Industrial design in the age of IoT

Industrial design is changing in the age of IoT. In this post, Paul Hatch describes his design firm's expansion from industrial design to fields like UI and the IoT and explains why product nurturing will become more important than actual product design.

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), it’s easy to focus on technological aspects. You can talk about different platforms or discuss which IoT solution might be the best to solve a specific problem. Looking below this layer of technology, it quickly becomes apparent that there are many more aspects that determine the success of the IoT. Not the least of which is the matter of how today’s connected products are designed. As an industrial designer, Paul Hatch knows a lot about this topic.

Hatch is the CEO of TEAMS Design USA, an award-winning design firm. He has firsthand experience of the impact of the IoT on industrial design. He has also been able to observe how companies that produce physical products handle the challenges and opportunities of a connected world.

Design in the age of IoT is about ecosystems

“Our background is in designing experiences around physical products.” Hatch says. Over the last decade, his agency has expanded into other fields like UI design and the IoT. Hatch describes the change this move entailed:

“Within the Internet of Things, it is no longer just about physical objects, it is also about designing things in a virtual space.”

In the past, discussing product strategy meant looking at a line of physical products. Now a very big part of strategy revolves around services and user interaction. To cope with this transformation, the company has shifted its focus away from industrial design, and now concentrates more on the strategic aspects: “We are designing ecosystems rather than products,” Hatch says. “This means we are more interested in people who know about company strategy, brand strategy, product experience, and user experience.”

Paul Hatch even tends to think that the term “design” might not apply any more. “I see it more as nurturing. You release a product and you nurture it. You use your design skills to bend and twist it in different directions. It is no longer sufficient to simply launch a product – and assume that’s it!”

New opportunities for product nurturing

According to Hatch, understanding a product’s actual usage in real-time offers great opportunities to companies that produce physical products. “They can now find out how their products are being used, be it in an industrial or consumer environment. You can track its usability, the context in which it is being used, or how often it is being used,” Hatch explains. In the past, a finished product was sold in a specific time frame before being revisited and updated. With the IoT, it is possible to collect information starting from the moment a product is in use. Hatch compares it to software development: “After you launch version 1.0 of the software and people are using it, you quickly follow through with versions 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. This approach was previously unheard of in the world of physical products. We would just work on version 2.0 and not launch it until much later.”

Hatch stresses that the true value of a product after its initial launch is not the volume of sales it generates.

“Its true value lies in the data it provides. That helps you design version 2.0.”

Consequently, if a company takes advantage of the data, it can take a big step forward with the second product.

What does this mean to a brand?

It means that it now has a connection to its users. “If the company behind the brand realizes this, it can actually create products, experiences, and services that are more relevant to consumers. Rather than just being a product that someone likes or dislikes.”

Organizations are changing

It might not be easy for a company to adopt a new strategy in which it no longer just launches a product but also then collects data to improve it. Hatch points to big manufacturing companies that already have a process for product development in place. “When that process ends and the product is released, another team – in sales or aftermarket services – takes over.” A product that doesn’t just launch and disappear has implications for the organization and its structure. Organizational change might be needed to accommodate this new concept of product management. Hatch thinks this might be a challenging step for companies. He also mentions another possible issue: money. It takes a considerable investment to change the product management process.

A look ahead

Paul Hatch

Paul Hatch is CEO of TEAMS Design USA. With over 1000 design awards TEAMS Design is one of the world’s most respected design firms. Paul has spoken at several conferences on IOT, user experience, industrial design and technology. He is also co-author of two books on the impact design and technology has on business.

What does this mean for the future? “Five years from now, any electronic product that is not smart or connected will be a dumb product,” says Hatch. “People will automatically assume that ‘electronic’ means smart and connected. If it’s not connected, it won’t live up to the user’s expectations. Therefore, it’s worth a lot less.” He also thinks the line between industrial and consumer products will blur. People will expect a product to offer the same level of logic and intuitiveness, no matter whether they are using it at work or in their private lives. As a result, areas that generally have not been affected by technological change in the past will increasingly need to adapt.

