Articles, Business Models, IIoT, Industry 4.0

Industry of Things World 2017 Review

All good things come to an end and so did the Industry of Things World 2017 after more than 2 days packed with world-class presentations and round tables dedicated to the next technological revolution – the Internet of Things. 1000+ active players of the Industrial IoT scene attended the event, shared their challenges and issues and their knowledge and solutions with our community.
The Industry of Things World featured countless sessions that are worth mentioning – we went through the event agenda and compiled a few never-to-be-forgotten moments from this year’s edition.

Getting the show on track

Although the official conference start was set on Monday, September 18th, the attendees already had the chance to get to know each other during the Icebreaker session on Sunday evening at the “von Greifswald” event location while 30 delegates also attended the pre-event workshop with “Implementing Industry 4.0 – The Beer Game!” by MIT’s John Carrier.
On Monday Industry of Things World kicked off with a short introduction by the event director Maria Relaki and the conference chair Candy Behunin from PIABO, the official PR and communication partner of the event. Candy welcomed on stage none other than the Internet of Things inventor Kevin Ashton for his opening keynote. He gave his personal definition of the term IoT and drew a picture of the coming world in concrete detail, implying how to take advantage of it on the business level.
Kevin’s keynote was followed by the presentation of HPE’s Worldwide Director & General Manager IoT/GCP Nigel Upton. Latter showed the audience several examples of beneficial use of the huge amounts of data generated through sensorization. Collecting data is only one part of the job, industries must find ways to utilize it in order to reach superior goals like raising customer satisfaction or cutting costs.

Streaming through the morning

The rest of the morning was packed with a ton of exciting contributions by industry experts. The conference offered four different streams in separate rooms so each attendee could build their personalized conference agenda. Many people stopped by Jesper Toubol’s demonstration of digitized mould making at LEGO. The Danish use additive manufacturing technologies to print bricks and provide agility and flexibility during production. Machines adjust themselves without human influence in real time to maximize the uptime.
Next up was Daniel Moellenbeck from BP who focused on the digitalization in the oil and gas industry. Due to environmental changes and new technologies, natural gas is expected to become more important than ever for the energy mix. Within 10 years natural gas production will shift from 50% to 60% – this development hold new challenges for the industry players such as the profitable use of data in manufacturing. Most of the generated data is not used so far, new technologies big data integration and analytics as well as the digital twin shall tackle the issue. However Daniel repeatedly mentioned that without established and open IIoT connectivity standards one cannot build something to implement in the cloud nor find a repeatable pattern to build upon.
How to capitalize to value of big data in connected manufacturing? That question was raised and answered by Opel representatives Hans-Jürgen Grundig and Petra Krammer shortly before lunch time. The two introduced framing conditions like the Brexit or environmental hazards to outline a fundamental fact: As an organization you don’t have control on changes but you do have the ability to control your data to react to changes as soon as possible. And which technology could prepare you better for changes than the Internet of Things? This is why Opel performed a smart factory rollout this year. The project provided a whole lot of lessons for the company, the most important lessons and to-dos were listed on the final slide:

Lessons learned:

Get a good set of requirements
The business must be involved from the beginning
You need cross-functional/multidisciplinary teams
Motivate employees with easy win examples
Keep output simple and transparent
Clear goals and KPIs. Ask yourself: “what is the problem I need to fix?”

After the presentations a joint press conference with representatives Nigel Upton from HPE and BASF’s Dr. Frithjof Netzer unveiled the results of a global study on the current state of the Industrial Internet of Things. The survey conducted among more than 400 IIoT experts revealed that although companies understand the important of new technologies, only a fraction of them have already fully implemented IIoT transformation projects. The results of the study also made clear that buying IIoT technology per se is not an option and that organizations have to work towards adapting their entire technology architecture. The full survey results are accessible here:

After-lunch action

After the lunch break Burton Lee from Stanford University delivered insights on the state of remote diagnostics. Why is it so important to address this topic? Because it is getting more and more important to predict machine failures and the cheapest way is to do it remotely. Remote diagnostics are accompanied by several benefits: reduced false indications and diagnostic time which mean less cost due to machine downtime.
The afternoon held several noteworthy case studies contributed by EY, Beckhoff Automation, Wind River and Cisco Jesper only to name a few. Michael Capone from EY mainly focused on blockchain and supply chain management, while Beckhoff’s representative Marius Kahmen outlined the path from a sensor to a ready-to-use IoT solution like the TwinCAT IoT.
Many industrial experts are talking about turning the hype into value when it comes to IoT. Keith Shea from Wind River took that alleged catchphrase derived 3 stages that have to be mastered to gain real value from IoT:

