The Internet of Things-led (IoT) movement within manufacturing continues to create efficiencies on the factory floor. However, small and large industry players’ efforts to monetize the connected devices that they manufacture or use for production have not borne fruit — until now. The rise of the sharing economy and supporting technologies represents a paradigm shift in the access and consumption of IoT products and services.
In traditional transactions, the transfer of ownership to a buyer is the end of the line for the manufacturer or vendor in the value-creation process. In the new sharing economy, however, the transfer of ownership is blurred, for the manufacturer as well as the end consumer or user of the asset or its output. In a sharing economy, either the asset is a shared entity or the device/asset’s output is portable. For example, a car is a physically portable asset that can be collaboratively consumed. But in the case of a windmill, it is the asset’s output — wind energy — that is shared.
The dual concepts of a digital twin and machine-to-blockchain networks are key technology facilitators that enable industrial IoT devices to participate in the evolving sharing economy. Together, they offer an efficient platform that promises to create a seamless user interface, generate real-time data to handle demand and supply, and enable smart, efficient and trusted ways of transacting among participating peers across the value chain.