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

In the equation IoT + X = Intelligence, what role can blockchain play as the X factor?

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One of the many advantages of the Internet of Things (IoT) is that it has introduced additional revenue streams. But to truly capitalize on these, companies might need to rely on yet another technology: blockchain.

The linear transactions involved in a traditional economy typically mean that a company produces a widget at the end of a series of interlinked processes — a product that customers then buy. Supply chain vendor interactions and marketing strategies cater to this linear model with the goal of increasing efficiencies and revenues along the way. 

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

But the traditional economy is giving way to new ways of doing business, spurred in part by Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices. The sharing economy upends the notion of an asset and the end product — think Uber and how it uses vehicles as shared assets. 

IoT allows for a larger number of opportunities where intelligence can be monetized. The assumption is that IoT-embedded devices used in manufacturing or other operations can yield valuable information about how they are being used. These device manufacturers in turn can buy and leverage that intelligence to fine tune use cases and product capabilities.

A secure ecosystem for IoT

To facilitate such sharing of intelligence, enterprises need to enable external entities to dip in and out of the information data pool that IoT generates. 

The enterprise needs to build an ecosystem comprising the following building blocks:

  • Enable access to the intelligence through an application programming interface
  • Enable commercial transactions to facilitate data transfer

While the idea of information monetization is a tempting one, companies also need to ensure that they’re maintaining a strict firewall around proprietary data, allowing only authorized packets to be shared.

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This is where blockchain can be useful. “Blockchain introduces trust,” says Jagmeet Singh, Director, Connected Products, at Cognizant. Think of blockchain as a ledger of information points where each data point is linked to the previous set in a series, creating a chain. The handy aspects of blockchain technology is that it always points to a single source of truth. Data cannot be altered, only added to. Such powerful encryption makes blockchain technology especially useful to deploy in conjunction with IoT devices. 

Instead of having to authenticate each transaction, blockchain can be used at scale to make authentication of partners much easier and faster, Singh says. “Now that you have established trust between devices, the speed of granting permissions to access needed data can be faster. You don’t have to go through authentication very time you make a call to a new device for transmission of data,” he adds.

Singh cautions that IoT embrace of blockchain is still not a reality. Stumbling blocks include the difficulties in bringing together different stakeholders with varying objectives. “You have to clearly articulate what the development infrastructure is going to look like, you have to navigate compliance issues,” Singh says. 

Blockchain introduces trust (and therefore, security) and transparency into the IoT equation, thereby enabling operations intelligence at scale, Singh says. Enterprises are evaluating which IoT-enabled assets might participate in such a new shared economy and what the infrastructure for such a system might look like. 

[Download]: Real Estate Manager Goes Digital

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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The importance of data access for digital initiatives

A new report from MuleSoft found that just 37% of organizations have the skills and technology to keep up with digital projects.

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In a global survey of over 1,700 line of business employees in organizations with at least 250 employees, MuleSoft found that just 37% of organizations have the skills and technology to keep up with digital projects.

The resulting report — The State of Business and IT Innovation — reveals four key ideas that IT leaders need to know in order to drive digital innovation forward.

These four key findings are:

  • Collaboration is key 
    • 68% of respondents believe IT and LoB users should jointly drive digital innovation.
  • Keep up the pace 
    • 51% expressed frustration with the speed at which IT can deliver projects.
  • Integration challenge
    • 37% cite security and compliance as the biggest challenge to delivering new digital services, followed by integration (i.e. connecting systems, data, and apps) at 37%.
  • Data access
    • 80% say that in order to deliver on project goals faster, employees need easy access to data and IT capabilities.  

“This research shows data is one of the most critical assets that businesses need to move fast and thrive into the future,” said MuleSoft CEO Brent Hayward

“Organizations need to empower every employee to unlock and integrate data — no matter where it resides — to deliver critical, time-sensitive projects and innovation at scale, while making products and services more connected than ever.”

Want to read through the whole report? Download it from MuleSoft

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Where is the financial value in AI? Employing multiple human-machine learning approaches, say experts

According to a new study, only 10% of organizations are achieving significant financial benefits with AI.

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AI is everywhere these days — especially as we work to fight the spread of COVID-19

Even in the “before times,” AI was a hot topic that always found itself in the center of most digital transformation conversations. A new study from MIT Sloan Management Review, BCG GAMMA, and BCG Henderson Institute, however, prompts a crucial question:

Are You Making the Most of Your Relationship with AI?

