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Industrial Internet Consortium publishes a white paper on Digital Transformation in Industry supported by Transforma Insights

AUG 05, 2020 | Jim Morrish
region: ALL sector: ALL technology: ALL

A shift in focus for the IIC

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has recently published a white paper on Digital Transformation in Industry, setting out how the IIC will evolve from focusing on Industrial IoT to take account of new emerging technologies that enable wider digital transformation. The key point is that the IIC will focus on ‘Digital Transformation in Industry [which] leverages connected things to transform processes and operations to produce better outcomes’. Effectively this is a natural evolution from to IIC’s established Industrial IoT focus to encompass other new and emerging technologies that are associated with Industrial IoT, rather than a wholesale repositioning.

The white paper was authored by IIC members including from Transforma Insights, PWC, Korea Industry 4.0, and IGNPower. It opens with a discussion of what digital transformation is (‘a caterpillar to butterfly transformation’), the driving forces behind digital transformation, the better outcomes associated with digital transformation and associated enabling (and restricting) business, technology, and trustworthiness considerations.

The main section of the paper discusses a range of new and emerging technologies that enable digital transformation, providing details of key usage scenarios and links to relevant IIC publications, and also highlighting ‘opportunities for the IIC’ to help catalyse market adoption of these new technologies. The list of enabling technologies is very similar to the list of technologies that Transforma Insights focusses on.

Digital transformation is a type of disruption

Lastly, the paper highlights that digital transformation is a type of disruption. It will unlock new possibilities in business models, value propositions and operational efficiency. Competitive dynamics will ensure that entire industries must transform to become a market leader or keep pace with market leaders, or face loss of market share.

As ever, this kind of disruption is not risk-free. The key is to minimize the attendant risks, and the IIC has recommended a six-step approach for end users seeking to pursue digitally transformative opportunities. The six-step approach is as follows, and illustrated in the diagram below:

  • Find out what the leaders in your industry are doing. Lessons can be learned from successes that competitors have had. Understanding what your competitors are doing allows for better understanding of the overall development trajectory of your industry
  • Investigate developments in comparable industries. Many DX applications implemented in one industry can inform developments in another industry. For instance, a manufacturer of medical equipment may be able to learn lessons from the experiences of a wind turbine manufacturer that has implemented an AR-enabled field support capability
  • Identify your key use cases. The opportunities associated with digital transformation are wide-ranging. As a first step end users should identify the ‘key’ use cases that are likely to be the most impactful, and focus on those.
  • Deduce which DX technologies are most relevant to you. Identifying key use cases (or use case groups) will allow end users to determine which enabling technologies are likely to be most relevant, thus avoiding some of the need to research *all* emerging technologies before then drawing conclusions.
  • Identify key vendors. A critical next step is to identify the most relevant vendors for the required use cases (and associated technologies). This step should be based on an analysis of vendors that have deployed similar use cases, potentially in the same vertical. Ideally end users should prioritise vendors that ‘have deployed’ a certain use case at scale over those that ‘can deploy’ that same use case.
  • Plan for deployment. Plans for deployment should be based on the ‘complexity profile’ of any solution that will be deployed. Not all projects have the same complexity profile (some may involve millions of end points, some only tens, some may be deployed wordwide, some just in a single country, and so on), and project team composition will need to reflect the relevant complexity profile. See here for further discussion on this topic.


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