Transforming engineering and product development with IoT

As the Internet of Things becomes pervasive, engineering organizations are exploring the possibilities of IoT and figuring out how to implement in a way that drives tremendous business impact. Products have moved beyond mechanical and electrical components to include complex combinations of hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors and software—as well as ubiquitous connectivity. While this complexity can prove a challenge, the opportunities become a huge competitive advantage with the right strategy and practices in place. Companies that can adapt to the pace of change in this increasingly connected world, incorporating and analyzing data from many various sources, enjoy an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate innovation, meet heightened consumer expectations and gain the advantage in an era that has redefined competition.

To succeed in a world defined by the Internet of Things, companies must reexamine how they do business. Traditional problems can now be approached in disruptive ways, which can throw incumbent players off balance as small startup companies combine a good idea with some crowdfunding, then grow into global businesses in mere months. In such a world, being first to market with innovative offerings (whether products or services) is of primary importance. But to be first, companies must use IoT innovations to revitalize their own development, manufacturing and operational processes.

Companies across a wide range of industries are exploring how to exploit the instrumentation, interconnectedness and intelligence offered by IoT products. The availability of operational data can combine with analytics to provide a significant competitive edge, allowing businesses to develop capabilities and services to extend product value. Companies can analyze the data generated by products, corporate assets and operating environment, using the insights gained in doing so to accelerate innovation, heighten customer satisfaction and create new business models.

To take advantage of the Internet of Things, today’s products are designed with interconnectivity and interoperability in mind. These products combine real-time analysis with machine-to-machine, machine-to-infrastructure and user-to-machine communication, allowing them to adapt as circumstances change. Such interconnection with back-end systems and other intelligent products effectively transforms products into systems of systems, bringing dramatic increases in overall complexity.

As companies learn to take advantage of the Internet of Things, not only products but also product development processes and technologies must evolve. Traditional “end-to-end” engineering practices were not designed to support systems of systems. For example, producing a requirements definition, then following it with design—which is itself followed by building, testing and so on—can bring bottlenecks and delays that slow product releases. Using the traditional model, design feedback comes only through sales figures and consumer complaints—and thus, of necessity, after design and production have already been completed. In such a model, operations support is often an isolated function, commonly provided by a separate company.

Operational performance feedback is an integral part of product development in the IoT era. But rather than simply reacting to feedback such as warranty claims or product failures, a proactive approach is needed that allows engineers to apply analytics to operational and performance data, deriving meaningful insights. As a result, engineering teams can learn dynamically, enhancing product performance much more quickly than they can using traditional models.

Continuous engineering can help in managing the challenges of IoT product development, offering an enterprise capability designed to hasten the delivery of increasingly sophisticated and connected products by helping businesses keep pace with change. Continuous engineering helps simplify complicated processes for manufacturers that constantly update products to address dynamic requirements—an approach that has become the new normal thanks to the Internet of Things.

Share this post:

Share on LinkedIn

Add Comment
One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.Required fields are marked *

m novak

While I agree with the spirit of your article, the industry is not at this point – yet “…today’s products are designed with interconnectivity and interoperability in mind”. IoT is in an early adaptor stage.

More Automotive Stories
By Karen Lewis on September 5, 2016

Olli: Artificial Intelligence for the real world, in record time

Moving fast with Olli. From concept, to prototype, through design, out into the market, and taking orders for sales of vehicles – all in less than three months. That’s what disruptive technology is about. Olli is built by Local Motors, the start-up famous for creating the first 3D printed car. However, the brains for Olli […]

By Sebastian Wedeniwski on October 14, 2016

AutoMOBILE – the future data-defined mobility experience

The connected car is transforming from a hardware-defined vehicle to a data-defined mobility experience, inside a contextual space that can be personalized and is capable to learn. But what exactly is a data-defined vehicle and how will we start designing this? Today, vehicles are about, physical appearance, physical engine design, and physical performance, manage and […]

By Lynne Slowey on January 12, 2017

Big data and the challenges in the car industry

Another day at NAIAS 2017, and IBM have joined Intel and KPMG to talk big data and self-driving cars. Gary Silberg, Partner and Automotive Leader for KPMG, started things off. Six years ago, before it was chic, before it was cool, I wrote a paper: Self-driving cars: the next revolution. My colleagues thought I was […]