The Emerging World of Connected Industrial Ecosystems

Whenever I seem to read about Platforms and Ecosystems, it mostly seems to relate to technology-led organizations and how they are continuing to connect us all up in our private lives. We get offered, as leading examples of the disruption that occurs and the connected value, the likes of Uber, Facebook, Apple etc., all bringing new value to transform our world.

Yet for me, the area that is shifting as dramatically is where Industrial organizations are providing platform solutions to solve industrial problems. Good examples are Bosch, Siemens, GE and Schneider Electronics. They are transforming their solutions and clients businesses, through offering digital on top of the existing products, in some highly impressive ways. They are focusing on connecting up their solutions into their client network on platforms to build the industrial internet.

The building of these platforms has taken priority within specific industries to master and progressively transform their business, into a digital connected one. This seems to me, to be so much harder than those like Facebook, Google or Uber. Industrial solutions have had to deal with legacy “big time,” overcome entrenched positions or views and begin to collaborate in highly sophisticated ways, with often very demanding and sometimes skeptical clients. Continue reading

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There is a growing force in Siemens MindSphere as it scales up in 2018.

The move towards open-cloud based IoT operating systems has been significant in the past few years or so. Most major industrial companies have set about building and offering to their clients their platforms, for more open design and engineering, automation and operational work, as well as increased emphasis on maintenance and utilization.

To power this, digitalization has changed everything. The smart factory, plant, and buildings, work alongside smart products and solutions and smart business services are all in the sights of those industrial digital platform providers. The platforms-as-a-service has become essential to many industrial organizations to exploit.

I have been following a number of these in recent years and recently began to have a more specific focus on three; GE & their Predix, Bosch through their BSI and more recently Siemens and their Mindsphere. Others beginning to appear on my radar of industrial platform providers are Dassault Systèmes, Honeywell Connected Plant, Rockwell Automation and Schneider Electrics

Getting to understand Siemens MindSphere.

I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to be invited to the Siemens Innovation Day. I really appreciated it  The day before the main event I was included in the Industry Analysts visit to the Siemens Technology Center. We were provided a variety of insights in different presentations and demonstrations of the technology they are working upon. Mindsphere was consistent in its presence but was not as specifically focused on as I would have liked.

I put some of my thoughts down on a post “Creating the Industrial Ecosystem” about my take aways from this Siemens invite recently. I have been attempting to unravel my thinking between that that greatly impressed and the parts that still seemed to have innovation gaps to fill. MindSphere had a particular focus for me. Continue reading

We are failing to deliver radical innovation. Why?

I see the growing importance of ecosystems and platforms for those that want a thriving future, these are the ones that simply “get this” need to connect into a wider ecosystem to build better value and solutions that customers want. The business imperative of today and near-term future is designing around ecosystems that seek out collaborative platform solutions.

Regretfully for those that don’t, the ones that hang on to the belief that their island of knowledge and their product offering are still good enough to meet the customer needs will face a very uncertain and bumpy future.

This is a delusion, utterly deluding, to continue as you have previously, as customers are today looking at “connected experiences” and these come out of far more complex back-ends of delivery, orchestrated on platforms, where the leverage of partners, technology, and common cause come together in highly collaborative ways. Also working on solutions that are recognizing that the front delivery end provides simplicity, ease of access and completion of the service or experience customers are looking for, far more as providing a more complete comprehensive, connected solution to their needs.

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Returning to the Interconnected Parts of the Ecosystem

Credit Katri Valkokari

I wrote a post “the Interconnected Parts of the Ecosystem” earlier this year, after a paper written by Katri Valkokari, a Research Manager at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland caught my eye. I wanted to come back to this really powerful visual, recognizing the three interrelated ecosystems we require to form around. I mentioned in my post, these three parts actually do fuse into one, making up an integrated ecosystem of their distinct parts.

It gave me a level of recognition that we do have this need for this three-stage evolution, especially in a business context. Each establishes a boundary of scope and feeds into each other constantly. It is the fact they combine ideas, skills, learning, fresh insights, leading to promising outcomes and creations. It is how they interact and add new value that gives this ‘combination effect’ such potential for us to consider.

