Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: Data ownership in complex IoT ecosystems

Manufacturers have seen great advances in data sharing capabilities, but IoT hasn’t realised its potential for collaboration. Could data ownership be the sticking point? Audi Lucas explored the issue in his keynote.

Digital value chain of wireless connected devices and objects. IOT (internet of things concept background) - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Data and how we share that data is what drives real value and change – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Asset responsibility is being spread across suppliers, owners, spare part manufacturers and software platforms, so it’s no wonder that data ownership is proving to be such a minefield.

Almost everyone has access to a smartphone or tablet, devices which have an ever-increasing array of applications.

As app users, we often fall into the trap of believing that the app is everything; but it’s not.

“The data and how we share that data is what drives real value and change,” noted Audi Lucas, chief digital officer at leading advanced engineering firm, MAN Diesel & Turbo.

“Access to data in context is key to solving problems. So far with digital, IoT and asset management systems, we still think in terms of ‘enterprise’. This is one of the big problems leading to IoT disillusionment and is causing us to miss the real potential value cases,” he continued.

According to Lucas, we need to stop thinking in terms of ‘enterprise’ and start thinking in terms of an ‘industry neighbourhood’.

He offered the maritime industry as an example of how this works in practice.

The maritime industry is technically complex with thousands of unique ships and subsystems. Each vessel roams the seas yet many aren’t continuously connected to the cloud. The industry also involves a wide range of stakeholders, from ships yards, charterers and owners, to port authorities, equipment manufacturers and flag states.

So, how do you tie all of this together? The key lies in building a network not of wires, but of organisations.

As an example, Lucas looked at the data landscape and limited the scope to data about ‘things’ within a given industry neighbourhood:

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: Data ownership in complex IoT ecosystems - Chart 1



Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: Data ownership in complex IoT ecosystems - Chart 2

In the words of Lucas, the above project is ‘insane’; it simply digitises a paper process!

“If you digitise a crap process, you just get a crap digital process,” he warned. “And there are hundreds of companies willing to sell you ‘enterprise’ silos to do it.

“If we want to solve the big problems in industry, then we need to think beyond our enterprise silos and learn to share across our industry neighbourhood,” he concluded.

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit: Data ownership in complex IoT ecosystems - Chart 3

Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit has been bringing together senior industry executives for more than a decade, and is the biggest manufacturer-to-manufacturer conference in the country.

It is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Digital Manufacturing Week, an annual celebration of UK manufacturing excellence that takes place every November in Liverpool. This year saw 887 delegates attend Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit (up 45% on 2017) and 5,322 visitors to Digital Manufacturing Week (up 36% on 2017).

Clear your diary and join us next year: 13-14 Nov 2019!