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How industrial manufacturing gets smarter with sensors



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Today’s manufacturers are on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution, in which internet-connected sensors (aka, the Internet of Things, or IoT) make physical machines and objects more intelligent. To realize the promise of industrial IoT, however, companies must combine operational technology with enterprise IT, and collect and analyze data across the entire manufacturing ecosystem to generate actionable and valuable insights.

By doing so, manufacturers can better manage production, address customization requirements and add value. In turn, they can more intelligently manage their businesses, improve response time, promote innovation, reduce costs and boost revenues. In our view, here’s how forward-thinking executives should be thinking about the opportunity.

The Future Has Already Arrived

Rolls-Royce has built engines since 1915. Today, however, the fabled company sells a whole lot more than just engines. In an industry where fuel savings can add up to millions each year, Rolls-Royce now provides airlines with information to help optimize routes, altitude, airspeed, weight and freight – this in addition to supplying the engines themselves. Along the way, Rolls-Royce engineers learn how its engines perform in a range of conditions, which they then use to inform the design of their next generation.

Related: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies

In short, Rolls-Royce exemplifies the opportunities and benefits of industrial IoT. And this iconic company is not alone. Shell Oil is pioneering simulation technology to help oil and gas operators manage offshore assets, improve worker safety and better predict maintenance. Stanley Black & Decker is already adding digital technologies to its entire line of customer tools, hydraulics, fasteners and electronic security devices.

All told, the list is long and diverse, covering equipment manufacturers, pharmaceuticals companies, medical device manufacturers and many other sectors. According to a recent MPI study, which surveyed 350 manufacturers, almost two-thirds (63%) believe IoT will have measurable impact on their business in the next five years. By 2020, IDC predicts that 50% of the Global 2000 will depend on digitally enhanced products.

This is because industrial IoT promises a single view of analytical data to operate with real-time agility and quickly respond to adverse events within the plant or supply chain. This requires integrating and consolidating enterprise and operational applications, however, which have largely remained isolated from one another. Until now.

[Download]: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies

Beyond connecting devices to a network where they interact and exchange information, the real value of industrial IoT lies in the data generated from these important relationships. Unlike traditional software applications, industrial IoT is rooted in physical space — integrating data from digital devices and systems in factories and supply chains with enterprise assets. It enables enhanced monitoring, data gathering and integration, role-based information presentation and situational awareness reports for operators. The objective is to convert operational data into insights that inform decision-making, drive innovation and realize greater efficiency.

Getting Started with the Right Questions

That said, many manufacturing leaders already recognize the need for industrial IoT. They struggle, however, with the complex and siloed landscape of their manufacturing landscape, including processes, IT and operational technology. To that end, we advise decision-makers to conduct a self-assessment and organizational readiness analysis by answering the following questions:

    • What changes do we need in our business processes, operations, people and business models to respond to rapid market changes, new developments and emerging technologies?
    • What kind of talent do we need?
    • Where can our organization benefit most from a deeper understanding of operations and efficiency?
    • How can we assess our readiness for an IoT transformation, and how should we benchmark our peers?
    • What budget should we set for additional computational capacities, and for security and storage capabilities?
    • What is preventing us from a transformation? Legacy systems? Cost pressures?
    • Besides cost, what internal barriers do we need to overcome?

To help with those answers, leadership must compare approaches, examine the readiness of its technical architecture, understand the organization’s capacity to change, and review available case studies. They must also engage with partners with the required domain expertise as well as hands-on experience in deploying industrial IoT technologies. In our experience, successful journeys take manageable steps such as designing and installing sensor technology; implementing faster and more efficient interconnectivity between the enterprise, business units and production facilities; developing analytics; and piloting use cases that not only demonstrate the promise of the industrial IoT but also realize its value at scale. In proceeding this way, manufacturers develop and grow the talent, skills and tool-sets necessary to build a connected ecosystem that seamlessly integrates digital, operational and information technology.