Hatch sees many organizational changes looming on the horizon for companies – and these changes don’t concern engineering or R&D roles only. “The bigger IoT picture involves major decisions that shouldn’t be left to the product manager alone. It should involve everyone up to and including top management.” Hatch already sees CIOs and design thinking approaches playing a bigger role in organizations. In his eyes, this confirms their importance as drivers of organizational change.

More on digital transformation?

This text is based on an interview we conducted with Paul in preparation for a white paper on digital transformation. Do you want to dive deeper into it? You can download it here:

The post The top 4 benefits of IoT data management appeared first on Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog.

Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog

Wireless Industrial IoT startup Shoof Tech raises $4.5M in seed funding

Shoof Technologies, a startup providing wireless technology for the Industrial IoT raised $ 4.5M in seed funding. Kleiner Perkins and Modiva Japan led the round.

The Shoof Solution: Your Assets Never Out of Sight

Shoof’s manufacturing and logistics customers will be able to use the solution for indoor and outdoor asset monitoring and tracking in early 2018. Shoof Tech’s solution consists of a cloud platform and equipment – including base stations and tags. With the current funding, Shoof plans to focus on manufacturing and transportation sector.

The startup’s primary focus in tracking indoor assets as the current wireless technologies such as GPS and cellular connectivity put a lot of strain on sensor battery. The batteries die out in a few hours making the solution inadequate to withstand the ruggedness of industrial settings. This is where Shoof Tech’s solution can fill the gap and provide round the clock industrial-grade internet connectivity to expensive assets.

“We are excited to partner with such reputable firms who share our vision of empowering the supply chain and logistics industries with efficient asset-monitoring and tracking connectivity technologies,” said Ra’ed Elmurib, CEO, Shoof Technologies. The startup operates on a ‘subscription-based’ business model whereby its customers incur a monthly recurring fee hence saving the latter from significant infrastructure set-up costs that any industrial-grade IoT solution requires.

Another asset intelligence startup Alchemy IoT recently raised $ 4M in seed investment.


Postscapes: Tracking the Internet of Things

Filament introduces tech to get industrial devices interacting with blockchains

IoT blockchain company Filament has engineered its latest software/hardware release to more closely suit the deployment needs thrown up by data exchange to and from industrial and enterprise machines and sensors.

Reno, Nevada-based start-up Filament’s software works with its own-branded Blocklet Chip hardware, to provide industrial and enterprise devices with the ability to securely interact with and transact against any given blockchain. Blockchain is a method of creating an ‘immutable’ ledger of transaction records. Initially developed with a view to specific cryptocurrency deployments, blockchain can also be applied to other transactional record bases.

Due to its distributed nature (in other words, it’s held on many computers), a blockchain can be said to be immutable and therefore highly secure – although it should be added that blockchain is not totally unhackable, since its record base can (in some instances) be reverse-engineered through log file analytics, depending on the system of records that it holds.

“From the start, Filament has been dedicated to furthering the value and economics of the digitally connected world, right at the edge of the network. We are taking enterprise and industrial IoT connectivity benefits to the next level where data can be transacted and inherent trust is created,” said Allison Clift-Jennings, CEO of Filament.

Read more: Opinion: Why blockchain matters for the IoT

Device independence just got real

What Filament is essentially doing is enabling e-commerce for devices; that is to say, it is working towards empowering devices with the ability to transact value using distributed ledger technology. This is what we call ‘device independence’, an idea that is establishing itself as a key theme for mobile and IoT technologies.

Filament’s distributed blockchain capabilities use open protocols so that devices are able to independently process and record transactions. That’s (arguably) not a bad thing when it comes to thorny areas like digital trust.

The company’s application software and Blocklet Chip, currently in beta, are designed to communicate and interact with multiple blockchain technologies natively. The software, implemented on existing hardware, will deliver a distributed ledger technology product. The Blocklet Chip will theoretically allow industrial corporations and enterprises to extract the value of recording and monetizing data assets, at the edge of the network, on the sensors themselves.

