I’m in Orlando, Florida the next several days at the 2019 ARC Industry Forum. It’s a great opportunity to hear what’s on the minds of IT and OT (Operational Technology) executives as they take advantage of the digital technologies to drive improved performance. Key conversations will include cybersecurity, digital transformation, and the use of artificial intelligence.
ARC Advisory Group president and CEO Andy Chatha kicked off the session. After some introductory remarks he turned the floor over to Nihar Satapathy with ThyssenKrupp. His presentation was to answer the questions, why is it important to digitally transform.
The elements of a digital transformation include new ever-less-expensive technology and new, decentralized business models emerging. The whole value chain is being upended by these trends.
They focused their transformation efforts on adding value for their customers. This helped to prioritize the many choices on actions to take. Nihar shared three examples. The first example was in their elevator business. Competition is now coming from different competitors than in the past. As mechanical systems, elevators can benefit from digital sensors and connected services to maintain high availability. The data coming from these can be used not only to keep them working, but also be used to optimize their use to reduce energy costs and provide better, more timely service for the people using them.
The second example he shared was a digital twin in an automobile assembly factory. They created a digital twin of the factory line that runs in real-time with the assembly line. Improvements to the assembly line can be simulated first to verify the improvements before being put in place in the actual process. In several earlier posts on this blog, we shared how digital twin technology can do similar things for the process industries.
His third example was chair lift technology for homes to assist elderly and disabled residents. The challenge has been that every home’s stairs are unique in size and shape. Customizing for each home made for an expensive, long lead time solution. The digitally transformed approach was to use Microsoft HoloLens technology to measure the stairs dimensions and transmit these measurements directly to the factory for building the chair lift. Project timelines could be drastically reduced and accuracy of the solutions built improved.
In each of these cases, focusing on value for the customer help to prioritize the actions taken on their digital transformation journey.