[Download]: Stepping into digital with IoT – 14 Case Studies

Organizations that align both IT and operational technology to create a “system of systems,” instrumenting every device in the extended manufacturing ecosystem, will be best positioned to harvest meaningful data at every touchpoint. Only then will manufacturers be able to benefit from the improved yields, additional value and greater efficiency that industrial IoT can produce.

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Manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies

Recent data from Oden Technologies shows that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand.



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“The challenges facing the manufacturing industry seem to be never-ending.” 

So begins the introduction to The State of Manufacturing: CEO Insights, the new report by Willem Sundblad, co-founder and CEO of intelligent industrial automation company Oden Technologies.

This year, of course, is no exception. “As we enter a period of economic uncertainty, manufacturers are recognizing the need to find new efficiencies and ultimately make more with less,” Sundblad continues.

Featuring both data analysis and insights from industry experts, Sundblad’s report examines current challenges in manufacturing, takes a look at the future, and reflects on the state of digital transformation in the sector.

Challenges facing manufacturing

One of the key findings is that 94% of manufacturers have seen significant changes in demand. Production schedules have no-doubt shifted in the short term, and these companies are “leveraging new technologies to streamline production and maximize capacity.” 

Manufacturers are also feeling the pressure of market uncertainty, as well as making profitability sustainable for the long term.

“Lean startup mentality and incremental growth with a return to fundamentals are crucial in battling through a changing marketplace as well as tsunami-like risks,” said David Rosen, CEO and founder of Kira Labs.  

Looking ahead

When looking to the future — an uncertain one that has been drastically altered by COVID-19 — the report identifies three main areas of focus for manufacturers:

  1. Optimizing production processes
  2. Improving workforce effectiveness
  3. Decentralizing the supply chain

How will they approach these? According to the numbers, 63% of manufacturers say “enabling more remote employees through digital technologies will be an outcome of the pandemic.” Another big focus? Cross-training and streamlining.

“Digital transformation will drive new processes and business models as manufacturers look toward the future,” explained Joe Morgan, founder & CEO of siY. “On the supply chain side, we will likely see a trend toward less globalized supply chains and more focus on local sourcing.”

DX in manufacturing

As we’ve previously reported (here, here, and here), COVID-19 has added major fuel to the digital transformation fire of organizations. And manufacturing is no different. 71% of respondents saying the pandemic has accelerated their DX journeys. 86% report having a designated DX leader — which is great, considering the critical importance of strong leadership to transformational efforts.  

“Embracing these new systems are all indicators that technology continues to be a space that has untapped opportunity for growth,” said Julie Copeland, CEO of Arbill. “I think that manufacturers will also investigate other emerging technology, including finding ways to utilize augmented reality.”

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What you need to know if you’re attending MWC Los Angeles 2019

MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.



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MWC Los Angeles 2019 is one of the newest and fastest growing events in the U.S. that brings together leading companies and influential experts from all sectors within the mobile technology industry to advance Intelligent Connectivity – a fusion of 5G, IoT, AI and Big Data.

The event is an opportunity to discover how leaders like Cognizant are looking into the future of connections, content and commerce.

To help you prepare, here is a selection of articles, case studies, ebooks, and clips from Cognizant, discussing digital transformation:

  • Learn Cognizant’s 4 key success factors to Industry 4.0 transformation. For starters, lead with strategy, not the technology. Watch the video here.
  • AI, Machine Learning, and IoT are ensuring the efficacy and efficiency of one of the most demanding engineering projects in the world. Learn how Cognizant helped Norwegian offshore engineering firm Kvaerner adopt these digital technologies.
  • The promise of Industry 4.0 is compelling, but for many traditional manufacturers, the reality is less than ideal. In this new Cognizant report, find examples of manufacturers that are navigating the shift.
  • It’s all about speed: Insight from Cognizant on how 5G will transform the business sector and create a leadership race for data intelligence.
  • Not all smart factories are created equal: Cognizant takes stock of the state of IoT intelligence, and what industrial organizations need to ensure both digital maturity and success. Read more here.
  • The many touchpoints of IoT connectivity allows AI to really shine, and prove its value to manufacturers in the form of proactive preventive maintenance, says James Jeude, VP in Cognizant’s Digital AI & Analytics Strategic Consulting Group, in this piece.
  • The human factor in IoT intelligence is key: Connected employees can “dynamically manage situations as they change,” explains Cognizant’s AVP of engineering and IOT solutions Phanibhushan Sistu.
  • The leap to IoT is a necessary one for your organization. This Cognizant ebook looks at 14 such businesses that jumped confidently into the digital future.
  • It took less than 12 weeks for Cognizant to implement an IIoT platform for a leading global industrial manufacturer. Get the case study here.
  • Without the duo of IoT and the Digital Twin, your organization is living in a black-and-white outlined world, in terms of operational intelligence. Color it in, get more accurate predictions, and fully realize potential.

