The very definition of many industries is changing in no small part due to the of the Internet of Things (IoT) and its’ ability to disrupt and generate new business opportunities. Industry leaders across the board are starting to embrace IoT projects, use IoT devices, and build smart connected products using IoT platforms.

This article references real IoT case study stories and internet of things examples from John Deere and Nike to provide you with a better understanding of how the IoT is starting to shake up and disrupt industries.

 To paint you a picture of exactly how the IoT is creating business opportunities for organizations today, let’s start with a company you might already be familiar with – John Deere.

Before the rise of IoT

John Deere has been making tractors and agriculture equipment for over 175 years.

For many years, though, they made simple tractors that weren’t ‘smart’ or connected products, they were just mechanical.

Soon enough, over time, John Deere’s products started to become smart and connected– changing everything for the organization.

Creating smart products & connecting devices

John Deere began to equip their products with digital dashboards, engine control units, sensors to alert users if they are running out gas, if oil pressure is too high, if hydraulic pressure is too low, etc.

By doing so, John Deere began to realize the countless benefits that came along with connecting their agricultural equipment to the internet of things, which eventually would provide the ability to remotely monitor the equipment’s performance.

Now remember, at this point, John Deer was still a tractor company, but as the organization moved forward with their vision of smart connected products, they also created what is called a smart connected product system.

The evolution of a smart connected product system & Digital Transformation

At the heart of John Deer’s product system is what is called a combine harvester. Their combine harvester harvests grain from fields, separates the head or the ear from the stalk, and divides the hulls, cobs, and the husks from the kernels of grain.

Today these smart connected combines have the ability to smartly monitor how many kernels came from a single patch of land, and how many kernels came from another.

In fact, they even collect, store, and send data to the cloud for the following season – so the machine is able to perform what is called a smart planting scheme.

During the smart planting scheme, the tractor hooks up to a tiler, which is basically a plow. As the plow works the soil, the equipment frequently fertilizes it, particularly with nitrogen. The equipment then follows its smart planting scheme – if the yield was low, nitrogen application should be high in a particular spot. If the yield was high, nitrogen should decrease.

Next from the connected product system comes the tractor pulling the planter that puts kernels in the ground for next year’s crop. It’s doing the same thing.

With a wide variety of seeds, the planter makes smart decisions for specific spots as needed. The smart connected equipment even knows when to use different drought resistant seeds in particular dry patches of land.

Smart products and the internet of things

John Deere created their own unique smart connected product system with the equipment they manufacture.  By using smart connected devices, sensors, and building on top of an IoT platform, they slowly started to connect their entire product line.

This breakthrough in farming equipment enabled their products to work together and share data back and forth.

Farmers are now able to correlate their inputs and outputs, while reducing inputs and maximizing outputs. This means productivity and profits.

Taking it a step further, John Deere designed a smart farm system where, depending upon commodity prices, the equipment has the ability to plants different seeds.

Farms that irrigate now have the ability to place sensors in the soil to that read moisture levels. Using this knowledge, the smart equipment is able to determine whether it should apply more or less water to particular locations.

Agricultural equipment can now even assess upcoming weather forecasts and determine if irrigation is critical.

New business opportunities with IoT

John Deere went from selling tractors to selling sophisticated information systems that can run smart farms.

With the technological advancements around today, a company like John Deere now has to determine the actual business they are in.

IoT presents new industry opportunity

Somewhere along the way, while developing smart connected products, John Deere became a software company and a systems integrator.

The internet of things presented John Deere with an opportunity to compete within an entirely new industry. 

In fact, some say with this the new industry opportunity, John Deere even has the ability to compete with other well-known IT system integrators – such as Accenture.

The internet of things and smart connected products present a very interesting phenomenon, that’s happening right now.

Homes are beginning to transition to smart homes. Automobiles are starting to become smart. It’s happening everywhere you turn, even if in some cases it might be very subtly, or slow.

Products are evolving

Nike is another great example of how the IoT has started to accelerate and transform organizations.

Historically, Nike has made shoes, clothes and sunglasses – but today, their product line is now much more than that.

For Nike, it’s no longer just about clothes and shoes anymore. Their products have evolved from fitness equipment to fitness monitoring systems – driving personal health and wellness goals.

They too, started connecting their products by adding sensors into their shoes, clothes, and Fuel Bands.  This has enabled their smart connected products to help people maintain physical fitness and health.

