You have a revolutionary idea in mind, and even have started working on the specs sheet. It is already time to think about its technological components, because once the assembly line has started, it will be too late to try to circumvent the limitations imposed by its electronic parts and the standards that come with them.
Electronics help a product to do more, but it can also translate into unexpected constraints. It can be about energy usage, excessive heat, compatible functionalities, etc. All of this must obviously be taken into account before the final specifications of the product are set. The cost of production, or even the business model behind that new product might be affected.
Industry 4.0 and you
You can blame the digital transformation created by the massive adoption of the Industry 4.0 concept. Most if not all sectors of activity are impacted by this paradigm shift. Processes can be optimized and costs lowered by more automation. Automated processes can be monitored by quantifying tasks. Quantifying is made possible by using sensors and route this data to the cloud. On top of that, Artificial Intelligence concepts can be integrated to process this new digital data trove.
On the administrative side, it can take the form of web applications or more traditional computer software. On the production or manufacturing side, it requires Internet enabled and connected devices. They generate data that is collected and parsed by a series of mathematical formulas, or algorithms, in order to deliver actionable data on the overall status of your company’s plants, warehouses, supply chain, delivery operations and similar critical components in your business.
Mobile notifications from a grain silo? A shelf that automatically knows when its stocks are running low? Turns out your company is probably evolving towards a tech company, whether you know it or not!
A low-cost digital transformation
The shift toward a greater usage of digital tools does not need to be ruinous. Affordable technologies such as open-source software and hardware make low-cost experimentation and prototyping accessible. They will help to find the best combination of features and components to minimize the risks of adopting the wrong standard or opting for an inappropriate ecosystem, while rapidly getting your company on the Industry 4.0 bandwagon.
Prototyping is not exclusive to large corporations anymore. Open source software such as the Linux operating system can be installed on cheap processing units like the Raspberry Pi modules, to create a functional mockup of your desired end product. For mechanical design purposes, 3D printers can play a similar role: they come in all sizes, and can rapidly and easily turn a CAD concept into a physical object.
There can be trial and errors involved in getting the technical specifications right. Early prototypes can even be shared with partners outside of the company. Some technologies might have to be tested in a context that goes beyond the company’s boundaries in pilot projects.
These technologies might require some expertise not found within your company. This is where Motsai can become a reliable partner, helping you to establish a cost effective development plan and avoid hurdles and pitfalls along the way and maximize the learnings from the field experiments.
The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and mobile applications blurs the line between what used to be the technological sector and other, more traditional industries. Technology is pervasive. Tech companies are not solely about tech anymore, but the same goes for your company: it might just become a tech company.