A global fast-food chain comprising 7,000 restaurants with networked kitchen equipment. A packaging company whose products wrap, bundle and package millions of items each week. A medical device company with a worldwide installed base of thousands of complex diagnostic machines. An automotive manufacturer that makes vehicles with more than 10,000 discrete parts – many with sensors that monitor performance and condition.
All of these companies are gearing up for a new future – one based on a digital product transformation. This future will be characterized by connected devices, real-time data streaming, deep analytics designed to improve product life and performance, and the ability to visualize a global cohort of users.
That’s the opportunity promised by the Internet of Things (IoT), which can help organizations realize a product-service continuum that allows for ongoing conversations with customers that informs design improvements and enables them to monitor, manage, repair and upgrade products remotely, as well as predict the need for maintenance and prevent service calls. The result: a new business model that is dependent on both rich feature sets and service enhancements.
How does such a model apply to manufacturers at a practical level? How would a typical capital equipment supplier – for example, a maker of diesel generators – engineer and architect a meaningful product-service continuum into its business model?