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.

The future of digital transformation is happening now, and it is driving the future of all industries. This article highlights just about everything you need to know about the impacts and trends involving digital transformation.

No matter where your company resides on its digital journey – or even if you have yet to start with digital transformation, this article is just for you.

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation refers to the concept of applying innovative uses of digital technology to solve traditional business problems.

For example, in a narrower sense digital transformation might refer to a simple concept such as ‘going paperless’. Yet, on a larger scale, it might refer to ‘achieving digital business maturity’.

Digital solutions not only enable organizations to achieve new levels of efficiency through automation, but they also open doors for creativity and innovation (rather than simply enhancing and supporting traditional methods).

Although applying the use of digital technology to solve traditional problems can offer numerous business advantages, many organizations have yet to begin the journey with digital transformation.

Digital Innovation: Where to Start?

With numerous applications, methods, and strategies, it can be difficult to know where to even start with digital transformation!

If this is the case with your organization, – don’t worry, you’re not alone.

According to a research study performed by Accenture and the World Economic Forum, 80% of executives stated they were completely convinced ‘digital’ advancements would fundamentally change and transform their industry within the next 5 years!

That’s right. Eighty percent! … And they’re not wrong at all!

In fact, digital technology has not only already begun to transform industries, but it has also started to transform the way the world experiences products. Despite the ability to recognize the effects that digital processes will bring, only 17% of the studied executives stated they had a strategy in place to address the challenge of digital transformation.

This left a shocking 87% to admit they had no current digital strategy in place whatsoever! This is exactly why, if you have not yet started your digital transformation journey, it’s important to realize A) It’s not too late and B) You are not alone. There is no better time to start than now!

Organizations are realizing the significant impacts that the digital transformation era brings and how it’s going to drastically change just about everything when it comes to the way we do business.

The Impact of Digital Transformation

The process of digital transformation is creating entirely new ways of doing business. It has begun to create new experiences for customers while adding entirely redefined value propositions for mature product segments.

This era of digital transformation has started to impact and define what products are and what they mean to businesses and consumers.

Product perceptions are changing

Digital trends have also started to influence purchase decisions and sales processes. As the digital world has advanced, the average consumer is making purchase decisions with a Product as a Service (PaaS) mindset.

This means the rise of digital transformation has driven consumers to be sold by the outcome of the product – the recurring value. Manufacturers can address this shift in the market demand archetype by embracing three technology categories – Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, and mobile.

The future and advancement of technology is happening now

Established power plays and industry lines are beginning to blur. You cannot wait until some time in the near future to start your digital journey.

If your organization is going to succeed going forward, you won’t want to be left behind in this new industrial revolution, or you will fail.

Whether or not you’ve noticed if your industry has been affected yet, the key message is the effect of these disruptive technologies doesn’t discriminate one sector or industry. Every industry will see a major impact due to these digital technology advancements… And it is happening right now.

‘Business as usual’ is no longer an option. Organizations must adapt in order to survive.

The future of Digital Transformation: Smart, Connected Products

Digital transformation is reinventing products. Products from cars, to jet engines, to pumps, to heavy equipment, to medication, and more!

Machines, assets, and devices are starting to communicate, learn, and react to newly accessible context as they exchange and leverage data from sensors.

We are talking about the area of ‘living products’ – meaning transformative products that are responsive, collaborative, reactive, and responsible. Whether products are B2B or B2C, there will be a totally different process in the way we think about how our customers are using our products in the near future.

The future is now. Don’t let the opportunity slip away.

The first step in your digital transformation journey should be a strategic one. Understand where you are, where you want to be according to your current framework or understanding, and where you’d like to be as you embrace future technology and evolve with changing markets and new opportunities.

EAC Product Development Solutions would like to help you begin your transformation. We provide the people, technology, and services to make any transformation successful. The first step should be a Product Development System Assessment (PDSA). This will help you understand the opportunity that lies in front of you. Request more information on the PDSA today and start taking your digital transformation seriously.

