- Reuse and instrument released designs
- Embed sensors into new designs
- Connect CAD models via digital twins to real-world data
- Use real-world sensor data in CAD design
- Integration with ThingWorx, the world’s leading industrial IoT platform
- Prepare for Product as a Service
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
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.
Connected products can share their data with their users, and likewise with the manufacturer, unlocking new service opportunities.
For example, I have the Nest thermostat in my house. I can adjust the temperature on my way home from work just but using a simple app control.
For a Minnesotan like me, this is pretty awesome when you experience winters like we have.
For example, just like a smart thermostat, manufacturers can automatically send updates to assets. Or if maintenance is required, technicians can often save time and money by remotely connecting to devices to ensure software and hardware are performing effectively. This can avoid unnecessary service calls.
Innovative Product Designs
Another great use case is how companies can change their product design strategies.
For example, IoT enables a new design strategy known as evergreen design. The premise is that when products are operating in the field, new software features can be built and delivered to a device to extend functionality and the usable life of a product. The Tesla car illustrates this concept well. Tesla actually used an evergreen design strategy to avoid a major recall.
A few years back, there were several instances in which the battery cell of the car actually rubbed against street curbs as the car turned corners, causing fires. Instead of sending all the Tesla cars back to the dealer, or a mechanic shop, the company sent a software update that automatically raised the clearance of the car chassis where the battery was located.
Tesla’s evergreen design saved the company money, as well as customer time, and money associated with a traditional recall.
Big Data Analytics
Another big game-changer in business is the value to be had from big data. Now that products can share information throughout their product development cycle and useful life, there is, in essence, a stream of data that we can collect, analyze, and use to inform all sorts of business decisions.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know when the average daily usage of your products or product segments is in decline or incline? It could drive new product innovation timelines, customer success strategies, and new revenue from cross-sell and up-sell.
Data Collection & Analysis of Consumer behavior
The practice of using big data is not new. For example, in the retail market, companies are using purchasing behavior data to inform their business decisions.
A great example comes from 2004 when Walmart conducted a big data study on customer purchasing behaviors prior to hurricanes.
What they found was surprising. A few days prior to the forecasted hurricane, people bought a significant amount of pop-tarts. In particular, strawberry pop-tarts. On the day of the hurricane, they bought more beer. Based on this data, Walmart adjusted their stock supply in anticipation of the new demand. This use case is unique in that data was originating from people’s shopping behaviors. What is different now is that we can collect and analyze data from products as well.
Take the case of smart sports equipment. A friend I play golf with had a sensor attachment that told her about her swing, ball placement, and field location. So, as we were playing throughout the day, she was pulling out her golf app, observing her golf swing, and adjusting performance based on that data. This is great for the user, and there are also added benefits for the manufacturing company!
For example, the tennis racket company Babolat has sensors attached to their play pure drive product, which collects data about a player’s swing, the speed of their ball, and impact location.
Product to service transformation
Babolat also provides a training service, where based on the player’s performance, Babolat will provide consulting, hitting tips, and other development programs. In this use case, big data is transforming a traditionally hardware-oriented company into a service company as well.
This brings me to my last example, which illustrates a radical change in how businesses perceive product value.
Namely, products are now carriers for potentially limitless services based on how you creatively leverage their smart and connected elements. This concept is not new.
For example, Rolls Royce licenses out their engines to airline customers, and they charge airlines for the millage of the planes as well as services associated with repair, and maintenance.
For example, there is a big software battle for ownership of the car segment. Google, Apple, Microsoft, and the original car makers are attempting to get a slice of the services associated with cars, such as navigation, entertainment, and safety systems. This new service focus is really interesting for product development and associated business operations.
Bottomline – products are carriers of tremendous value. Now that we have sensors, connectivity, big data, and analytics, customers and businesses can leverage this value, and create new opportunities.
IoT Intro Class
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.
Remember in 1977 when Ken Olson, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation said, “there is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home”? Boy was he wrong. Not even a leader in the technology industry could predict how quickly our usage of technology would change.
If you don’t make an effort to keep up with the fast pace of technology; you will fall behind. It’s critical that you proactively embrace and move towards digital processes to ensure that future products better meet the needs of customers.
What better way to keep up with the future than making highly accurate product performance and behavior predictions with the right design tools?
PTC developed a Creo extension called Creo Product Insight. It lets designers and engineers incorporate the latest sensor technology into their designs.
What is Creo Product Insight?
Creo Product Insight captures and analyzes product data from live sensors on prototypes and products directly within your CAD model. This tool produces a digital twin, an exact replica of a physical prototype in a virtual CAD model, to mirror the performance of a product under real-world conditions.
How does it work? You add digital sensors from a library directly into your CAD models in Creo. Then you connect them to the data streams from physical products. Whether you’re looking to get more value out of your prototypes, design smart connected products, or use data to improve the quality of existing products, the Creo Product Insight Extension allows you to design smarter.
So how are organizations keeping up with the digital transformation with the Creo Product Insight Extension?
Improving New Product Design
When you’re improving new product design you’re most likely basing your design decision on assumptions and historical data. This puts you in a difficult spot because you may not have up-to-date-information which may cause inaccurate solutions and error-prone results.
Creo Product Insight allows you to validate design assumptions using real-world data from the field directly in Creo’s simulation and analysis tools. Using this extension also decreases your reliance on building prototypes because it gives you live product performance and behavior.