The combining of tangible and intangible assets gives us ‘fresh capital’. I have written about Capital and consciously focused upon this, up to know, more under Innovation Capital, as this draws in knowledge through insights and then pushes these out from Knowledge into Organizations as concepts to be explored and exploited, to grow and improve.

Our innovation capital has mostly been internally built to date, yet there is a time and need to take this out with new forms of collaboration, leveraging all the combined assets into a new “collective capital”. This needs reflecting upon, of how you would ‘break this down’, perhaps within this awareness of all these three ecosystems that we do need to consider.

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What’s Reshaping Entire Industries?

There seem to be multiple forces at work, ones that are reshaping how organizations are adjusting to a rapidly changing world, to operate within.

So much focus has been on the disruptive forces at work, the ones that change the present market conditions and rapidly alter the way organizations are “seeing the world” and responding.

The forces also include the pace and competitive nature as organizations globalizing and getting increasingly vulnerable to ‘attack’ due to their size and reaction constraints, locked into their established positions. The bigger the organization, the tougher to be nimble, adaptive and responsive.

There are many well-established organizations suffering the ‘death of a thousand cuts (read start-ups) all intent on taking business away, offering up more ‘viable and attractive’ propositions that meet specific needs of a customer base, one that is increasingly fed up with the ‘one size fit all’ approach. The attraction of new low-cost, good enough products, that do the job that they simply need doing without all the ‘added on’ is stripping away parts of the premium offer built into the past business model of large global organizations.

Organizations are seemingly caught between sustaining their existing business models and approaches to market and those waking up increasingly to finding a different, more radical one as they sense real threat. Technology is driving the need to change. The pressure of ‘connectedness’ and the whole ‘network effect’ are forcing rapid rethinks of how to combat these different pressures. Continue reading

Apollo and Baidu: the Autonomous Platform Builders

In the latest update to its platform, Baidu says partners can access new obstacle perception technology and high-definition maps, among other features. We are told that the company with the most data will win. To get the real edge it is to have and train algorithms that interpret the intelligence and here you need to understand the value of AI (Artificial Intelligence).

Now there is a significant “buzz” on AI at present but where it is really taking off is in China and one company needs to be followed is Baidu.

How Baidu is going about this is to build ecosystems that commercialize AI technology and then attract this ecosystem of partners and developers to accelerate AI into actionable knowledge.

Then we see the Autonomous Platform emerging……

Just released a further update

Chinese search engine giant Baidu is to spend 10bn yuan (£1.1bn; $1.5bn) on new driverless car projects over the next three years. The “Apollo Fund” will invest in 100 autonomous driving projects over the next three years, Baidu said in a statement.. The move is an attempt to catch up with US rivals by enlisting outside help.It now has 70 partners across several fields in the auto industry, up from 50 in July, it says

The launch of Baidu’s “Apollo Fund” coincides with the release of Apollo 1.5, the latest version of its open-source autonomous vehicle software. In the latest update to its platform, Baidu says partners can access new obstacle perception technology and high-definition maps, among other features”.

Reuters News 21st Sept, 2017

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Moving beyond the “ten types” of innovation

Many innovators are familiar with the concept of the “ten types” of innovation developed by Doblin.  If you aren’t familiar with the model, it describes different potential outcomes for innovation, beyond “product” innovation.

Doblin’s ten types includes innovation outcomes based on channels, business models, services, customer experiences and other factors.

As a fan of the model, I return to it and reference it constantly, because far too many innovators narrow their focus and only create new product innovations, when markets and customers are clearly interested in much broader and more diverse innovations.

But as a fan of the ten types model I can also see some of its shortcomings, and one of those is its lack of “depth”.  The ten types model expands the perspective of innovation in terms of breadth – from a single outcome called “product” to a range or spectrum of offering types.  But the model lacks definition around “depth” – building a description of a platform or ecosystem of innovation.  Continue reading