Product Development System Assessment | EAC Product Development Solutions

Our Product Development System Assessment will help you start your digital transformation journey

Modernized service strategies combine enterprise IT, ‘smart’ technology, and information.

Manufactures are expected to be more demand oriented, data driven, and technologically focused. This means focusing on the customer, using the data collected from many different areas, and digitally executing strategies using platform technologies.

Many companies today are focusing on the current stage of achieving field service excellence. This tends to be an easier, stand-alone area to focus on as it incorporates vast amounts of technology available to help and support them.

The next stage deals with moving towards connected service platforms which oftentimes involve an integration of smart, connected products. This is when companies will start to deal with how to capture data, leverage the insights, and turn it into actionable results for various stakeholders throughout the organization.

The last stage deals with achieving servitization optimization. Servitization is an important concept because it holds the potential to transform how products are delivered and monetized. This is really the movement towards product service systems and products-in-use value.

Ultimately, providing access to product and parts information is a crucial step in on the path to successful profitable growth.

Technology is fueling service transformation for many organizations.

For instance, here’s how ‘service’ has begun to transform with the help of new technologies:

  • Cloud technologies have enabled greater access to service parts visibility and information.
  • Mobile technology has put information in the hands of service technicians, at the right time.
  • Big data analytics now capture asset and product information, enabling enhanced service quality with better first-time fix rates.
  • And social technology has allowed engineers, service, and customer support to collaborate.

These cloud, mobile, social, and big data analytics technologies have enabled manufacturers to transition from systems to service, from information to innovation.

Our team is prepared to help you achieve field service excellence. Our Product Development Information Services team is experienced in the architecture, implementation and support of a technology portfolio making service excellence a reality for many of our customers.

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about IoT (the Internet of Things).

‘Start improving the way you do business’, ‘connect with technology’, ‘responsive solutions’, ‘amazing results’.

It’s safe to say that the internet of things along with smart connected enterprises have easily become technology’s theme of the year.

Businesses everywhere have started to look at how they can make more money by inserting this “IoT” thing into their business processes.

The truth behind your success and IoT:

No matter where your journey begins with IoT, it’s essential to recognize good business models rely on technological processes, but technology on its own is not enough.

When it comes to IoT and connected business model innovations, if you don’t have a solid business case, you’re not going to have success.

A connected strategy is about business and business transformation. It’s not just about the technology, it’s about using technology as an enabler.

It’s important to realize there is no value in your IoT platform alone. The real value for you, the success of your business case, lies within your application.

The future is smart and connected. 

Whether you choose to build connected solutions into existing products, enter new markets, change your business model, or connect your manufacturing floor; you need to be ready.

Transforming the way you connect with your products, organization, and customers all starts with smart connected design and the right Internet of Things (IoT) platform. The right platform allows you to connect and scale your business.

This is exactly what our company specializes in, in fact we have even created a dedicated connect services team to design and implement custom connected strategies for any organization.

Being able to monitor a product from design into manufacturing, throughout its complete lifecycle makes it possible to improve product quality, increase production, reduce costs, and even predict failures. 

Building a smart connected strategy that works for you:

Integrating company initiatives with the Internet of Things needs a strategy, this is what we are here for.

Our connect services team works with your organization to deliver workshops, prescribe technology solutions, and create an IoT strategy that coincides with your company initiatives.

We want to help you define a strategy that makes a connection between your products and operations that already exist within your company and the smart, connected world that we live in today.

We transform the way companies design, manufacture, connect to, and service their products.

To fully grasp how we assist and serve our customers, you need to understand our core organizational beliefs:

  • We believe the product development process is broken.
  • We believe that there is a better way to achieve business initiatives through product development processes and it all starts with learning.

This is exactly why we created the EAC Value Model. We’re a learn first organization. We focus on taking the LAMDA approach.

What is LAMDA?

The LAMDA is a basic learning cycle of lean product and process development. It literally stands for “look, ask, model, discuss, and act.” Ideologically it is a way to learn and optimize within a closed-loop learning cycle that continually looks to improve a situation by defining and improving root-cause issues.

