IoT platforms are an important technological building block in the networked enterprise of the future and play a critical role in the implementation of Industrie 4.0. The buzzword Internet of Things refers to the embedding of people, processes and (physical) objects in the virtual world. The things thus connected via the Internet thus enable seamless communication with each other. Access to low-cost, low-energy sensors, the expansion of connectivity and cloud platforms, and artificial intelligence enable smart networking.
On October 19, 2022, the “IoT Platforms for the Internet of Production” experience exchange was held. During the event, the individual steps for implementing an IoT platform in one’s own company were discussed. These were divided into five steps, which were presented in detail by the speakers:
- Definition of data sources
- Data collection
- Setting up the data infrastructure
- Data processing
- Value creation from the data
The presentation by Horst Lange, Manager IIoT Strategy & Alliances, and Heiko Langer, Key Account Manager, both from HMS Industrial Networks GmbH, focused on data collection and data infrastructure. The speakers presented how data is extracted from the machines, both greenfield and brownfield, using various interfaces and fed into the data infrastructure. Remote access, remote service platform, monitoring, data infrastructure for process data, applications across plants (data analytics, predictive maintenance, etc.), and IIoT business models were mentioned as application areas.
Justus Benning, Deputy Head of Information Management at FIR of RWTH Aachen University, presented how to systematically select the right IoT platform for your company. First, he addressed the potential of IoT platforms based on the Aachen Digital Architecture Management (ADAM) framework. Then, the main challenges in the selection and deployment of IoT platforms were presented: security, data governance and interoperability with other systems were.
A structured and validated approach, based on both business goals and specific use cases, supports the selection and deployment of an IoT platform. Eight steps help arrive at the IoT platform that is right for you:
- lay the groundwork
- creating an as-is analysis
- definition of goals and tasks
- description of a use case
- derivation of requirements
- pre-selection and contacting a provider
- system presentation and decision making
- finalization and introduction of governance
Christian Kuhn, Country Manager DACH at cloud computing service provider Plainconcepts GmbH, discussed the approach to building an IoT platform and the challenges involved. According to this, 60 percent of all IoT projects do not achieve the desired success or even fail completely. The main reason cited for the failure of the new technology was that companies and employees were not involved in the introduction and development of the platform from the outset. Such a platform also needs to be continuously maintained, Kuhn said. However, since the use of IoT platforms brings endless possibilities, one should first start with small projects to quickly achieve success and a return on investment, and follow up later. It is also important to select the right partners, bring all stakeholders on board and work in an agile manner to be successful in the long run, he said. Event participants were shown how to build an IoT platform step by step. In this context, the participants discussed the questions: Where does the data come from? What is important in data aggregation? What use cases are there in mechanical engineering?
Finally, Konstantin Klein, Business Development Manager at TTTech Industrial Automation AG, presented the topic of open IIoT platforms. In addition, Christoph Herr, speaker at VDMA Software and Digitalization, presented VDMA’s activities in this topic area and addressed the importance of the platform economy for mechanical engineering.
The event was offered by ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network of mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is implemented by VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform to connect, inform and market companies, institutions and networks among each other and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).