In competitive and fragmented markets, IoT enables manufacturers to integrate asset-heavy operational technology with IT to align supply, production and distribution more efficiently and effectively. It also enables manufacturers to innovate by offering connected products and new services that leverage the data collected by IoT solutions.
Manufacturers recognize the opportunity: according to a Cognizant-sponsored survey of manufacturers in Europe, 72% plan to increase IoT spending in the next three years. Yet many of these IoT initiatives will fail to leverage the full Industry 4.0 opportunity. IoT is not simply a matter of bolting sensors on machines and designing software around them. Data needs to be collected, integrated, stored, engineered and analyzed across the entire manufacturing ecosystem to generate actionable insights.
Situation in Switzerland
Swiss manufacturers have a world-class reputation for creating value for customers, and understand the wide-ranging digital agenda that is required to truly create the smart factories and digital supply chains of the future. Indeed, by some measures, Switzerland is among the IoT leaders: an increasing number of IoT patent applications come from companies in Switzerland, with Swiss tech leader ABB among the key contributors*. And a country that ranks as the most innovative country in the world in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index in 2017 – for the seventh year running – should theoretically not have much difficulty with applying fresh technology. But with an overall digitalization of just 45% according to the digital.swiss scorecard, Switzerland is apparently struggling with the practicalities at a basic level.
Companies often have to integrate a siloed manufacturing landscape, including processes, IT and operational technology. Tackling the entire ecosystem at once can be too much of a challenge, so it is preferable to find a small project offering quick wins. Companies get to work hands-on with IoT solutions and see the possibilities. This then leads to new ideas and embeds digital technology into mindsets.
IoT success stories abound, also in Switzerland: for instance, premium household appliance manufacturer V-Zug is building networked devices for use in “smart homes”. Lubricating and meter solution provider Abnox has digitalized its production lines, which now exchange information in real time with the company’s ERP system. And, as one of the participants in a forthcoming Industry 4.0 roadshow in Switzerland, valve manufacturer Seitz Valve shows that even long-established companies can successfully drive efficiency through digital transformation.
Moving fast is essential. Cognizant’s expertise on IoT will help you make a start and act now.
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* Source European Patent Office