Our LAMDA based EAC Value Model works as follows.

The first phase of the EAC Value Model: Learn

During the learn phase, our specialists take a first-hand approach with your business. This is when we learn about your business initiatives, ask open-ended questions, and gather information so we can truly understand the key drivers of your business’ success, any the root-cause of any potential areas of improvement.

Throughout this phase we take time to learn about your people, your team, your processes, your technology, and the ways of your organization.

We take an in-depth look at your business from front-office to back-office to determine the how your company can extract the most value from its interaction with EAC.

This leads us to the second phase of the EAC Value Model – The Mutually Agreed Upon Plan or M.A.P.  

The second phase of the EAC Value Model: The M.A.P.

Using the knowledge acquired from our learning exercise, our team creates a unique customized M.A.P for your organization. Your M.A.P. is a Mutually Agreed Upon Plan that incorporates a multiple step strategy, with actionable steps and business cases for your organization.

This phase provides an understanding of what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve your desired results.

Throughout this process we evaluate solutions that may address your organizational needs. Wither they may be through engineering services, educational training services, product development consultations, system implementation services, software solutions; we configure a plan to fit your specific needs.

The creation of the M.A.P. provides a clear path to value for your organization. It holds everyone accountable for the actions needed to solve business problems and tackle initiatives.

Once we have created your mutually agreed upon plan, the implementation phase begins.

The third phase of the EAC Value Model: Implementation

During the implementation phase we put the M.A.P. into action. This is where our teams move your solution from the developmental stage into production.

You could also refer to this stage as ‘deployment’, ‘go live’, ‘roll-out, or even ‘installation’.

The tasks performed during this phase might include installing or implementing CAD, Windchill, Industrial Automation, IoT or any number of other systems. Perhaps your M.A.P. incorporated training programs for your current teams or additional services for product information. No matter what your plan includes, our team works with you to provide any service, system, or additional skill necessary to achieve your desired results. 

Throughout this phase our focus remains on helping your organization become a smart, connected enterprise.

The fourth phase of the EAC Value Model: The Score Card

This is the phase that sets EAC apart. Once we have implemented your solution(s), we never lose focus on gathering feedback on how we did, how a solution is working, or whether the desired outcome or return on investment is being realized…

Remember, our overall goal is to build a long-term relationship with your organization. We feel the best way to do this is by making sure you achieve the success your company needs.

Our business is built around the way your company designs, manufactures, services and connects your products and we recognize, its’ happy customers like you who keep us in business!

With the help of our EAC Score card, we obtain your feedback on how we can continue to help your organization grow. 

Our dream for your organization is to create a smart connected enterprise where you have the ability to connect to your products, your shop floor, and know your predictive downtime before it even happens. We make it our priority to help your organization achieve more than you had had imagined. 

What if a bartender knew exactly when one of their kegs was about to tap out just by looking at a volume meter on an app on their phones? Their bar back could switch out the keg before impatient patrons demand more. What if liquor shelves had weight sensors that measured when someone adds or removes liquor? Or an app on a phone existed that notified management when and what liquor is moved? Or better yet, a storage system that communicates with the front bar, knows which liquor is being moved, and manages inventory according to actual usage? Inventory would be a lot more accurate and there would be less time spent trying to figure out what needs to be in the next order.

When smart connectivity allows for a smoother restaurant or brewery experience, you’re most likely going to have a better time without realizing it had anything to do with the Internet of Things (IoT). For businesses, IoT solutions are creating more opportunities to connect products with the Internet. And for the average consumer, IoT solutions are creating easier access and control of products through smartphones, tablets, and desktops.

Four Ingredients of Beer

Leaders are investing in an IoT strategy as they plan the future success of their products and services. You can add smart connectivity to your products – even if you’re in the beer industry.

Here are a few industry leaders that leverage the Internet of Things to drive their success.

