Every year mm1 consultants of the Industrial IoT Practice review and analyze the product presentations of the “Hannover Messe Industrie” to gain an overview of the development of current industry, technology and market trends. From a mm1 point of view, five key topics have been trending this year: “IoT Platforms and Platform Eco Systems”, “Mixed Reality”, “Digital Twins”, “Smart Factory”, and “Robotics”.
IoT Platforms and Platform Eco Systems: This year’s HMI underlines our belief that in the Industrial IoT, no player can provide complete IoT solutions covering the whole IoT-stack (hardware, connectivity, device management, platforms, analytics, applications). Instead, partner eco systems are forming between platform giants like AWS or Azure and other specialized firms. Recently, Microsoft and German connectivity provider Deutsche Telekom announced a strategic partnership. Exemplarily, both SAP and Siemens displayed IoT solutions in cooperation with partner suppliers at the HMI. This adds to our belief that strategic partnerships are necessary to win in the Industrial IoT.
Mixed Reality: The AR and VR technology market is widely associated with the gaming industry. However, AR is picking up pace for industrial use-cases: At this year’s HMI, companies demonstrated how AR can be utilized to streamline product development, maintenance, and assembly processes. For example, AR can be utilized to streamline design processes, leading to an even faster development of new products while simultaneously keeping prototyping costs on a low level.
Digital Twins: Digital twins are becoming increasingly popular in the Industrial IoT. Consequently, they have been another key topic of HMI ‘18. According to an IDC study, by 2020 approximately one third of the 2,000 largest publicly-traded companies will be using data from digital twins to improve product innovation success rates and organizational productivity, achieving gains up to 25%. Use cases for digital twins are manifold: Remotely monitor assets, gain consumer insights and gather customer behavior data to improve products and services. Further, improvements to machines and products can be simulated by adjusting parameters along the production line in the twin – without risking harm to production.
Smart Factory: Smart factory benefits emerge when companies close the loop of collecting and processing data of interconnected assets to enable the derivation of informed decisions. At HMI '18, companies presented technologies to close the loop - such as retrofit solutions for data generation and transmission as well as AI-based products to enable predictive maintenance or smart (intra-)logistics. Exemplarily, firms like Fujitsu and Bosch showed what closed-loop assembly lines could look like and demonstrated the resulting benefits in several use cases.
Robotics: Robots have again been one of the key topics of this year’s HMI. It is certain that robots are becoming an indispensable part of modern production. Robots incrementally get smarter, safer, and more precise. However, innovations with disruptive potential did not stand out. In robotics, flexible automation solutions such as cobots have developed to an absolute trend. Accordingly, human-robot collaboration was one on the key subthemes: Not just running rigidly programmed processes but responding to and working together with the human.