IT, OT & IoT: The Three-Edged Sword

Chronologically, all businesses have undergone a journey from one industrial revolution to the next. Traditional businesses are now at the crossroads of a digital age. It is vital to get it right and make the best of this enterprise transformation.

Historically, these have been the industrial milestones:

  • Industrial revolution v2.0 – Operational Technology (OT)
  • Industrial revolution v3.0 – Information Technology (IT)
  • Industrial revolution v4.0 – Internet of Things (IoT)

When Henry Ford introduced mass production to the world through the assembly line, it brought about an industrial revolution. This was a century ago. Lately, the digital revolution has been knocking on the doors of manufacturing. Mass production is fast changing into customized production. The advent of connected devices and platforms, coupled with consumer expectations, is driving digitization of manufacturing.

IoT is at the heart of digital transformation. There is a significant change in businesses from traditional product-centric operating models towards consumer-centric ones. For example, banks are seeing themselves as technology based financial institutions. With basic infrastructure to support IoT already in place and sensors becoming cheaper and diverse, we won’t be far off in assuming the singular convergence of technology, products, assets and people. IoT Velocity is termed as the pace with which industry is adopting IoT. Leading the race are financial services, followed by retail with manufacturing in the third spot.

Manufacturing — across aerospace, automotive, agriculture, construction, defense, industrial machinery and high-tech products industry — is ready to realize how connected technology will streamline and simplify the value chain. Mobilization and connectedness have driven manufacturers to innovate faster and create software-enabled products. Companies with large manufacturing setups will see value in using IoT to connect supply chains. Companies with long product life cycles will find it easier to adopt IoT to manage these products.

Benefits include:

  • Increased capacity on production lines
  • Easier product customization
  • Intricately-knit supply and demand value chains
  • Better financial performance
  • Improved customer satisfaction

The impact of IoT on consumer product manufacturing will be huge. Spanning across food, beverage and health & beauty, the consumer product industry is a mature but relatively slow-growing industry, focused around the consumer. Gaining insights from consumer choices coupled with the ability to forecast demand will be instrumental in delivery optimization. Data and insights will be leveraged to drive campaigns and promotions, bringing about a vital boost to business revenues. IoT promises a qualitatively robust data stream that enables 1:1 customer insights. It is true that the most compelling use case for IoT involves engaging consumers by understanding their shopping and consumption patterns. Imagine a dynamic and iterative goods replenishment model based on real-time home-based product usage and experience or directly monitored store shelf status.

One such dynamic use case that we implemented at Intrigo was a cloud-based product packaging and authentication solution. At Veritag, we built a simple, low cost, highly secure solution that enabled the consumers to identify and gauge product genuineness. The main objective of the project was to affix a tag to a product and link it to the Veritag database in order to authenticate the product. This tag was unique and was updated, recorded, validated, audited and tracked using the latest of authentication technology. Similarly, a repair tag provision was available for the maintenance and repair industry. There was central administering of role permissions, product permissions and customized security rules engine. With all product information in one place, Intrigo ensured full product visibility and traceability at each link of the supply chain. It massively simplified business processes and we could offer an easy deployment model for wide scale adoption.

A similar use case in terms of consumer goods could be in the home electronics business. Manufacturing with a batch size of one is a dream which can now be realized with the help of IoT. Smart manufacturing, agile manufacturing and connected manufacturing are soon-to-be actualities.

Other industry use cases include:

  • With regard to strategic management of capital assets in manufacturing industries, preventive and predictive maintenance will assume primary importance across plant supply chains. A need to dynamically optimize real-time supply and demand trade-offs, while ensuring process safety and security objectives, could soon be realized.
  • In CPG, sensor technology, using tracking and geo-positioning for promotional campaigns, will help boost sales and control inventory.

The product/service can both improve with help of IoT. Taking insights from actual product performance in customer environment and using it as input for future innovations will turn around traditional product life cycles. The fruits of digitally transforming your enterprise are countless. It is about how soon you can!

Meet the Author

Abishek headshot

Abishek Eshwar

Solutions Consultant
Abishek Eshwar started off his career as a core manufacturing professional at Michelin, leading teams that grew a greenfield manufacturing entity into a full-scale industrial producer and was responsible for delivery operations in the EMEA and Indian tyre markets. Abishek entered the enterprise solutions space more than a year ago, bringing forth his functional experience to transform and digitalize supply chains and solve business critical problems to add value at clients in different industrial domains. Most recently at Intrigo, Abishek helped Microsoft go live on Integrated Business Planning, a supply chain cloud-based solution by SAP.