October 30, 2018

Differentiating in the Industrial Hardware Market With an IoT Solution

These days, when the technology is developing exponentially, there are more and more companies looking to improve their businesses. Everything is getting connected, and IoT is playing a fundamental part of creating the smarter world. However, technology is not a holy grail, magical solution, or magic wand – some miracle solution that will solve all the world’s problems.

This is why we can see the rising importance of including technical sales people in the earliest stages of customer evaluation. We can also see the increasing importance of not only having sales people with excellent technical teams, but also a dedicated team with the sales skills.

I am proud to be a part of Tele2 IoT solution consultant teams. Our role is to build a bridge between the technical requirements and the end goals of customers, and to find the right balance. This is why, during the customer meetings, we always try to take the customer’s side, act as a trusted advisor, and make sure we understand their needs and challenges. Our team of technical people with a certain amount of sales skills, makes sure that the solution we provide to the customer works well, addresses particular needs, and is scalable for the customer’s future growth.
Having worked in the hardware business for many years I would like to show you how, from the solution consultants perspective, IoT can be a game changer in the area of industrial hardware.

Innovation is the key to differentiation

When we talk about industrial hardware, we are talking about a very tough market with multiple players. In this market, where manufacturers from across the globe are pushing the technology boundaries, innovation is the key to differentiation.

Take industrial routers – an instrumental part of any industrial automation set-up. Many players are looking for new ways of enhancing their end-customer’s operational efficiency and customer experience. Luckily, from my experience, IoT can really help industrial router manufacturers to differentiate. From my experience, I would like to highlight 3 functionalities, where IoT can provide real benefits to industrial hardware players.

• Increasing redundancy and security by using cellular
• Creating Trusted Circles between different devices
• Routing data to ERPs and backend application

1. Increasing redundancy and security by using cellular
In the harsh industrial environment, downtime is the critical measure, so having fallback connectivity is always a good idea. That is why it is good to have an industrial grade SIM card inserted in your router already during the manufacturing process – this allows the SIM to work in any region in the world, ensuring flawless and reliable connectivity. Since a lot of security breaches have been discovered in recent years, setting up a private APN to ensure the secure Internet connection is always a good idea to ensure the reliability of your solution. This all means that the end customer using the industrial routers will have a true plug-and-play experience while setting up their solution.

2. Creating Trusted Circles between different devices
It is obvious that different industrial companies are using different machines. The difference might not only be in the manufacturer, but also in the types of connectivity technology the machines are using.
Think about the factory, where machines are using LAN connectivity, the warehousing system is using a WiFi, and forklifts are using cellular connectivity. Aiming for an outstanding operational efficiency, the whole manufacturing line from assembly to production to finished goods to warehouse should work as a single organism.
At Tele2 IoT, we really stand out by taking the hardware and access technology agnostic approach, making sure that devices can talk to each other regardless of the connectivity technology. Using our 2SECURE solution you can now work with any devices, supporting open VPN standards, and easily create trusted circles between them, to ensure the perfect data flow. This helps industrial hardware routers manufacturers to truly differentiate on the market, ensuring that their device will work in any set-up, and ensure a secure data routing in any environment. At the same time, the end customers will benefit from decreased dependencies on one vendor.

3. Routing data to ERPs and backend application
Manufacturing today includes many internal and external stakeholders who are interested in getting the data about the performance. For example, production line data might be directed to ERP systems, while data from forklift usage can be routed directly to the company leasing the forklifts. Routing the data to 3rd party backends can truly open the Pandora box of preventive maintenance, servitization, and many other beneficial functions. Normally, this is a feature you won’t request from your connectivity provider, but luckily here in Tele2 IoT we are ready to address industry needs by offering them our 2ACCESS solution.

2ACCESS can help companies create trusted circles for devices, and route the traffic to any trusted backend via VPN. All settings can be done in the simple and intuitive self-service environment, and the number of parties getting the data can be extended as the business scales. It is yet another instance where hardware manufacturers can offer something extra for industrial customers, while the latter can make their business even smarter.

By offering that, we keep our customers, the industrial router manufacturers, happy and give them the connectivity, opportunity to use industrial grade encryption on the devices with pre-installed certificates, and the ability to route their data by creating trusted circles. As a result the customers get everything they want – but it would mean nothing if it didn’t bring benefits to the end user. And the end-user won’t have to worry about security, they lower their dependency on vendors, and can manage their trusted nodes, once their manufacturing site grows and more machines are deployed in a single user friendly interface.

So in the years of working with various industrial customers we have seen so many use cases in IoT in this particular segment, that we truly believe that literally any company in this field should consider implementing an IoT solution, in order to add flexibility, improve operational efficiency, and enhance customer experience. At the end of the day it ensures that our customers are happy their customers are happy and everyone is feeling the IoT love. Isn’t it beautiful?

Contact us and our specialists will be glad to help you address the needs of your business in the best way.

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