Businesses possibilities of IoT

With the real-world examples from John Deere and Nike, it’s easy see how businesses are starting to expand their industry boundaries with the internet of things.

The world is changing, smart connected products are continually evolving. What is your organization doing to stay ahead?

Explore the business possibilities of IoT for your organization

Organizations today are adopting valuable IoT solutions to lower operating costs, increase productivity, and develop new products.

The Internet of Things can offer your organization an opportunity to be more efficient whether its connecting devices with automated systems that gather information, analyzing IoT data, creating an action to learn from a process, achieving the pinnacle – remote control, support and maintenance.

We want to help you achieve your IoT objectives

Not sure what the advantages of IoT are for your organization? We would love to help you define and push your boundaries!

Our technology specialists are experts at devising what IoT solutions, devices, projects, and business models are best suited for your organization. Let’s have a conversation.

The internet of things (IoT) is a business and technology revolution. It not only enables the connection and communication with ‘things’ but allows us to manage them.

It allows our organizations to do preventative and predictive maintenance on ‘things’, do guided service on ‘things’, and create digital twins of ‘things’. It enables us to improve operational efficiency, significantly reduce downtime, and to develop new revenue streams.

What makes up the ‘Internet’ in IoT?

The internet is composed of two separate communities; the internet of people and the internet of things or IoT.

The Internet of People

First, let’s break down what we mean by ‘the internet of people.’

The internet of people has grown organically over the past 20 years and has evolved into becoming an interconnected network of billions of people. That’s right, billions. Its primary purpose is to connect people, collate information, and enable people-to-people interaction.

The internet of people allows people to connect by becoming a clearinghouse of information. People post information available to other people, generating a great deal of information that is being pumped into the cloud.

The Internet of Things – IoT

The internet of things has been growing organically for the past 10 years and has the potential to become much larger than the internet of people. Its primary purpose is to connect machines, people, and data.

The IoT also enables people-to-machine and machine-to-machine interactions. In the Internet of Things, things are pumping data into the cloud so products can be monitored, controlled, optimized, and automated. During this process, information and data are streaming into the cloud from both people and things.

Combining the internet of people and things

This leads us to the internet. As mentioned earlier, the internet is the combination of internets of people and things into one integrated network. (Of course, they never were really separate, but it helps to think of them that way to facilitate the study of IoT).

Why are businesses investing in IoT?

The market for IoT is huge! Today there are over 20 billion connected devices, and that number is growing at an incredible pace. With connected devices comes a tremendous upside opportunity for IoT investments.

Through 2020, estimates are as high as 1.6 Trillion dollars! In fact, McKinsy has determined that the economic impact of IoT will top 11 Trillion dollars by 2025! The reason companies are starting to make such big investments in IoT is because so much value can be created.

How the Internet of Things is impacting product value

The internet of things isn’t about the internet – it’s all about the things. The things are what’s changing. The trend of smart connected things is really accelerating now that there’s a computer of sorts inside just about everything! 

Today, according to the US government Census Bureau, there are about seven billion people on the planet Earth. About one-third of these people are connected to the internet with smartphones, tablets, and computers- yet in 2010 we hit an important milestone where there were more things connected to the internet than there were people on Earth This suggests these connected ‘things’ aren’t just smartphones, tablets, and computers anymore – they are fitness bands, thermostats, vehicles and more! This is where real innovation is happening.

Today, almost everything we have around us is capable of connecting. I’m talking about buildings, appliances, machinery, farms, hospitals, cities – all kinds of things. Now there’s a massive investment that is feeding this rapid expansion of the smart connected products – the internet of things solutions market. The IoT solutions market includes the smart connected things, the connectivity services, the software platforms and applications, the security, the analytics, and really everything related to smart connected products.

IoT Development Workshop

At EAC, we want to make sure you don’t miss out on any revolution with respect to potential capabilities that you can add to your products- while we also realize the importance of basing your IoT initiatives around your mission statement. That’s why we created what we call our IoT Development Workshop.

We have made it our mission to help guide organizations like yours to explore and embrace the uncertainty of the emerging IoT market.

System integration is much easier than you might think; here’s why.

The idea of linking business systems and consolidating data, also known as system and data integration, has become a major initiative for many companies – but most organizations have no idea where to start. Why? It’s an overwhelming topic! Organizations operate using any number of complex business systems. The idea of connecting everything seems hard. 

We live in world that is continually being transformed by data, yet much of the data we capture is held captive in disconnected enterprise systems that often include ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, and QMS systems to name a few. This article explains why it is much easier to successfully integrate data and systems than you think.