Improving Existing and Next-Generation Product Designs
The absence of real-world product data stunts the optimization of current and future products. If you had access to real-world data, you would be able to validate design criteria against customer usage data and mitigate risk of product failure, warranty, repair, and liability.
With Creo Product Insight and ThingWorx you can analyze field data and provide meaningful information back to engineering. Using real-world data allows you to identify opportunities for new products in the market and understand over and under engineered designs to reduce product life cycle costs.
Improving Smart Connected Product Design
The lack of specialized tools that support smart connected products puts you at risk of falling behind the digital transformation process. When sensors and a strategy to capture real-live data are disconnected from your design process there is no way to deliver the value that your customers deserve out of their products.
Creo Product Insight gives you the ability to optimize sensor replacements, choose a sensor type, and validate data capture requirement during the design process. The extension creates an integrated design process that delivers optimal value from smart connected products.
Creo Product Insight Capabilities and Benefits
- Eliminate manual workflows to use real-world sensor data in design
- Optimize products to real-world conditions
- Ensure that future products better meet the needs of customers
- Creo analyses outside of the design office
- Decrease reliance on physical prototyping
Creo Product Insight Licensing and Creo Version Capabilities
The Creo Product Insight is an add-on extension that is available for subscription licensing only. You do not need ThingWorx to use this extension – although using ThingWorx with it will fully optimize your results.
“Physical” Sensors – Creo 4 (M020):
- Easily define and place ‘measure’ sensors by adding physical sensors to Creo Assemblies
- New Instrumented sub-type to protect reused/released design data
- Associated parameter and input definitions and associated calculations
- Define (physical) calculating sensors (M020) to report analysis results (center of gravity, mass, area, etc.)
UX Sensors – Creo 4 (M030 & M040):
- Connection to ThingWorx to support reporting analyses results (M040)
- Run Creo analysis using Behavioral Modeling, Simulation, and Mechanism Dynamics (M040)
- Read real-world data from ThingWorx (or CSV data file) and use input variables to run analyses and report results back to data tables
“Virtual” Sensors – Creo 4 (M050):
- Specialized Virtual sensor handling – (excluded from BOM, meshing, and graphics)
- Directly connect and read sensor data from file or ThingWorx
- Use real-world sensor data to drive simulations
- Creo as a Service from ThingWorx (M050)
- Save/Export analysis results together with input values back to data file
Get live data from CAD models
Smart connected operations are transforming companies and changing the way we do business.
Imagine if your company was able to take advantage of data that revealed existing and future problems, and allowed your team to make drastic improvements by completing predictive maintenance and service.
Business decisions can no longer be reactive. You need to be proactive — Here’s how smart connected operations could ‘revolutionize’ the way you do business.
Smart connected operations help businesses make faster decisions
What helps a company make fast, highly informed decisions? Data.
Smart connected operations allow information to be collected from multiple sources, assets, facilities, and even vendors. This connectivity allows data to be collected and analyzed to inform decision-making and enable teams to make faster decisions.
Smart connected operations help businesses increase operational performance
Smart connected operations can help your business monitor and track asset viability, ultimately allowing your company to reduce downtime, improve design, and improve utilization.
Data from connected assets, in collaboration with other enterprise systems, can provide not previously possible visibility and automation across organizations.
For example, product data flowing through a CRM system can also be sent to billing or into a supply chain management system— helping to eliminate error-prone manual steps and providing new sales opportunities for things such as consumable replenishment or warranty renewals. (PTC)
Smart connected operations help businesses decrease lead time and increase product quality
The insight smart connected operations provide will help you improve and perfect your production processes.
By integrating smart technologies and processes, your organization can lower development costs, time-to-market, and improve your overall product quality.
Smart connected operations help businesses improve manufacturing responsiveness
A sensorized manufacturing floor let’s you monitor performance, in real-time, and provide valuable information to field service technicians and manufacturing floor managers.
Service responsiveness will be accelerated with remote monitoring, access, and complete management of your disparate systems through enabling smart connected operations within manufacturing.
Smart connected operations help businesses improve supply chain coordination
The new capabilities of smart, connected operations will alter every activity in the supply chain.
Your operational efficiency will increase exponentially if your organization reaps the benefits of integrating with other data, such as inventory locations, traffic patterns, commodity prices, and historical data repositories.
Smart connected operations help businesses reduce manufacturing IT costs
Smart connected operations use digital interfaces that make it easier and less expensive to track the production process. These interfaces are less costly to apply and easier to modify than physical system controls. By integrating smart connected operations, your company will increase operation mobility, which in turn can reduce your manufacturing IT costs.
The sensors in smart connected operations also identify a need for service before the machine or product fails. These data analytics will drive previously unattainable efficiency improvements by providing predictive maintenance analytics and higher productivity levels.
With the help of predictive analytics, smart connected operations help organizations anticipate problems and take early action.
For example, your industrial machines would be remotely monitored and adjusted by end users during and beyond operation hours. They could even begin to manage themselves leveraging machine learning and predictive analytic engines.
The bottom line is that smart connected operations have begun to change business models, organizational structure, and manufacturing system architecture.
The development and the deployment of smart connected operations will be incremental, but the opportunity is here today.
What are you waiting for? It’s time to start capturing the time, dollars, production, and quality that smart connected operations can provide.