It’s no secret that Industry 4.0 is expanding at an accelerated rate. Fortune Business Insights predicts this market will grow to more than $260 billion USD by 2026. That’s an increase of over $182 billion since 2018.
At the same time, digital disruption brings new complexity. For example, in the past many manufacturers owned and managed their own hardware, software, industrial networks, and security. However, as connected manufacturing evolves to smart manufacturing, it becomes an AI-driven, cloud-based, industrial internet of things production environment. Implementing and managing this new environment can be time consuming, complex, and costly, especially as organizations scale. Organizations that are already stretched thin may not have the bandwidth to reach out to a plethora of individual vendors, deploy DIY solutions, manage platform health, and respond to threat detection at a moment’s notice—or have the budget to purchase network modernization devices that may be outdated in just a few years. To remain competitive, they need to grow and strengthen their partnerships to extend capabilities across the value chain.
Exploring an Industry 4.0 Digital Business Marketplace
A recent collaboration between BT, Intel, and others through the TM Forum Catalyst program, solves these challenges by creating, testing, and delivering an award-winning, ecosystem-driven solutions platform capable of producing a blueprint for repeatable Industry 4.0 business models.
The platform brings benefits like accelerating time to revenue, streamlining customer on-boarding, solution delivery, and operations to improve profitability and velocity. The model demonstrates how to reduce operating costs while enabling IoT deployment at scale. One test run showed how it could save 500 person-years of manual provisioning when deploying 3 million IoT devices.
I’m proud to count Intel among the participants of this Catalyst and excited to share that the Digital Business Marketplace is the winner of both the 2020 Outstanding Contribution to TM Forum Assets and the 2020 Outstanding Catalyst Innovation awards. The Catalyst project demonstrated how to easily assemble and deploy a range of complex solutions using a fully automated, secure and zero-touch approach.
An ecosystem approach for Industry 4.0
Over the course of the Catalyst, the Digital Business Marketplace ecosystem grew to feature dozens of partners while demonstrating more security, scalability, and interoperability capabilities. It showed how customers benefit from a broad, partner-based marketplace that offers a choice of easy-to-implement solutions. Organizations were set up with the flexibility to scale, reduce complexity and ultimately improve total cost of ownership. By using a digital platform with unified APIs and data models, these seamless partnerships delivered Industry 4.0 solutions in a frictionless ecosystem.
From the seller and agent perspective, they benefited from trustworthy partnerships, efficiency gains, lower operational costs, fast time to revenue, and certainty of payment. Going a step further, those solutions could be bundled with solutions from other partners and distributed through retail or wholesale customers. By using this model, any marketplace partner could easily generate additional revenue streams while enjoying seamless core capabilities and an automated approach for monetization, delivery, deployment, and maintenance.
Service assurance ensures optimized performance
The Digital Business Marketplace included ordering security and service assurance to support automated identification and mitigation of security threats. Service assurance for zero-touch provisioning, dedicated connectivity, Intel technology-based universal customer premise equipment, SD-WAN with firewall, and IoT devices such as robotic arms, conveyor belts and surveillance cameras helped strengthen systems and services availability and improve the user experience.
Intent-based micro segmentation services enabled buyers to cordon off trusted devices from possibly compromised or untrusted devices on the network to stop the spread of malware. Meanwhile, attack remediation offerings provided buyers with automated attack detection and response services to help strengthen security across the manufacturing environment. All solutions were easily configured in a single shopping basket prior to placing an order.
Through our collaborative work with BT and other participants, a platform for seamless Industry 4.0 provisioning, deployment, and management emerged that demonstrated an innovative way to scale while helping strengthen security. While the quickening pace of Industry 4.0 expansion comes with its complexities, the Digital Business Marketplace demonstrated that through ecosystem collaboration and automation, it’s possible for hundreds of businesses to deploy solutions that help them thrive.