Internet of Things

Accelerating the deployment of IoT solutions in business with the IoT Factory

13 November 2018

Accelerating the deployment of IoT solutions in business with the IoT Factory

Manufacturers are relying more and more on new digital technologies to improve their processes and reduce production costs. The IoT Factory is fully dedicated to boosting connected solutions and is appealing to a growing number of companies looking to optimize their manufacturing and finances.

Companies have now identified the numerous opportunities within the Internet of Things (IoT), such as predictive maintenance, business efficiency, industrial security optimization, data control, and improved customer experience. Large groups are no longer hesitant to deploy their own solutions to make the most of this technological revolution. But these first attempts have quickly run up against a significant hurdle: profitability.

Adopting an IoT approach is an expensive process which companies occasionally have trouble estimating. Between the projected potential of IoT solutions and the actual profitability of these very solutions, the breach can sometimes be wide.

From design to maintenance, anticipate heavy investments

In this young market of connected objects, high development costs have to be taken into account, which drives up costs considerably. Moreover, despite their recent democratization and a significant drop in prices, by their very nature, connected objects remain expensive: these little tech gems are composed of a complex assembly of sensors and must adhere to strict robustness and quality requirements.

The deployment and maintenance of these objects present the two main expenses, and they need to be fully researched so as to optimize and streamline costs. Businesses will have to take into account the regular trips made by specialist operators in the field to maintain, repair or recover objects. Ultimately, maintenance costs frequently exceed the cost of the device itself.

IoT Factory: manufacturing internally to reduce costs

To improve the profitability of their approach and foster the success of IoT projects, some companies are setting up their own IoT Factory. As a real factory that can prototype and produce industrialized components, the IoT Factory is a separate entity within the business, pooling all resources that support and accelerate IoT projects. Its main objective is to facilitate the industrialized, cost-controlled production of connected solutions intended for clients or internal services within the company.

The IoT Factory is involved in specific projects but this is not its only role: on a larger scale, it will manage a true IoT strategy for the company. Such an environment fosters innovation and instils a real culture of change within the company.

Project support at the heart of the IoT Factory

By providing methodological and technical expertise, the IoT Factory supports projects related to the Internet of Things from prototyping to launching production. This expertise will enable the company to detect early on the projects with the highest rate of profitability and potential for industrialization.

Even if IoT projects have to go through experimental phases within a limited scope, their main objective is to lead to large-scale projects. It is, therefore, necessary to be able to qualify the impact of the project very early on and to be able to move quickly from the experimental stage to full-scale deployment. The IoT Factory facilitates this process in its entirety, from the initial launch to driving it towards industrialization.

Pool resources for better control over investments

Pooling skills and knowledge is one of the main strengths of the IoT Factory. In particular, it makes it possible to streamline costs and optimize returns. With this in mind, it is essential to identify all on-going IoT initiatives within large companies. Pooling these initiatives not only helps to share good ideas but also to check whether similar projects conducted in parallel in other departments are up and running.

The IoT Factory can oversee a complete portfolio of initiatives within the company. It can then set out the priorities of these projects and focus on supporting the company on high-stake projects. Costs related to technical solutions will be reduced due to the economies of scale that can be achieved from connected objects, telecommunication contracts, and IoT platforms. Finally, expert resources on IoT technologies can be built into the IoT Factory, all the better for taking advantage of these rare skills which will allow the entire company to benefit.

IoT Factory: a weapon of mass information  

Another important asset of the IoT Factory is the way in which it helps to raise employees’ awareness of the Internet of Things as well as its challenges and benefits. An IoT approach will have an impact on all employees and, as such, it will require setting up specific in-house training. It is important for the company to be able to rely on its employees to generate ideas for real-life uses. These proposals will be especially relevant as they will correspond to real operating issues directly involving employees in the field.

Finally, the new problems generated by IoT technology will require support from employees who have been informed of the risks associated with these technologies, namely connection security, access rights management, data protection, etc. Cybersecurity is also now a vital issue for IoT. In 2017, connected objects were targeted by a series of 50,000 attacks, a figure up from 6,000 in the previous year according to a recent study by Symantec.

A business strategy approach

Connected solutions allow businesses to reinvent their way of operating. The IoT approach conveyed by the IoT Factory cannot be limited to a few isolated initiatives: on the contrary, it must be part of a global innovation strategy that is clearly decided upon and advocated by the company. Moreover, in order to have a real impact, setting up an IoT Factory requires adequate funding. Such an approach must, therefore, be supported by a strong sponsor, and above all, be a clear part of the company’s strategy.

IoT solutions have demonstrated their virtues in terms of performance, productivity and attractiveness to businesses. According to Gartner, by 2020 more than 65% of companies will have deployed their own connected objects. Despite impressive growth forecasts – approximately 20% between 2015 and 2020 – the IoT market is still in its infancy. So now that IoT technologies have demonstrated their potential, are you ready for full-scale deployment?

Senior Consultant in Industrial Operations, Etienne Vauquelin has been interested for several years in the transformations induced by IoT, and he accompanies his clients in the industrialization of their projects.
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