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” 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 in the Middle of a Platform Revolution

I was  not aware until recently that there are well over 450 providers of Platforms, all offering solutions, presently giving a very fragmenting market. Collaborators be aware!

There some substantial “biggies” that are covering the consumer market (social media ones such as Facebook) and business ones, where the growth in platforms will grow. If you break down the platform market into manufacturing, smart cities, energy, mobility, health, supply chain, retail, public services and many others, the use of IoT platforms are catching up with the consumer side.

One real growth area is the platform startup where funding seems to be strong. Cisco investments are backing a number as well as many others, seeing growing potential.

Amazon through its AWS is a clear standout for providing the platform-as-a-service. Everywhere you look today,everything is moving into a platform. Continue reading

Industry is lagging but catching up in its choices of platform offerings

The platform has become essential for much of our social and direct engagements. The likes of Facebook, Amazon, Airbnb and many others are transforming much of our digital engagement for our social and private needs.

The lag has been connecting industry up, to the transforming value of ecosystems, to collaborate and build new value on co-developed platforms. There are some leading voices on this, determined to be the orchestrators- exploiting first mover advantage- who are heavily investing in the software and analytics to demonstrate value for not just themselves but drawing in lead customers to offer real, added ‘connected’ value.

I am watching three specifically in the digital industrial space of GE, Bosch and more recently Siemens as they build their ecosystems and offer their platforms as solutions into Industry.

These are among the growing voices on different aspects of innovation, connecting machines, data and new human understanding, of adding the new value or focusing on even more on the preventative aspects where industrial assets need to be constantly performing, as essential. For instance in aviation, power, energy, transport, and healthcare. They are at the forefront of reshaping entire industry dynamics. Continue reading

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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From footpath to Facebook: Building a platform

I’ve been interested in what constitutes a “platform” and how platforms spawn and nurture ecosystems for quite some time.  We’ve been exploring these ideas in this blog over the last few months.

In this post I’d like to start identifying some of the key factors that anyone thinking about innovating or building a platform must consider.  To do that, I’d like to start, as the title suggests, by reviewing the first platforms.

The first platforms were paths, rivers and other means of improving human interaction and communication.  As interactions were improved and information flowed more easily, civilization, which is just a form of an ecosystem on a platform, developed.  Roads, canals and other forms of improved transportation simply became a better platform, and allowed the Romans to create financial and trade mechanisms not equaled until the 19th century. Continue reading