This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Record.
When manufacturers hear about the possibilities of industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies, the last thing they want to do is react slowly and be left behind by the competition.
But Lou Feinstein, senior manager of SOLIDWORKS portfolio management in IoT at Dassault Systèmes, says that companies must identify IIoT technologies that will help meet their specific business goals, and warns that a rushed decision can be a bad one.
“The technology is alien to a lot of companies, and we help demystify that,” he says. “If you understand your goals and needs, it’s easy to understand the processes, redesign equipment, and set up the systems.”
With business goals clearly established, companies can start to add the IIoT tools they need to succeed.
“Don’t let engineers design an IIoT strategy – the strategy has to come from the business,” says Feinstein. “At Dassault Systèmes, we’re trying to democratise IIoT, and provide SOLIDWORKS users with the tools that make it easy to navigate new technologies.”
The ability for machines to interact with one another thanks to IIoT technologies, Feinstein says, allows manufacturers to slow down production automatically when a machine goes down. Manufacturers can then slow down wider production automatically.
“We’re seeing that in big scale factories,” he explains. “That’s where machine-to-machine is paramount. IIoT is taking factory automation to a whole new level.”
According to Feinstein, Dassault Systèmes’ IIoT customers are quick to say how the technology changes industrial equipment services. Dassault Systèmes is currently partnering with best in class partners to explore new ideas and develop new service models with SOLIDWORKS.
“We often talk a lot with our customers about business transformation because it changes so dramatically once you connect to these things,” says Feinstein. “People don’t realise it, but manufacturers ultimately move from being a distributor or a supplier of products, to being a provider. It becomes a whole new mindset, and customers must embrace the idea of being a 24/7 business.”
But Feinstein warns that without a clear idea of what IIoT adoption can bring to your business, problems can arise.
“In the IIoT space, we advise customers about having a business plan and what their angles are, and say ‘don’t just jump into this because it’s the cool new thing to do’,” he says. “Build a business case around what you need and why, because if you adopt IIoT technologies your business will change and you’ll have a lot of data. This will give you insight into your business, but if things aren’t done right, there will be a lot of data and a lot of money spent on storage and sensors, but they will ultimately become a problem.”
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