Everybody is talking about the Internet of Things these days. At the same time, most suppliers are heavily occupied with the technology. What can be heard behind the scenes is that the solution is there, but the use cases are not clearly defined. However, you can only get ahead if you start with a request that then needs to be solved for the real use case. Although many companies know their problems and challenges very well, they lack the imagination but also the know-how to design a solution using IoT or digitalization.

There is definitely a lack of consulting on this subject. Suppliers and customers have to develop a concept together. When doing this, it is not enough to solve a technical problem. An investment only makes sense if the story is complete. In order to be profitable, every IoT, respectively digitalization project has to represent a business case that is adding value to the company. From that point of view, it is not sufficient to contemplate concepts purely on a technical basis. In order to accomplish that, these projects must be solved and carried out inter-disciplinarily using different systems throughout the company.

Collecting Data from Multiple Systems

Many suppliers are focused on one category of enterprise systems like ERP, PDM or MES. An ERP consultant for example is very familiar with the ERP system. The CAD or PDM partner takes care of the technical systems in the development. Others are experts in manufacturing. IoT and digitalization projects can use data from these systems, however they can rarely be implemented in one of these systems alone. At this point, the ThingWorx platform can be used in which data from all systems can be collected. However, data alone is not enough. It has to be merged and processed in a suitable application. In order to make a business case out of it, it can be required that such an application can also transfer data back to the other systems or trigger processes in them. Let’s imagine for example that a machine sends an error message. Then, a service job could automatically be generated in the ERP system. When the job is finished, an invoice could be sent and the reported error could be marked as solved. In this example, you can see the importance of connectors between the different systems. The different providers have to work together to create a solution.

Innoface has been engaged in linking Windchill with ERP systems for many years. We can see good pre-conditions that will allow us to put forth our competence as integrators in this environment in the future. Innoface has started to engage in connectors and applications around ThingWorx, PTC’s highly sophisticated platform for IoT and digitalization. See us to discuss your use cases in the realm of IoT and digitalization at LiveWorx 19, June 10-13 in Boston.

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