3 horizon model

Connect the unconnected
Creating intelligence, intelligent interconnected things
Software defined autonomous world

Day 1 reached its climax with the evening keynote by Frank Kirchner, DKFI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence), on how robotics and AI transform production and manufacturing. He defined AI as the interface between engineering and computer science. Eventually robots could be intelligent enough to predict human intentions, but there are 4 major challenges on the road to the production of the future: long term autonomy in application, structural complexity, architecture and learning plus algorithmic complexity. Frank also talked about many people’s fear of robots getting too intelligent to be controlled by humanity. In his view we don’t have to fear technology as long as we are “eager to learn, eager to dominate the technology we develop”.
Conference chair Candy Behunin closed conference day 1 at 6 PM and let the attendees set forth towards the networking dinner at Alte Münze.

Drawing the curtain for day 2

The early bird catches the worm – that applied for the 50 BMW Motorcycles plant visitors entering the shuttle towards the BMW factory at 8 AM. All other attendees arrived around 9 AM when Bosch Director and Global Head of AI Enablement Lothar Baum took the stage. Bosch has taken up the cause of deploying AI in real-world industrial settings. This implies 3 machine learning disciplines, probabilistic inference, replicate neural networks (like our brain) and reinforcement learning.
The morning offered two more presentations by OSIsoft and SAP before kicking off with the interactive World Café Sessions. Christoph Papenfuss from OSIsoft DACH addressed the question how IoT, Industrie 4.0 & Digital transformation are driving competitive advantage in the modern industrial economy. Industry of Things World all-star Dr. Tanja Rueckert from SAP presented a live-demo of Leonardo, SAP’s new digital innovation system which enables customers to leverage and integrate future-facing technologies like the IoT, machine learning, blockchain, analytics and big data.

Maximum interaction

Interactivity was paramount on the second conference day – the action started with Rasmus Thomsen’s Design Thinking Workshop followed by 24 World Cafés featuring a proud number of industry players such as Cisco, Wind River, Siemens, Daimler, Airbus, SAP, Sony, Nestlé, thyssenkrupp, HPE and GE. Meanwhile Robin Tech from AtomLeap opened the Innovation Lab Session where 8 startups had the chance to present their business and products to the Industry of Things World audience. The Innovation Lab also took place on day 1 of the conference.
In the afternoon the Industry of Things World was getting closer to end with the last presentations by Eric Schaeffer, Accenture and John Carrier from the MIT Sloan School of Management. After Eric’s keynote on the transformative power of industrial connectivity the audience also saw the annual panel discussion between a selected group of IoT experts. This year’s issue: Digitizing the European Industry: Innovation ecosystem and Industry 4.0.

Panel discussion participants

Mario Buisán
Director General of Industry and SMEs, Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness (Spain)

Roberto Napione
Head of machine centre of excellence, SKF

Erich Barnstedt
Reference Architecture, Standards and Norms, Plattform Industrie 4.0

Roland Hechwartner
Vice Chairman of the Technical Plenary, oneM2M

Industry of Things World’s last speaker, John Carrier, then went on stage to hold the closing keynote dealing with the business leaders’ reluctance to adopting IIoT. John surely outlined the benefits of IIoT. But leaders have to be aware of what they are trying to buy with IIoT. The task is to make information flow between data, models and systems. In the right situation. With “Fingerspitzengefühl” (which is the German term for sure instinct). Don’t just rely on data, use data to get into the system and look for the expensive minutes and seconds during production. If IIoT can help with that – and there is no doubt that it is capable of doing so – perfect.
Lastly, chair Candy Behunin and conference director Maria Relaki wrapped up the event and released the event attendees on well-earned trip back home. It was fantastic to have so many thought leaders, decision makers and pioneers gathered at one place to define the future of the IIoT. We are fully convinced that the the IoT community went home with a bag full of new ideas and learnings.

Next up in the Industry of Things World Global Event Series: Industry of Things World USA in San Diego on March 7-9 2018. See you there!