Deschutes Brewery

Headquartered in Bend, Oregon, Deschutes Brewery has been making craft beer since 1988. You may be familiar with their rich porter Black Butte created with hints of chocolate and coffee or their Fresh Squeezed IPA brimming with grapefruit enriched hops.

The Deschutes team partnered up with a consultant group and Microsoft last year in efforts to improve their brewing process. With a total of nine brewing phases, each phase has to be closely watched to maintain the quality of their beer. Machine learning is the application of artificial intelligence that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being programmed. Deschutes has implemented machine learning and predictive analysis to automate and improve their fermentation processes. When pairing IoT sensors with the Cortana Intelligence Suite, Microsoft’s predictive learning software, the analytics tool determines the percentage of beer fermented in each batch and predicts when it’s time to switch to the next phase. The Deschutes team can now accurately schedule the nine brewing phases accordingly to ensure the quality of beer is consistent with all of their batches.

EAC IoT Tree

Connecting the beer tank sensors with machine learning gave Deschutes an IoT solution and allowed them to improve their brew processes. Deschutes reduced their fermentation process by 24-48 hours. They are now able to focus more time on creating new brands and maintaining the quality of the existing ones. Deschutes is looking at furthering the use of this smart, connected technology by looking into using it for preventive maintenance for their equipment so that brewers would be alerted if parts are due for service or replacement.

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings, headquartered in Minneapolis, MN, is a popular sports bar that has an average of 24-32 beers on tap. Due to major growth of the company and being one of the top 10 fastest-growing restaurants in the U.S., BWW needed to keep up with the growing demand of their customer’s needs. The company faced two major challenges. Both challenges prompted the need to leverage technology and the Internet of Things for an improved operational efficiency.

The first challenge was that they needed to eliminate the product loss that results from comping drinks, excessive or bad pours, and generous bartenders that give beer away without entering the sale in the system. BWW implemented a system called BeerBoard that monitors beer flow data from IoT sensors in the taps to Mulesoft, an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB), where managers can compare beer output to sales information pulled from their Aloha point-of-sale systems. Restaurant managers can accurately determine whether they are running an effective beer operation with the help of the IoT solution found from linking the sensors to BWWs data management systems.

Their second challenge was managing the demand of the assortment of beers for each location all year round. BWW used BeerBoard’s new SmartBar beer management platform to switch and assign new beers corresponding to tap lines. Pour data and sales data would be captured through the platform where all BWW restaurants would have access to the reports to measure performance of each beer. The ability to gain beer preference insight brought a powerful competitive advantage to Buffalo Wild Wing’s brand and reputation.

By working with a few different companies that provided the IoT flow sensors and a software solution to manage their data, BWW started to accurately predict preferences and optimize inventory planning. The company now leverages the Internet of Things to accurately track beer consumption.

How to Bring Your Products to Life with the IoT

Race up the learning curve and find a partner that’s driven to find and implement the right IoT solution for your unique business. Make sure they have the engineering expertise necessary to bring your products to life. EAC Product Development Solutions is a company that transforms the way companies design, manufacture, connect to, and service their products. EAC is on a mission to help companies innovate, optimize, and win in the marketplace by selecting the right IoT solution — like PTC ThingWorx. With ThingWorx allows organizations to connect their products to the Internet and give customers the tools they need for easy access and control.

Ready to dive in? Our team of specialists, engineers, and developers would love to help you bring a working proof of concept to life. The demo application image below is an example of how our engineers can use ThingWorx to pull together data from many sources and deliver data to your fingertips. The demo shows how a local brewery can use the app to access plant conditions, truck tracking, order tracking, weather forecasting, collaboration, and beer tasting — all in real-time simulation.

ThingWorx Brewery Demo

Watch our Connect Services video to see how our engineers can connect your products with the Internet of Things!

Knowledge is power. Keep track of your data if you’re not doing it already. You’re bound to learn something from it. Better yet – apply smart connectivity to your process. Contact our Design and Engineering Services at EAC Product Development Solutions to realize your product potential and to find your IoT solution.

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Download our free Connect Services Brochure to see how you connect your products to the internet for a smarter technology solution.