The next level of automation has arrived. In the age of Industry 4.0, machines and systems communicate with each other, control and optimize themselves independently. The Internet of Things (IoT) revolutionized business and science alike. Its impact on productivity, efficiency, and value chains are enormous.
Mr. Jocher, as head of the Internet of things (IoT), you actively help shape the IT trends of the future. Currently, what are the biggest challenges facing today’s industry in the age of digitization? What is the role of IoT here?
Thilo Jocher: The challenge lies in making information available for specific target groups and environments in real-time. In general, the companies have to win in increasing competition – Information is the currency of today’s (IT) era. The Internet of Things allows direct access to information. These will be generated locally (eg from sensors) and must then be prepared in a suitable manner and processed profitably – from production through logistics to service. Therefore, change in thinking is asked. Therein lies a major challenge for the company. IoT – particularly in connection with Big Data – changes the way how work is performed. Processes, workflows and tasks change, as there are now other possibilities, as this can be done more efficiently. If this information is present directly on-site in real-time, then, companies are in a position to act more quickly and more goal-oriented.
One example for the same: In particular, during the installation and maintenance of industrial equipment arise great advantages. In interaction with the workpiece, the machine reports information about status, type of installation, type of commissioning or possible errors. The company can thus act more flexibly and save time and costs respectively.
There are also massive advances in system integration and real time processing of large amounts of data. What does Big Data mean to you in this context? Where do synergies come into picture here?
TJ: Big Data, next to IoT, is the second side of the coin and represents a significant value-add. Additionally, with respect to the delivery and display of data: the collected information can be enhanced and enriched with Big Data. In addition, it is possible to formulate predictions and recommendations with Big Data. In the industrial sector, we speak for example of knowledge about failure frequency and maintenance cycles, linkage with ordering processes or logistics. In the consumer sector, it is possible among other things to recommend replacement products or substitutes for shopping.
Where do you see the boundaries in the implementation?
TJ: Boundaries lie especially in the minds of the handling person, the decider. These are required to be open to new concepts and technologies. Certainly, the data protection aspect plays a big and important role. But the potential that arise with Big Data and IoT are crucial sooner or later in order to secure future competitiveness.
What is your vision of Internet of Things and what is the role of Big Data in it?
TJ: In the near future it will be self-evident, to live with intelligent basic commodities and tools, and to be guided by them through life. The Internet of Things not only simplifies almost all areas of life, but makes life more secure. For one, I think the detection and warning of hazards in industrial environments, such as the instructions on dangerous substances. Secondly, many small and big helpers also arise in the private sphere and can even save lives. In the medical sector, older people can benefit through timely evaluation of health-parameters using new IoT technologies. They can remember taking tablets, the re-ordering of medications work similarly automated and in case of a fall, an emergency call will be made without your intervention.
How does WidasConcepts GmbH support companies in these areas?
TJ: We offer our clients advice and solutions from a single source and we can connect Big Data meaningfully with Internet of Things. As proven experts for Big Data technologies, we know how to deal with large data volumes, how it is transformed into valuable knowledge and ultimately create intelligent information, assistance, recommendations, forecasts – and all this in real-time! Additionally, we also bring years of experience in web and mobile development and are able to present the information as required.
Many companies have difficulties or concerns implementing Big Data and IoT in their companies. What tips do you have for a successful start in the Bigger Picture?
TJ: Difficulties may arise if the company does not comphrehensively deal with the subject and when the ideas for the profitable use of these technologies are missing. This process must be initiated and driven forward in the management and requires an appropriate strategy. To ensure a successful start in the Bigger Picture, precise objectives, a fixed timetable and the planned investments are to be defined. Trusting partners help with these tasks and can pave the way into the “Bigger Future”.