What is system integration and how does it work?

System integration involves linking together component subsystems ensuring those separate, specialized business systems function as a coordinated whole. You might think of system integration a way to aggregate business subsystems so all systems within a business environment cooperate together as one.

The importance of system integration

When all enterprise systems work together as one, an organization is able to obtain new levels of role-based productivity and company-wide collaboration.

By combining disparate systems that operate with their own distinct data sets, an organization can improve product quality and performance, reduce operational costs, improve response times, and increase overall value to customers. We’ve watched our customers recognize exponential returns as more systems and users come together. It’s much easier to combine and integrate systems and data than you might think and let’s talk about why.

System integration solutions exist!

The problem with integrating systems/data is not a lack of technology – great system integration solutions exist! In fact, there are numerous connectivity tools and software applications available on the market today, that can simplify and speed up system integration. Many of these connectivity tools work in real-time, between data warehouses, software applications, IoT platforms and more!

Connectivity tools, such as applications and system plugins, enable organizations to easily create an environment of integrated data and information. These environments help manage the business itself and automate many tedious back-office functions related to technology, services, and human resources.

Take product lifecycle management applications (PLM apps) for example.

PLM applications connect all system data (from systems such as ERP, CRM, PLM, PDM, ALM, QMS, & more) and easily transform that data into a single interface with instant visualization. This allows someone from purchasing to instantly access materials, inventory and any other information they might need – without disrupting certain system operators. Furthermore, chances are that a partner from one of your current enterprise systems already is or has a system integration expert that can help you integrate your enterprise systems. (but in the case that you don’t, our company EAC Product Development solutions is capable and happy to help – it is one of many areas that we specialize)

Systems Integration tools are easy to implement

Today many enterprise system platforms can multiplex the reach of information and functionality that you already have on your business and make it reachable.

The steady shift of business systems into web-based connected architectures has made it easier than ever to connect enterprise systems! As a matter of fact, enterprise systems that you’re already using are likely to already have built-in application program interface (API) capabilities.

These built in API capabilities allow applications to talk to each other, while specifying how software components should interact. It boils down to this; get the right software to leverage your system’s API capabilities and you’re on your way to integrate business systems.

System data integration platforms can be affordable

Not only are there many integration applications and tools available on market today, but many of these connectivity solutions are becoming more and more affordable.

One of the greatest benefits of system integration solutions is that they oftentimes cost only a fraction of what it would cost to implement an entirely new enterprise system to do something! And the benefits quickly outweigh the costs when your productivity levels spike!

Integration applications are easy to use:

It’s now easier and less risky than ever to use data integration tools. In fact, many integration applications are designed with the user in mind.

Today many system data integration applications incorporate extremely easy-to-use, ready out-of-the-box features and capabilities! A great example is a tool like ThingWorx, PTC Navigate, or EAC Productivity Apps. These tools are designed to quickly provide integrated access to timely relevant information.

So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to make the most out of your enterprise system data by integrating your systems.

Need help getting started? That’s what EAC Product Development Solutions is here for. It’s our job to make your system integration smooth, easy, and effortless. Let’s talk about the next steps. We would love to help you find a system integration solution that fits your organizational needs. Fill out the form to have someone from EAC contact you about integrating all of your systems, once and for all!

Communicating product data across an organization is complex. Let’s talk about how to make it easier.

Different departments gather product data from a variety of systems including Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Systems, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, Manufacturing Execution systems (MES), and Quality Management Systems (QMS) and more, how do we know our organizations are making the most out of all this information?

Just think about it for a second. Our systems speak different languages, AND our departments often aim for different goals. 

With an estimated 90% of the world’s data created in the last two years alone (Conner, n.d.), it’s no wonder that companies are having a hard time using it all.  The IDC estimates that just 0.5% of the data companies produce is ever used. It’s time to change that.

Here are 9 Ways Your Business Will Benefit From Connecting Your Data systems.

1. Increased Usability 

Data experts believe that if Fortune 1,000 companies increased the amount of data they used by just 10%, they could realize over $65 million in additional net income (Marr, 2015). Not only are these numbers huge, they also help make my case about the critical importance of data usability.

The truth is – any one specialized system is often too complex for many non-specialized roles to navigate, find, and transfer the right information. This often leaves separate departments accountable for storing and sharing uncontrolled, out of date versions of product data. It’s not because they don’t WANT to use the right information. It’s because system complexity and interdepartmental gates make it hard to consistently get the right information. 

