutions we can look at the world today, as it is, and ask ourselves – can we do it better?
IIoT – A Better Way
Technology aside, what value is derived from IIoT? A better way of communicating with and between physical devices that can sense, hear and see the world around them. Why is this important? Human beings interpret the world around us through sensory input (taste, touch, smell, hearing, seeing) and transfer that interpretation to other human beings through communication. Now that we are able to arm physical devices with advanced communication capabilities, including sensory input, a new set of opportunities present themselves. We now have the potential to capture human sensory input without the human and ultimately enhance the human senses.
Now that we know what we’re dealing with, where can we apply our understanding of IIoT value to do something better? Let’s look at some validation in the world to help steer us in the right direction.
IIoT Success Examples – “A Better Way”
Product maintenance. What if a product could tell us it was failing before it failed? Before IIoT, products had no way of telling us they were breaking down and needed to be replaced. A proactive approach to product maintenance where devices sense trouble and let us before this go from bad to worse is clearly a better way.
Health & Fitness monitoring. What if our heart could tell us it was beating too fast or not enough? The ability to baseline and track vital signs and activity over time is clearly a better way than seeing a doctor every couple of months to see if the actions you are taking are working.
Environmental Monitoring. Before IIoT, we had to go onsite, take samples of the environment and bring them back to a lab for testing. With IIoT, sensors have the ability to measure environmental changes in real time while providing that information over the internet to a scientist for analysis. Less time consuming, more accurate measurements, the ability to capture more data – a better way for sure.
What is “Better” Anyways?
If necessity if the mother of invention, a better way may be the father. From horse and buggy to automobile and autonomous automobile or radio to television, video on demand and mobile video, a better way wins.
While “better” is subjective, approaching IIoT from this viewpoint may help us stay grounded, focus on problems before technology and ensure IIoT products aren’t developed just because we can or think it makes sense. You could be the next person or company to advance what has been and will be important.
Read more by Christopher Arthmann in the recent IIC Journal of Innovation.
- How technologies have historically increased productivity: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Productivity_improving_technologies_(economic_history)
- ©Bud Light super bowl ad; copyrights solely owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV and its affiliates; source: YouTube<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4tqdGPnVPg>
- ©Change Impact Assessment: http://www.arborsys.com/Change-Impact-Assessment-Part-1.html
- ©2008 David Harkins; source: http://www.davidharkins.com/change-adoption-curve/
- The effects of logistics capabilities on firm performance: Customer-focused versus information-focused capabilities
- Zhao, Meng; Droge, Cornelia, The effects of logistics capabilities on firm performance: Customer-focused versus information-focused capabilities, Journal of Business Logistics; Hoboken22.2 (2001): 91-108.