One session to highlight? “5G and IoT – Understanding the Relevance to Your Business,” featuring Senior Director, Cognizant Digital Business, Prashanth Bhushan. This session will examine how the impending mass availability of 5G networks is set to mark a major step forward in extending 5G applications to various vertical industries and fields beyond traditional telecom and mobile internet.

MWC Los Angeles 2019 takes place October 22-24, at the Los Angeles Convention Center. 

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IoT + PLM = Product Intelligence: An equation that delivers monetization opportunities

In the equation IoT + X = Intelligence, what role does product lifecycle management play as the X factor?



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Consumers are fickle. 

Today’s hot must-have can easily fade into obscurity tomorrow. Most products don’t even make it out to the playing field, and instead languish on the sidelines. The B2B world is not much different. Thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) however, manufacturers are gaining a better peek at the product lifecycle beyond their distribution warehouse and leveraging that intelligence to their advantage.

Case Study: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0 Platform

PLM matters

More often than not, manufacturers make educated guesses at what consumers want. Sure they rely on surveys and calibrated focus groups but too often they’re still skating on thin ice with data snapshots. Product manufacturers rely on past sales records, future trend forecasts and hope design comes up with a nifty new gadget. They then execute strategic marketing and finally keep fingers crossed for best outcomes. 

The problem with such an iterative pattern is that the process is more or less opaque once the product leaves the manufacturer. Today’s product lifecycle management delivers much-needed transparency to the trail a product follows not just from concept and design and sales but on to how the consumer actually uses and disposes of it. 

And it does so through IoT. An IoT-embedded device relays product information to the mothership long after it has left the point of sale so manufacturers can gain insight into usage patterns and other data. While PLM has always followed the trail of breadcrumbs that products leave, IoT now allows for a longer and more useful trail. 

[Download]: A New Approach to PLM


“With IoT live product feedback has become possible. The [data] gap that existed between when we have sold a product and when someone discards that product…that gap has now been connected by IoT,” says Jagmeet Singh, Director, Connected Products, at Cognizant. 

Businesses use cloud technologies to analyze the data that IoT-embedded products spit out and reap a whole host of benefits. Manufacturers access instant feedback about feature design – in an age of user-centered design, this is a big deal – and price points. Product design now needs fewer reboots and manufacturers can produce with more confidence.

The introduction of IoT and associated data analytics expanded the use of Product Data as a Service (PDaaS), where larger sets of metadata about products are now available to be harvested, right from raw materials used, to manufacturing processes to quality control and beyond.

Simply by following the IoT trail (and obtaining all-important user permission), manufacturers can monetize information about product usage to secondary vendors who might benefit from related information. A computer manufacturer, for example, can sell valuable information about the heat exchanger, the battery, the Bluetooth connection to satellite providers who can use this as intelligence for their own sales and marketing promotions.

IoT breathes new life into PLM extending the line beyond the four walls of the warehouse to the real world where live data from every user shapes future product iterations.

IoT + PLM = Customer intelligence. With sharper data based on usage patterns, manufacturers can anticipate customer needs better and deliver they want. The result is more revenue and less waste. IoT lets PLM realize its full potential.

[Download]: Advancing Smart Manufacturing Operations Value with Industry 4.0

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