The Industrial Internet of Things has the potential to dramatically improve processes on the factory floor, by integrating horizontal and vertical supply chains through connected devices. While barriers remain for the technology, considerable funds are being pumped into upgrading factories to Industry 4.0, which includes IIoT devices and applications. In a bid to better support IoT transitions, BearingPoint has entered into a partnership with GE Digital, the firms will leveraging their respective strengths and offerings in the field to create new business applications for the IIoT.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), whereby intelligent machine and humans, along horizontal and vertical supply chains, are integrated, has the potential to significantly improve productivity and reduce costs. The technology figures center stage in the development of ‘Industry 4.0’ – an area which has gained considerable attention in recent years and is expected to land capital expenditures of almost $4.5 trillion in the coming five years.
According to a report from Accenture, the IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the GDP of 20 major economies by 2030. Barriers to the rollout of the technology remain, however, including cyber security concerns as more internet connected devices add additional attack vectors; a lack of ubiquitous communications standards; as well as normative concerns related to the effects of further automation on working people – robots may come to displace humans from low-skilled employment in the manufacturing industry, with potential, negative, social consequences.
The vast sums of money invested in the IIoT and Industry 4.0 mean that consultancy firms are not far behind to provide their clients with relevant solutions, or entering into partnerships to leverage synergies and provide broad propositions to (potential) clients. Recent applications include mining in Kazakhstan, where IIoT is being used to bolster production efficiency – work supported by Google and McKinsey.
BearingPoint recently announced that the firm will begin working with GE Digital, to provide a host of solutions in the space of IIoT and Industry 4.0. The firms will work together to develop a range of business cases involving the integration of IIoT devices into the value chains of companies. For the propositions, GE’s experience with industrial data and analytics is to be combined with BearingPoint’s understanding of value chain processes and enterprise PLM-, CRM- and ERP-systems. The working together of the firms will see both parties integrate GE’s Predix cloud-based operating system for IIoT devices with the enterprise-systems, through which new business case models from sensor data integration can be achieved.
For Industry 4.0 processes, BearingPoint’s Smart Factory Model will be leveraged by both companies, to provide an experience of the potential of Industry 4.0 to clients. Prototypes of Industrial 4.0 processes can be developed and integrated with IIoT technology, to trigger, according to the firms, more complete process improvements for clients and their factories.
Donald Wachs, Partner and leader of the Manufacturing segment at BearingPoint, describes GE Digital as "one of the most important platform providers in the Industrial Internet space," adding "Together we will show how smart products enable smart services through the integration in business processes and the use of machine learning.”
Denzil Samuels, Head of Global Channels and Alliances at GE Digital, says, "BearingPoint’s unique mix of management and technology consulting and deep knowledge of ERP systems and the value chain make them a valuable part of the GE Digital Alliance programme. Their Industry 4.0/IoT lab will help us develop solid business cases and enable our customers to harness the power of the Industrial Internet. This partnership will build growth and aid digital transformation for industrial companies.”
EY too recently partnered with GE Digital: the firms are working together to offer propositions in the IIoT space.
* GE Digital is a $6 billion division of General Electric that focuses on digital software solutions and services for the industry.