So how do we make product data more usable?

A) Consolidating product data from disparate sources into one single system.
B) Give users a way to access the system using simplified role-specific dashboards.

2. Better Data Access

The most important reason your product data shouldn’t (internally anyway) be kept secret is because product data is your company’s most valuable asset.

Not everyone who needs access to specific product information hosted in your PLM system is from your engineering department, so don’t force them to go through the same vigorous Product Lifecycle system training. Don’t make them navigate an engineer’s world one click at a time.

In order to effectively use data, our departments must have ready access to it. We must make rich product information easy to accessible for a broad set of roles.

By creating an organized system that connects all of our product data, your organization will make information easily accessible to users beyond those who have created it.

Just think of the possibilities that come from connecting multiple systems and delivering information to all departments through a single window.

3. Complete Data

Imagine an entire enterprise with access to real data, at the right time, when it’s needed.

By connecting your product lifecycle management systems with your other enterprise systems, every stakeholder within your organization can impact the value flow of product data through your organization. It also equips team members to consistently drive critical decisions with the latest, most accurate information.

4. Better Insights

Better access to data = Better insights. 

Your business teams can and should demand a lot of your PLM processes and solution.

This is one of the reasons why your organization should consider integration technologies and custom front-end solutions – Such as PLM applications. 

A data-driven enterprise with insights into how current products and processes can be optimized can drastically improve productivity. Doing this requires teams to have access to up-to-date, accurate product data.

5. Better Decisions

Ready access to information is especially important to any company developing products.  

Users without access to the system of record resort to error-prone workarounds that can result in inaccuracies, quality problems, and waste.

Decisions made from out- of- date inaccurate data threaten product quality and delay time to market.

Providing everyone in your organization with broad visibility into the system of record will drive better, more accurate decisions. This will ultimately improve quality, reduce waste, scrap, rework, and help you meet your time to market goals.

The analytical possibilities that come with connecting your data will help users across your organization make accurate product decisions throughout the entire development process.

6. Better Products

Who doesn’t want to create better products faster?

Providing your organization with universal data access will allow your company to drastically accelerate product development.

How so?

By connecting disparate systems, you will have access to real-time data allowing you to make better product decisions.

Because your decisions and actions are now driven by up-to-date information, you will achieve a higher product quality.

7. Increased Productivity

Why waste time manually reading, entering and analyzing data? It could be automatically collected, filtered, and combined.

By collecting your product data in one system and providing a simplified role-based interface, any user within your organization can access contextual, up-to-date, real-time product information anytime they need. 

I guarantee your productivity will grow when your organization is able to plan earlier with manufacturing, order materials sooner with purchasing all while your engineering team is spending less time pulling reports.

8. Increased collaboration

Using a system that provides role-based data access to stakeholders throughout your organization provides every role with an ability to quickly understand the status of a part number and how the parts fit together in a design.

This will not only help mobilize and inform the work of teams throughout the organization, but it will also help maximize the success of your product development.

Giving your team the ability to extend and connect your PLM data into the rest of your enterprise will rapidly increase the overall effectiveness of your organization.

9.  Real Results

The ultimate benefit your organization will achieve by connecting your data systems stems from your ability to acquire real results. 

What does that mean?

Positive results have a tendency to snowball into more and more success. Results give your organization the confidence it needs to quickly deliver value. Providing access to the right information empowers a team, department, company to reach their true potential.

We want to help your company thrive. Our EAC Productivity Apps give your organization a way to connect disparate enterprise systems and easily deliver role-based dashboards to increase user confidence and productivity.

 

Our world is rapidly becoming a place where big data reigns supreme. Just like a king!

Product lifecycle management is an all-encompassing technology solution for integrating and managing all types of data inherent in the design, development, production, support, maintenance and final disposal of manufactured goods and product offerings.

The ultimate goal of product lifecycle management is to accelerate the entire cycle of product development and improve business efficiency and profitability. In its most basic sense, PLM software is a collaboration tool that facilitates organizations to manage their product information across a wide spectrum of internal and external business processes and functions.

PLM is an integrated system that facilitates the collection, sharing and management of crucial data – a broad-based approach that governs the development of a product right from the idea conception to the ultimate disposal.