Filament is supporting the open-source business blockchain framework, Hyperledger Sawtooth, hosted by The Linux Foundation, on its own native hardware. Hyperledger Sawtooth is a modular platform designed for building, deploying and running scalable distributed ledgers that provide a digital record that is maintained without central authority or implementation.  

Approximately 200 members are a part of the Hyperledger consortium, including many Fortune 500 corporations.

Read more: Blockchain Food Safety Alliance launched to tackle supply chain issues

The post Filament introduces tech to get industrial devices interacting with blockchains appeared first on Internet of Business.

Internet of Business

Deutsche Telekom joins the Industrial Internet Consortium

Deutsche Telekom joins the Industrial Internet Consortium

Deutsche Telekom joins the Industrial Internet Consortium

Deutsche Telekom brings in expertise in connectivity topics, especially NarrowBand IoT and 5G, as well as IoT platform and analytical services. The cooperation will further strengthen the European footprint in the global community of the Industrial Internet Consortium. Goal of the initiative: develop common perspectives concerning the interoperability of systems from different domains.

Deutsche Telekom has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC™), the world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The Industrial Internet Consortium advances the adoption of the Industrial Internet on a global scale with a cross-industry oriented approach, including Smart City solutions, the manufacturing industry, energy, healthcare and transportation.

Deutsche Telekom will further strengthen the European footprint in the global community of the Industrial Internet Consortium, bringing to the table the Group’s strong position in IoT connectivity, especially NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT), and 5G. The Group provides its customers of manufacturing and automotive industries, logistics, healthcare – or in the case of Smart City – public authorities with the suitable IoT platform and analytical services to manage their IoT projects, devices, and M2M SIM cards.

In dialog with the community and its partners, Deutsche Telekom wants to develop common perspectives concerning the interoperability of systems from different domains, the needs of standardization and of general conditions of security regulations for IoT services and devices.

Digitization: Simple. Better. Secure.

Deutsche Telekom’s aim is to make digitization simple for their customers. That is why, for years, Deutsche Telekom has been investing billions in fast networks, the cloud, IoT applications, and integrated security solutions, to get ready for the digital world. The fundamental prerequisite for IoT applications is connectivity, and Deutsche Telekom is rolling out a machine network based on NarrowBand IoT (NB-IoT) technology in eight European markets and the US.

The Group offers prepackaged bundles consisting of connectivity, hardware, IoT-platform and analytical services. These can be further configured, combined and extended according to individual requirements of the industries: allowing them a complete overview of all connected things and costs, monitoring their machines as well as collecting, filtering and analyzing data and managing the lifecycle of the customers’ “things” – worldwide.

Analyst firms such as ISG regularly place Deutsche Telekom among the leading providers for IoT. “As a member of the IIC, Deutsche Telekom is pleased to cooperate with the community’s partners to shape and drive IoT on a global scale,” says Ingo Hofacker, responsible for the IoT business in the Deutsche Telekom Group.

“Only if we manage to ensure that the different systems and technologies work together seamlessly worldwide will the Industrial Internet of Things become a model for success.”

“IoT connectivity is critical in many industries including Smart Cities and manufacturing,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, IIC. “We welcome Deutsche Telekom and its expertise in joining our work to advance the IIoT.”

Strong momentum for global digitization of industrial production

Global cooperation, in turn, will only work with interoperability of systems. The IIC has successfully been collaborating with the German Plattform Industrie 4.0 initiative for the benefit of interoperability of systems from the different domains. The manufacturing industry oriented initiative Plattform Industrie 4.0 was founded with the aim of implementing the innovative project Industry 4.0 of the High-Tech Strategy of the German Government, Deutsche Telekom is member of its steering circle. The organization’s members work in interdisciplinary working groups on the future topics such as standardization, research and security.

Today, the Industrial Internet Consortium and Plattform Industrie 4.0 have developed an ongoing collaboration to formulate requirements for standardization bodies together, to create a joint testbed for testing architectural elements and to work together to increase the adoption of the Industrial Internet.

The post Deutsche Telekom joins the Industrial Internet Consortium appeared first on IoT Business News.

IoT Business News