Built to serve: Intelligent solutions are the holy grail

Intelligent Industry is about bringing the physical and digital worlds together and closing the feedback loop in the form of precise actions, either automatically or through manual intervention.

Ananth Chandramouli Portrait

By Ananth Chandramouli

The buying behaviour of customers, be it enterprises or end consumers, has fundamentally changed. Consumers no longer want end products, but holistic solutions on-the-go! In short, they want intelligent products and services customised to precise needs. This is a time when companies are reimagining their value chains holistically and rethinking new ways of digitising them! And Intelligent Industry, which is the next stage of digital transformation, is helping in this evolution.

Intelligent Industry provides the enterprises with the ability to:

  • Understand customer feedback to redesign products quickly with innovative features
  • Manufacture products for optimal cost (based on location and labour) and of best quality (through automation), while ensuring worker safety
  • Acquire “Design to Build to Service” capability to provide contextual solutions.

Evolution of Intelligent Industry
Intelligent Industry is about bringing the physical and digital worlds together and closing the feedback loop in the form of precise actions, either automatically or through manual intervention. We call this the Closed Loop Enterprise, involving three closely associated systems that suggest how the digital industry is evolving:

  • Digital Inside, where sensors and software are embedded in products (machinery or end-consumer products) that have the ability to sense and transmit data
  • Digital Continuity, where a full or partial “virtual” model is possible during any stage of the product lifecycle (i.e., from R&D stage to its readiness for use by end consumers).
  • Digital Convergence, which enables alignment between the world of Information Technology / IT (ERP, CRM, etc.) and the world of Operations Technology / OT (sensors, IoT-enabled devices, etc.) systems, which was not visible earlier.

As an example, let us visualise a Municipal Operations Centre, with a real-time display of a ‘virtual’ water pipeline crisscrossing the city. This ‘digital inside’ system with sensors can identify hotspots like leakages or high pressure and transmit this data! The virtual display at the Operations Centre is in real-time sync with the physical water network, providing seamless ‘digital continuity’ for humans to visualise things better.

Based on the data sent from the physical network to its digital twin, ‘alerts’ are generated. Or taking it a step ahead, an automated service request is created in the ERP system, which allows a service engineer to be dispatched to the specific location for a guided repair using a digital app! This is the stage of ‘digital convergence.’ A combination of all three is how the Intelligent Industry paradigm is evolving.

The rise and rise of Intelligent Industry
Today, technology has matured beyond imagination and is at the heart of business transformation. The systemic changes enforced by technology have resulted in better ability to ‘servitise’ everything and create more value for the entire ecosystem. Every manufacturing enterprise has come to accept servitisation, evolving from being only a product seller to a solution provider for end consumers. Everyone wants not just a product but a ‘solution’ to problems with a simple yet amazing interface to the product or the service, which is in turn personalised to their specific requirements.

Intelligent Industry will enable the right environment for an agile, efficient, and sustainable business model. It will help create new value for end customers through innovative business processes, apart from unlocking ceaseless possibilities for every enterprise and every consumer. Its USP could be its ability in enabling enterprises to see in real-time how consumers use the products and solutions, even as they improve and build products and solutions on-the-go.

The writer is MD, India Business Unit, Capgemini

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