Industry 4.0 is on everyone's lips. One would think so, if one follows the media or at least many trade publications. At the same time, however, there is already talk of two speeds, with SMEs taking the role of the slow-moving ones. German SMEs in particular would even sleep through the digital transformation and thus the core of the fourth industrial revolution.1
Because this digital transformation essentially has to do with data and its processing. German SMEs, however, are best at high-quality production, or rather in the innovation of machines. But innovation in data processing is the business of the Americans.
The present instead of science fiction
For small and medium-sized companies, Industry 4.0 scenarios often sound like unattainable science fiction. In their companies, according to the idea of Internet of Things (IOT)In the future, machines and products will be networked with the outside world and provide for unimagined data exchange. This (for now) mind game is made possible by technical innovations that are already taking place. For example, through the expansion of the address space on the internet. Since IPv6 came into existence, there are so many addresses available that you could give every single atom on earth an IP. After that, there would still be a considerable supply for one or two planets. Ergo, everything, really everything, can be given a unique internet address. True to the motto "what can be done will be done", we are in the middle of science fiction, which is called the present.
The business models that open up as a result could revolutionise the economy.
Business software is well prepared for the digital transformation
All dreams of the future ? Not necessarily! On the business application side, we are certainly prepared for such models. Because they have already been in use for a long time - no, not in the sense of IOT. But processing data from distributed sources is the daily bread of many ERP systems. Because if you look closely, on the side of business applications, in recent years, without any revolution at all, networking is an important part of the added value that makes up these software systems. The good old EDI Format is a pioneer, the various trade and e-commerce integrations have long been part of everyday life and the mobile applications have raised networking with the human interface to a new level. Also, even "smaller" business software packages, such as the SAP Business Oneno longer the fear of the volumes of data that will be created by "total" networking. The real new challenge in terms of IOT, is the amount of data and the (almost) required processing in real time. However, high-performance technologies such as SAP Hana those involved just shrug their shoulders even when data overkill is imminent.
Wait for what?
What is stopping us then? The sources of all this data have yet to be tapped. Not every machine and even less every product has the built-in data unit to communicate with the network. But that is also changing rapidly. For example, Windows 10 is already available in a space-saving version. IoT version and already some pioneers are experimenting with the system on the mini computers. Rasberry Pi (whose acquisition cost is between 5 and 35 US dollars). This is happening NOW.
The business models based on this technological change are missing! And many things are conceivable. Keywords here are machine dialogue (m2m), smart home and wearables. It doesn't always have to be the famous refrigerator that orders itself. Why not the machine that requests its consumables or orders the service technician? The shelf that knows what is stored in it? Why not now the Digitise logistics?
Everything is already possible today or in the near future. Even in the SME sector - without any Since Fiction.