Finding value

Despite the proliferation of the technology and increased investment, according to the report, just 10% of organizations are achieving significant financial benefits with AI. The secret ingredient in these success stories? “Multiple types of interaction and feedback between humans and AI,” which translated into a six-times better chance of amplifying the organization’s success with AI.

“The single most critical driver of value from AI is not algorithms, nor technology — it is the human in the equation,” affirms report co-author Shervin Khodabandeh.

 

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From a survey of over 3,000 managers from 29 industries based in 112 countries — plus in-depth interviews with experts — the report outlined three investments organizations can make to maximize value:

  • The likelihood of achieving benefits increases by 19% with investment in AI infrastructure, talent, and strategy.
  • Scalability. When organizations think beyond automation as a use case, the likelihood of financial benefit increases by 18%.
  • “Achieving organizational learning with AI (drawing on multiple interaction modes between humans and machines) and building feedback loops between human and AI increases that likelihood by another 34%.”

According to report co-author Sam Ransbotham, at the core of successfully creating value from AI is continuous learning between human and machine:

“Isolated AI applications can be powerful. But we find that organizations leading with AI haven’t changed processes to use AI. Instead, they’ve learned with AI how to change processes. The key isn’t teaching the machines. Or even learning from the machines. The key is learning with the machines — systematically and continuously.” 

Continued growth

While just 1 in 10 organizations finds financial benefits with AI, 70% of respondents understand how it can generate value — up from 57% in 2017.

Additionally, 59% of respondents have an AI strategy, compared to 39% in 2017, the survey found. Finally, 57% of respondents say their organizations are “piloting or deploying” AI — not a huge increase from 2017 (46%). 

One of the biggest takeaways? According to co-author David Kiron, “companies need to calibrate their investments in technology, people, and learning processes.”

“Financial investments in technology and people are important, but investing social capital in learning is critical to creating significant value with AI.”

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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Bringing DX to the food supply chain in a pandemic

In a new paper, supply chain stakeholders share how COVID-19 has affected the transformation of the sector.

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There’s little doubt that COVID-19 had a profound effect on the food supply chain.

As one example, just think back to roughly March of this year, when virus transmission was rapidly picking up speed. Remember the reports of food and beverage companies only producing their most popular or essential products? Or how it would take slightly longer than usual to restock certain products? What about the rush to integrate — or quickly improve the efficiency of — digital and e-commerce. 

Panning out a bit, think about food safety and quality professionals. The need to stay safe — and in many cases, stay at home — meant performing the very hands-on job of monitoring, auditing, inspecting at a distance, i.e. digitally. 

When the food supply chain was hit by storages, delays, breakdowns, and lockdowns, the end result was — like in so many sectors — a rapid digital transformation.

As The Food Safety Market — an SME-powered industrial data platform dedicated to boosting the competitiveness of European food certification — elaborates in a new discussion paper, “technology has played an important role in enabling business continuity in the new reality.”

The paper — Digital Transformation of Food Quality & Safety: How COVID-19 accelerates the adoption of digital technologies across the food supply chain — features industry experts from companies like Nestlé, Ferrero, PepsiCo, McCormick & Company, and more discussing the effects of the pandemic on the supply chain.

A few highlights from the paper:

  • John Carter, Area Europe Quality Director for Ferrero put the issue of food access into perspective at the start of his interview:

“The production of food defines our world. The effects of agriculture on our daily lives are so omnipresent that they can be easy to overlook; landscapes and societies are profoundly influenced by the need to feed our growing population. But much has been taken for granted. Only occasionally are we forced to consider: ‘where does our food come from?'”

  • Ellen de Brabander, Senior Vice President of R&D for PepsiCo provided insight on the cost benefits of digital transformation:

“The need for customization is a big driver for accelerating digital transformation and moving away from a ‘one size fits all’ approach. This means that the cost to develop and produce a product must be lower and digital technologies provide a clear opportunity here.” 

  • Clare Menezes, Director of Global Food Integrity for McCormick & Company brought up one area where digital tools need to go:

“There aren’t any areas where digital tools “fail”, but there is a need for tools that ‘prove out’ predictions around where the next integrity event will play out and how it could lead to quality or food safety failure. These tools are an obvious candidate for AI given the number of PESTLE factors that might come into play.” 

Want to read all of the interviews? Check out the paper here.

DX Journal Staff
Author: DX Journal Staff

DX Journal covers the impact of digital transformation (DX) initiatives worldwide across multiple industries.

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