One System for Everything: Product Lifecycle Management

The product lifecycle management is a business process management tool that serves as a repository for every teeny little bit of information that might affect a product offering. It is essentially the first place where all product information comes together from different stages of production – be it supply chain, production, procurement or marketing. By consolidating diverse systems in an organization, PLM helps create a coherent data structure to develop, manufacture and retire products.

One of the most compelling benefits of the product lifecycle management approach is to empower businesses to make smart, timely and information-driven decisions at each stage in the overall product lifecycle. Of course, your product development process is unique to your company and a one-fits-all PLM approach might not work for you.

However, like most businesses, your company also depends on the quality of data that is available to make critical decisions on a day-to-day basis. PLM offers a unified, collective intelligence that helps improve the strategic decision-making process, define processes and workflows, eliminate process bottlenecks and accelerate the overall product development process.

Get the benefits that PLM has promised for years

The cradle-to-grave approach of product lifecycle management offers many benefits for companies seeking more efficient, profitable product development, and management solutions.

In the present scenario, PLM has emerged as a single vital source for managing the different aspects of product management throughout the production, development and retirement processes.

It is no secret that faster product development and shorter lead times to market have become the key to marketplace competitiveness and success. With PLM solutions, the product can be developed and finished faster. As a powerful enabling technology platform, PLM applications help integrate people, processes, business systems, and of course data to streamline the product information spinal column for your company.

The innovative technology of PLM enables your business to reduce production and material costs through prototyping, waste reduction and savings through the full integration of engineering processes and workflows. This naturally leads to enhance production efficiency and increased productivity. The robust data analytics tools, such as visual analytics of a PLM application simplify the overall processes, workflows, communications and information flows throughout the production cycle.

It leverages the full potential of integrated business systems and functions across the company, from supply chain to production and from compliance to financial divisions. Product life cycle management solutions ensure more transparency in policy disclosure and the organizational decision-making process.

Acting as a line of a message between owners, managers, suppliers, employees and customers, PLM aids open communication and conversation amongst the various stakeholders. This helps you identify and understand what works and what does not work for your company.

What to look for when purchasing PLM software

When people purchase PLM systems, they essentially invest in technology which provides a wealth of ease and convenience given that the systems are extremely complicated. This is a core reason users often find it difficult to navigate these systems, let alone make full use of all the features it offers them.

When selecting a particular PLM solution for your business, it is important to ensure that it is easy to use, navigate and apply in the various stages of the production cycle.

Another feature to consider is the ability of the PLM software to integrate with and complement readily with the systems and processes already in place at your organization.

The PLM application that you procure from a vendor must come with certain features such as BOM (Bill of Materials) management, reporting and analytics, quality management, change management and product data management.

While these elements help in the overall coordination, tracking, control and management of the various workflows involved in the production, the best PLM software should also offer functionally enabling deeper supplier collaboration, flexibility and accessibility, speed of implementation, environmental compliance and support for existing organizational systems.

PLM Applications for any PLM system

So what are we suggesting? Our solution to an easier way for everyone in your organization (not expert PLM users) to use Windchill and find product data is our EAC Productivity Apps. You can learn more about our EAC Apps on our website.

Learn more about productivity apps

EAC Product Development Solutions introduces the powerful EAC productivity applications that make it easier for you to view, understand and manage product data.

With one single, simple and powerful interface, you can make better, faster and more effective decisions at your company. Our PLM system applications are compatible with product lifecycle management systems, thereby offering an integrated technology platform for multiple enterprise systems including ALM, MRP, ERP, SLM, CRM, Accounting, and PLM (Windchill). The cookie-cutter PLM solutions by most vendors tend to be overly complicated which inhibit your ability to consolidate task workflows and streamline production processes within your organization.

Our PLM apps work as a connectivity tool, to transform the entire PLM experience. They facilitate user experiences by allowing them to perform functions without prior training, making the PLM interface easy to work with. EAC Productivity Applications provide an added advantage of connecting with a PLM system and altering the user interface, making PLM easy to understand. They have the capability to pool data from many enterprise systems and put it on one screen.

Our goal is to give power to the manufacturers.

We have successfully eliminated the common PLM system bottlenecks and complications by coming up with our own PLM solutions that reduce the bare bones you might experience in run-of-the-mill PLM software and applications available in the market. Our PLM applications were developed to offer you a perfect user experience by improving accessibility to critical data.

With our top of the line PLM apps, everyone can use the system with relative ease and businesses can fully tap into the large PLM investment they were initially promised.

EAC Productivity Apps | EAC Product Development Solutions

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