Machine Builders Need to Make the Most of the Internet of Things

July 28, 2015
Results from a survey of OEM executives highlights four critical trends that will impact an industry that is on the verge of becoming dominated by IoT.

The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) is creating a wealth of new opportunities for industrial equipment manufacturers. But to take full advantage of them, OEMs will need to do more than incorporate digital technologies into their organization as a response.

The digital transformation of the marketplace has made it vital that machine builders not only be experts at manufacturing, but also excel at designing digital solutions that give customers the experiences they want when interacting with connected devices. Achieving this will require that OEMs embed digital connectivity into every facet of their operations. It also will mean broadening their digital approach to include customers, partners, employees and other industries to build the collaborative partnerships needed to provide the connected product and service experiences that customers will increasingly demand.

For “The Accenture Technology Vision for Industrial Equipment 2015,” we interviewed 221 executives from leading OEMs across nine countries. The survey was developed to identify the technologies and most relevant trends that will likely have the greatest impact on the industry in the next three to five years.

It highlights four of the most critical technology trends that should be focused on to succeed in a global equipment market that is on the verge of becoming dominated by IoT.

Critical trends

The Internet of Me is growing in influence as it places the end user at the center of every digital experience, enabling people and businesses around the world to interact through technology. As more and more everyday objects from earth-moving equipment to security systems evolve into connected devices, OEMs should be prepared to design applications that enable people to personalize, control, measure and automate parts of their lives in both the digital and physical world. Some 86 percent of survey respondents rank the personalized customer experience among the top three priorities for their organizations.

The platform revolution is an emerging trend in which highly connected IoT hardware components that are giving customers more of what they want in terms of meaningful, satisfying outcomes beyond products or services. It is becoming critical to customer satisfaction. IoT has given OEMs the tools to gain end-to-end insights into the outcomes that their customers are trying to achieve. Using IoT as an analytical tool will become increasingly important, as more intelligent hardware will encourage a shift from focusing on selling products or services to selling outcomes. The report shows that 92 percent of surveyed equipment executives agree with this scenario.

Industry technology platforms that can provide comprehensive approaches to integrating machines, data, insights and people to help customers better manage business outcomes and improve the bottom line also will be essential to capturing IoT opportunities. Adopting this concept will enable companies to customize platforms to the particular needs of a diverse range of customers. One leading OEM has begun deploying such platforms to grow its business—platforms that are becoming the blueprint for forging new value chains on the fly to build, connect and deliver applications specific to industry problems.

Workforce reimagined is a concept designed to create more productive interaction between workers and technology that will become more important as the IoT market takes hold. In our survey, 86 percent of the executives say that successful businesses will be those that manage employees alongside machines that capture what is best about both human talent and machine intelligence, embracing both as critical elements of a reimagined workforce.

Re-engineering for the future

Many industrial equipment manufacturers are already aggressively pursuing ways to deliver better outcomes to their customers—from forming cross-industry alliances to fine-tuning human-machine collaboration to create more value in innovative ways. It is the kind of reengineering of the traditional OEM business model that will be needed to succeed in the Internet of Things era.

>>James Robbins, [email protected], is Accenture’s industrial equipment industry North American managing director.

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